Table for One
Like any good New Yorker, I’m no stranger to angst and internal conflict. But damn, this fall–barely begun–and I already feel like I’ve never been so conflicted outside of my navel gazing sessions. Obviously, I’m talking about this election cycle. I’m sick of this, everywhere you look it’s been all-Trump all-the-time for a year already. Again, New Yorker here, I was sick of Trump and his unique brand of gild and tarnish long before he officially threw his hat in the ring. Mrs Fringe, while always intended to cover relevant political discussions, wasn’t meant to be a political blog. But how can we not discuss this? And therein lies the problem. How will I sit across the dinner table from friends who support/supported Trump without a) puking and b) having my head explode?
Let’s start with an olive tray.
As any regular readers know, I’ve always prided myself on choosing not to live in an echo chamber, having friends with a variety of beliefs, lifestyles, and values. It’s a good thing, keeps me thinking, keeps me making informed decisions, not just spouting rhetoric. Now, though, now I’m questioning this. I’d like to interject one thought here, I have some friends on the left who are painting Trump supporters with the proverbial broad brush, “evangelical right wingers.” For the most part, in terms of people I actually know, that isn’t who I’m seeing supporting him. I’m not religious, but have friends who are devout, and they will not support Trump because they see him as the antithesis of religious values. I see him and the Trump/Pence ticket as the antithesis of any value system that prizes humanity, let alone ethics.
Amuse-bouche of fried tofu with truffle oil
Putting aside bombastic slogans about making America great again, let’s take a look at Trump and Pence, what each of them stands for, things they’ve said and done. Donald Trump continually makes misogynistic statements about women. When these types of statements are made over and over again, he didn’t misspeak, these are his beliefs. He thought he should be lauded for not attacking Hillary Clinton because of her husband’s extramarital shenanigans. During the debate. I guess I’m slow, because I just don’t see how this has anything to do with the qualifications of Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States, or her policy positions. Yesterday, we got to hear about this little gem. Oh yes, let’s expand rape culture by voting into the office of President a man who believes mauling women is his right. Because money, and dangly bits. He believes Planned Parenthood, an organization that he admits helps millions of women, should be defunded. The only logical conclusion I can make here is that he doesn’t want women to be helped. Or healthy. Of course, let’s not forget his quote that women who have abortions should be punished. Pence, of course, isn’t just talking, he has a track record, strongly pro-life, his record includes restricting women’s rights in Indiana, he is strongly pro-life, has also voted against stem cell research, and voted against 4 weeks of paid family leave for federal employees.
Carrot and ginger soup garnished with slivers of pickled pig snout
One social area where Trump isn’t completely awful is gay rights. But don’t breathe that sigh of relief just yet, first take a long hard look at Mike Pence. The man who voted “no” on enforcing anti-gay hate crimes. My personal favorite *gag* is his history of advocating for tax dollars to fund conversion therapy. Yanno, that debunked, bullshit pseudoscience that claims gay people can be “reformed.”
Frisee salad, wilted with grapefruit sections and broccoli rabe–because this dinner can’t be too bitter.
Trump is a proponent of racial profiling. Despite actual evidence, he thinks stop and frisk is fabulous; again, something he wants to expand. What’s that, he’s not racist? I’m being too politically correct? Claimed a judge would be biased because of the judge’s Mexican heritage, has been sued more than once for not renting to black people, failed to reject the support of the Klu Klux Klan. He’s still blahblahblah about that hypothetical wall between us and the Mexican border (worked so well for Berlin), he wants to ban Muslim immigrants, and from his plexiglass, gold-plated bubble, “Syrian refugees are a Trojan horse,” because helping desperate, starving people trying to live and be free to practice their religion and work is not the American way. Owait. Yup, must be me, he isn’t racist at all.
Roasted boar with red beans, oranges and bok choy
Trump thinks not paying federal taxes makes him smart. Hmm. In some respects, as a businessman, I suppose it certainly does make him savvy. But the position of President isn’t equivalent to CEO, it’s about representing the interests of the people of our so-called democracy, not further lining his pockets. Please, someone explain to me how anyone can believe Trump supports veterans and the military when he believes not paying the taxes that fund veterans and the military is something to brag about. When he continually disparages the sacrifices made by veterans and their families? He says “no one respects us,” in reference to other countries. I can certainly see the US losing respect by the day, the longer Trump has supporters.
