De­fend­ers of Trump are not bad peo­ple

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Opinion - BY JAY AMBROSE Tri­bune News Ser­vice

John Pavlovitz is a lib­eral, widely read Chris­tian pas­tor who has com­posed an in­ter­net ar­ti­cle say­ing good peo­ple don’t de­fend a bad man.

And you know who he’s talk­ing about, of course: none other than Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, whose de­plorable sup­port­ers have climbed from a bas­ket into the crosshairs of a sanc­ti­mo­nious sharp­shooter.

Let me first re­spond by say­ing good peo­ple do not threaten the ba­sic principles of our democ­racy in or­der to be bad to a bad man. Few see Mother Teresa in golden hair when they look at Trump. They know his nar­cis­sis­tic, vul­gar, scat­ter­brained ways and can be hor­ri­fied by his abu­sive tweets and rhetoric. But then they see an un­prece­dented ef­fort through il­le­git­i­mate means to over­turn a le­git­i­mate elec­tion and un­der­stand how a pat­tern could thus be es­tab­lished threat­en­ing peace­ful tran­si­tions of power.

One of the most per­sis­tent voices de­fend­ing Trump in this re­gard has been that of Alan Der­showitz, a brilliant for­mer law pro­fes­sor at Har­vard and a mighty ad­vo­cate of civil rights. He voted for Hil­lary Clin­ton and is him­self a lib­eral but was more than a lit­tle dis­pleased by the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Trump by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller and thought Mueller’s re­cent com­ments were ou­tra­geous non­sense un­for­giv­ably on the side of im­peach­ment.

Der­showitz is pri­mar­ily de­fend­ing truth, jus­tice and the Amer­i­can way, and that is good.

Ah, but by Pavolitz’s reck­on­ing, any­one stand­ing up for Trump is prob­a­bly “a ter­ri­ble hu­man be­ing,” some­one lik­ing Trump be­cause “he re­flects your hate­ful heart; he shares your con­tempt of peo­ple of color, your hos­til­ity to­ward out­siders, your toxic misog­yny, your ig­no­rant big­otry, your feel­ing of supremacy.”

I will skip an ad­jec­ti­val at­tack on Pavlovitz. But good peo­ple, we should note, should also slow down and look in both di­rec­tions be­fore say­ing, for in­stance, that Trump re­ferred to some “racists and Nazis” as “fine peo­ple” af­ter the hor­ror in Char­lottesvill­e. Sorry, Pavlovitz, but you are now about to get run over by a fact: Trump said there were “fine peo­ple” on both sides in the protests, but that he was “not talk­ing about the neo-Nazis or the white na­tion­al­ists be­cause they should be con­demned to­tally.”

I am not through. Pavlovitz talks about Trump push­ing ahead to “gouge the work­ing poor and shel­ter the wealthy” when Trump in­stead gave tax breaks to twothirds of the pop­u­la­tion and em­ployed tax and reg­u­la­tion re­form to en­able in­ter­na­tion­ally com­pet­i­tive cor­po­rate prof­its. He thereby de­liv­ered an econ­omy in which we have the low­est un­em­ploy­ment in half a cen­tury, more jobs for black Amer­i­cans than ever in his­tory and de­cent growth again.

What Pres­i­dent Barack Obama gave us was the slow­est re­cov­ery since World War II, vastly in­creased wel­fare rolls and bits and pieces of help tied to un­ad­dressed ob­sta­cles.

It does not fol­low that I em­brace Trump’s worst char­ac­ter­is­tics or fail to rec­og­nize that he wins the award for shock and awe in the Oval Of­fice.

For Pavlovitz to say such nasty things about mil­lions of peo­ple he does not know is not good, and it is worth pay­ing at­ten­tion to him be­cause he is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of so many oth­ers we do know about through their writ­ings.

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