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As Long as We Remember...

May 24, 2019

Republican Country

Patricia A. Kelly

I’m there, in the countryside of Texas. Most everyone here is a card-carrying member the Red states of the U.S., happy “deplorables” all. Photos and calendars picturing President Donald J. Trump even hang in homes.


If conversation turns to immigration, or right to life, or taxes, we mostly agree, and no one calls me part of a hateful group of racist, sexist, foolish pawns of the ultra-rich white men of America.


Instead, they shake their heads slowly, bemused and troubled by the thought of killing late-term – or already born – babies. Their reaction to assisted suicide is about the same: “We’ve moved away from our American values, already valuing human life only when it’s convenient.


They many not all love Trump’s tweets and his often-rash words, but consider them a small price to pay for his policies and achievements. Many think he is our best chance to restore the true American way of life.


They believe the United States is the greatest country in the world, and that we should be proud of it.


They like President Trump’s foreign policy. Comparing his response to a Syrian chemical weapons attack to that of President Obama’s, they applaud his targeted strike against the weapons depot. They like what he has done with Kim Jung Un in North Korea, standing up instead of sucking up. They see strength in his dealings with Iran and Syria, and even Vladimir Putin. Yes, President Trump admires strong men, but takes no quarter, in their view.


Collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election? A concerted effort to undermine a good president, in their view.


As for immigration, they can’t understand how the rights of illegal immigrants should take precedence over those of American citizens, especially veterans. They believe countries should have borders.


They are happy that jobs are available; they favor fair trade and tax cuts.


They are people who believe in hard work and personal responsibility. They do without to save money and invest it in land and in improvements to their businesses and farms. They don’t believe in spending everything you earn, and then charging more on your credit card.


They’d like to see the money spent in large, crime-riddled cities go toward education, job training, or mentorship for the poor rather than programs like welfare. They think working brings a person pride and dignity.


When it comes to high speed trains in lieu of cars for transportation, they don’t mind the trains, but wonder how helpful they would be, as they would have to drive a couple of hours to board one.


In supporting President Trump, evangelical Christians are hardly the hypocrites they are said to be. Though they disapprove of some of his personal behaviors, they accept that imperfect people can do great things, maybe with a little help from God. Even biblical leaders, such as Saul, were imperfect, and yet answered God’s call to contribute to the betterment of mankind.


It is oddly pleasant to be surrounded by people with whom you can relax when speaking instead of watching every word lest you be loudly demonized for following an evil, self-centered belief system.


Recently in Maryland, while helping a friend who happens to be a liberal, I met a lovely young black woman who manages an apartment complex that caters to the elderly and people of modest means. This woman is accepting my friend into her community, and planning to meet her needs in every way she can, from helping her carry her groceries in to installing safety bars in her bathroom


As we spoke on the phone the other day, she told me she had said to my friend, “I hope you don’t mind that I’m a Republican.” She went on to say that she, who had lived in the complex and risen from her job as maid to manager, wanted to work and be independent, above all not wanting handouts.


Watching the presidential election race heat up, I wonder if Joe Biden’s lead is due to mainstream Democrats seeing him as a common-sense centrist, rather than an extreme left-wing zealot. Maybe most of us, Democrat and Republican, want the same things, pride in our country and sensible measures to keep it safe, not to mention an oasis of personal freedom and prosperity.


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