I have been told the first requirement of attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is to state your name and say you’re an alcoholic. Fortunately, I don’t have a drinking problem, but I am afflicted with a peculiar malady that only exhibits symptoms in blue states. So, today, I am taking the first step and admitting my problem.
My name is Lou Segal, and I voted for Donald Trump.
Like the alcoholic who must demonstrate courage to admit to his drinking problem, admitting you voted for President Trump also requires a degree of fearlessness if you don’t want to be canceled by those in the community with whom you live.
If you don’t believe me, try announcing it at a party attended by friends and neighbors. It’s a guaranteed showstopper if you’re starved for attention. If you’re lucky, you won’t lose more than a couple of friends.
For those who have experienced what I am talking about, there’s nothing quite like having an erstwhile friend accuse you of racism, misogyny, xenophobia and other pleasant labels you wouldn’t wish on your proctologist. It’s a little jarring to be put in the same company as Hitler, since the worst thing you’ve probably done in your life is forget to pay the Girl Scout for the cookies she delivered to your house in a hailstorm. Little did I know that voting for Mr. Trump is akin to committing one of the worst crimes in the history of mankind.
One quickly learns that you can’t seek approval from your neighbors by attempting to explain the well-grounded reasons why you voted for President Trump. Even if you show them a scholarly dissertation of policy choices worthy of a Nobel Prize or admit you didn’t vote for him the first time, they will roll their eyes and treat you either like a leper or the crazy senile uncle who crashed the party uninvited.
No matter how many times you try to explain, you will not escape your newfound status as the proverbial fox in the henhouse.
Since it’s looking like President Trump will be denied a second term, I expect this preference for Mr. Trump will become less of an issue as time goes on. So why am I not feeling any better since I won’t have to defend myself to all those who question my sanity?
Because all the progress President Trump has made for our country will be left unfinished.
There will be no opportunity to rebuild our economy to the point where it was before the pandemic, or finish the peace process that was started in the Middle East during this administration. An unprecedented number of people, including minorities and the disenfranchised, would have benefited from record-breaking increases in earning power, as they did during the first term.
I believe if President Trump was re-elected, the Chinese would have negotiated a far-reaching trade deal with the U.S. We would have finished the wall along our southern border, enhancing our security and probably opening the way for a comprehensive immigration deal with the Democrats. He would have continued to appoint judges who are committed to remaining faithful to the ideals and principles embodied in our Constitution. The list goes on for a second term’s unfinished business.
But now we will never get to see what could have been. We, in all likelihood, will see this new administration try to reverse the many accomplishments from the last four years. For those who thought Mr. Trump was a consequential president, it is depressing indeed.
But don’t get me wrong, I won’t miss some of the tweeting, bombastic comments or the never-ending chaos that seemed to be a constant presence in this presidency. Donald Trump is no wallflower, that we can all agree upon.
Nevertheless, the good outweighed the bad by many magnitudes.
I believe this will be duly recognized over time as the heat dissipates, and he can be more objectively evaluated by historians.
In the meantime, I want you to know that my name is Lou Segal and I voted for Donald Trump.
The author lives in Santa Barbara.