If my mother were alive, I guess that she would have voted for Donald Trump.
She was a member of the Methodist Church. We went to Sunday school, her in the adult class, me in the children’s class, every week, and then to the Sunday service. I sang in the choir. I was sent to Vacation Bible School, and I went to Wednesday night Teen Events.
I read the Christian Bible, including the various versions of the 10 Commandments. I was a believer: I should not lie, covet, kill, commit adultery, have gods other than my own god, steal, disobey my parents, use god’s name for general use, or work on Sunday.
I am no longer religious. On the other hand, I continue to hold many of the tenants from my childhood: it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal, be greedy, kill, or sleep around on one’s partner.
I believe that honesty is the best policy, that all people are created equal, that I should love my neighbors and myself. I believe in separation of church and state, in great free public education. I believe war is bad and will never solve our problems, though it may forever exist. I believe that anger should be expressed without violence, that grudges and resentment engender sickness, and that bad things happen to good people for no reason.
I believed that the United States was the greatest nation in the world. But I do not believe that any longer. Strangely, this change is due to my ethical beliefs, the ones originating in my Christian upbringing.
The fact that my mother would have voted for a pervert, a sex addict, a misogynic and vulgar man who accepts sexual assault as the norm, says something disheartening.
It says that though she was a member of a religious faith, she did not live in her faith. She did not actually believe that the poor would inherit the earth. She did not actually believe swords should be beaten into ploughshares. She did not believe that charity was next to godliness. She was a bag of religious wind.
My mother was not a stupid woman. But she would have accepted Donald Trump’s idea to allow oil production in National Parks. She and my father lived through the 2nd World War, but she would have accepted Trump coat-tailing Putin into office to dissolve NATO and the United Nations.
Why? For one thing, she would be reacting against having had a Black family in the White House. She would have never applauded the Obama family with its display of fidelity, loyalty, respect, fun, humor, intelligence, purpose, balance, rules and boundaries, generosity, charity, and forgiveness, though she subscribed to these qualities.
It was natural for her to stay on her side of the color line, instead of fighting for equality. She would have liked a wall to keep Mexicans out of the U.S.A., except for those she hired to do gardening.
She certainly did not think same-sex unions were acceptable. Or abortion. Those were things one should never speak of; therefore, they did not exist.
She liked white people who had enough money to be polite and well-dressed. She believed if you did not have something good to say, you should stay silent. She would have said she believed in family values; that is to say, Christian values, American values. So how could she be a Trump supporter? Because she believed men were better, smarter, and stronger than women.
My mother was not a fan of high intellect. Reading was acceptable, but not intellectuals. Trump’s lack of intellect would have been a plus for her, along with his rapacious greed, because having come from a modest background, she saw displays of wealth as signals of success and strong character.
I am not speaking badly of the dead. As a matter of fact, I have no idea for whom my mother would have voted, these many, many years since her death. Maybe she would, in fact, be on a bus to march in Washington, D.C. at this very moment if she were alive and well.
I am using my mother as a place-marker for people outside my understanding: those who say they are religious while also supporting lascivious behavior, constant lying, psychopathic narcissism, stunted communication skills, irrational rage, degradation of others, and greed beyond belief.
It seems to me that anyone, religious or not, would reject a person with these traits and would work to protect our nation from such a person. But I am wrong. A person with these traits is being inaugurated. God save us all.