My stepfather is one of the most intelligent individuals I have the privilege of knowing, and we’ve had no shortage of discussions about life, love and work.
One of the most memorable takeaways from our talks is his suggested line for inquiring about something without coming off as combative: “Help me to understand…”
“Help me to understand how you arrived at that decision.”
“Help me to understand how I can be a better partner.”
“Help me to understand how I can advance my career here.”
It’s a terrific line, and one I have tried using more frequently. And that brings me to this post.
It has been an overwhelming week of news between coronavirus updates, Black Lives Matter protests, more instances of police brutality caught on camera, and so much more. It has been emotionally trying for almost everyone, and more so for some than others.
I’ve been very outspoken about my feelings — much to the chagrin of some family members and followers who would rather I just “stick to sports” and shut up about politics — but I firmly believe it’s important for people to know where you stand on certain issues and why.
I’ve tried asking this question in a number of different ways on social media in the past and have gotten precisely ZERO responses, so I’ll try phrasing it differently in the hopes someone will finally answer: Help me to understand why Donald Trump can do no wrong.
Most Trump supporters I know are also staunch supporters of the military. Help me to understand how does it not bother you to hear Trump call Colin Powell — a four-star general in the United States Army — a “stiff” when Powell has almost as many stars on his shoulder as Trump has deferments from military service.
Most Trump supporters I know are devout followers of Christianity, and believe that Trump is the right president to represent their faith. Help me to understand how does it not bother you that Trump used the Holy Bible as a prop for a photo when the Pope himself has said Trump “is not Christian.”
Most Trump supporters I know are so impatient for the country to re-open that they support armed riots demanding that governors end the lockdown in their respective states. Help me to understand how you place no blame on Trump, who said a virus that has now claimed the lives of over 100,000 people would just “disappear” one day and basically put us in the position we’re in today.
There are dozens of other examples I can use, but these are three that are currently on my mind.
I’m asking these questions sincerely and with genuine interest because I need to understand what power this man possesses that makes his word gospel. I need to understand why you can never be critical of him even when he is outright lying. I need to understand what makes him infallible in your eyes.
I truly do not get it, and I truly want to understand. I’m pleading for an explanation from someone — any one of his millions of loyal supporters.
I went into his presidency wildly skeptical and pessimistic, but hoping he would prove every one of his doubters wrong for the good of the country. But the past four years have somehow managed to be worse than my already horrific imagination of what a Trump presidency would look like. Despite all this, his base remains as loyal to him as ever and I truly do not get it.
So please, help me to understand.