OPINION: Reeder: Even Worse than You Think
If statistics are any prediction, I ought to be an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump.
After all, I’m a middle aged white male, a gun owner, a rural resident and an Evangelical Christian.
On top of that, I have a long history of being deeply skeptical of government-worker unions and a history of opining in support of fiscal conservatives.
All of those things would seem to portend a devotion for The Donald.
Our president has brought little to the table in the way of civil political discourse.
I was discussing this with David Cay Johnston, who just authored the book “It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.”
I first met Johnston 12 years ago, when I was in Fort Worth, Texas, to receive an Investigative Reporters and Editors medal. I found Johnston to be a nice guy, an occasional mentor and a reporter not afraid to go against the grain.
And he’s a registered Republican who is not afraid to speak out against some of the GOP’s dumber moves.
Moves like nominating Trump.
Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winner who has written a book on the president, has known Trump for decades. He noted Trump’s entire career has revolved around the concept of revenge.
Much of Johnston’s criticism of the president focuses on this desire to get even.
Noting this, Johnston asked reporters to pose these questions to Evangelical leaders who have supported Trump:
· Can you be a Christian if your life philosophy is revenge?
· Can you be a Christian if you believe that people who turn the other cheek, as Jesus commanded in the Sermon on the Mount, are "fools, idiots and schmucks?"
· Do Christians believe that if someone offends you by declining a favor that you should hit them in the face 15 times?
“Trump has said all of these things in writing, in videotaped addresses over many years in many places. So, this of course begs the question: How you can you support him?” Johnston said.
Johnston makes many other good points in his book. But the underlying theme of the tome is Trump’s character.
“It's Even Worse Than You Think” Is a sobering read and a reminder of the importance of political engagement.
“Too many folks of good conscience – of all political stripes – have stood on the sidelines,” Johnston told me. “The positive thing that has happened since Donald Trump’s election is that they are becoming more involved. They see what is going on and they want to do something about it.”
Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse journalist. He works as a freelance reporter in the Springfield area and produces the podcast Suspect Convictions. He can be reached at ScottReeder1965@gmail.com.