Buccatini with parmesan and rainbow peppercorns
What’s that, dear? Oh, jobs, yes, Trump will bring back all the jobs. And that, after all, is a real concern for real Americans, not theoretical loss of civil rights, we’re worried about our paychecks. And he’s a businessman. Oh yes, his successful businesses with multiple bankruptcy filings, that is an excellent model for the United States. His long history of reneging on contracts, not paying contractors the agreed upon fees. What? You think I will address (again) his lies about bringing manufacturing jobs back to America when his own companies continue to exploit tax loopholes by manufacturing their products outside of the US? Mike Pence believes those pesky regulatory burdens are economy killers? No worries, we’re having a civilized dinner, imaginary dishes to go with all these imaginary jobs.
Aged gouda with smoked pepitas and macadamias
Both Trump and Pence dislike the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and would love the opportunity to repeal it. It certainly is far from perfect, I can agree, but it’s a whole lot better than what we had before, with millions more people uninsured and people who wanted health insurance unable to get any because of preexisting conditions. Mike Pence has voted No on giving mental health full equity with physical health, voted No on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, voted Yes on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare Co-Pay. Oh yes, this is exactly who we need. Yesterday I read about this incident. Certainly, it wasn’t Trump or Pence who sent this epileptogenic video to this journalist with epilepsy–but I didn’t hear them immediately denouncing it, either. Epilepsy, a potentially fatal disorder that has its own place at the dinner table in my home. Talk about triggers– I read that article and flashed on every time I’ve watched my daughter turn gray and stop breathing. Life and health are overrated, aren’t they? Unless of course you’re male, white and wealthy enough that you can pay out of pocket for any and all health expenses. If you’re fortunate enough not to have extensive experience with health care costs, let me tell you, someone has to be extraordinarily wealthy to pay out of pocket, working class/middle class won’t cut it.
Apple pie in lard crust with salep dondurma and espresso
Sorry, I don’t have the patience for a twenty-three course meal, and if I tried to hit all of the important positions this post would be 14,000 words long. The offerings in my imaginary meal are bizarre, you didn’t imagine it. They reflect the bizarre twists and justifications I’m seeing in defense of Trump and in defense of Trump supporters. Over the last few days, I’ve heard a lot of talk from friends who lean left (the way I do) as they try to preserve friendships by tempering statements about “deplorables” by saying they don’t believe all Trump supporters are deplorable, they’re regular people who are nice, just afraid or misguided. I understand that. I don’t have that many friends, the majority of those friendships I have are treasured, steeped in mutual history, shared experiences and laughter. But when someone supports Trump, and I think of my dinner table, I lose my appetite. Who sits at my dinner table? My family, my in-laws, my friends. A diverse group that includes people of many ethnic backgrounds, skin colors, socio-economic status, varying faiths and lack thereof, different sexual orientations, differently abled. When you support Trump, you are making a public statement that you don’t believe women are human beings, equal in any way to men, let alone entitled to feel physically safe. When you support Trump, you are saying you don’t believe in gay rights. When you support Trump, you are saying you don’t believe people of color are deserving of the same respect and opportunities, the same safety, as white people. When you support Trump, you are saying you don’t believe my daughter or my husband deserve to have health insurance. You are saying it’s a-okay for my loved ones to leave my dinner table and be stopped and frisked, threatened, harassed, for daring to have lives.
This isn’t like any other election year, the Trump/Pence ticket isn’t like any other Republican offering. You don’t get to say, “well, I like his tax plan,” and ignore the complete lack of humanity, lack of integrity, ignore his intention to repeal the rights of everyone who doesn’t think and act like Trump, repeal freedom of the press under the guise of calling out “mainstream media bias.” If you are supporting Trump/Pence, you are allying yourself with the ticket supported by the KKK. Think about that, the motherfucking Klu Klux Klan. We are the company we keep.