DeMarco: Trump 2024? Ask Your Grandchildren.

The Op-Ed Page

Sure, we all know I voted for Biden, but I thought I’d show a HANDSOME grandpa voting.

By Paul V. DeMarco
Guest Columnist

Scene: It’s the autumn of 2032. Jessie, an 8th-grader excited about her government project, stops by her grandparents’ house.

Jessie (big smile, kisses him on the cheek): Hi Grandpa! I’m doing a project about the 2024 presidential election. Would you help me?

Grandpa: Sure, honey. What would you like to know?

Jessie: OK, first, who did you vote for in 2024?

Grandpa (smiling broadly): Donald J. Trump!! I voted for him three times! Best president in the history of America!

Jessie (crestfallen): But Grandpa, he was a liar!

Grandpa (scoffing): Who told you that! What are they teaching you in that school?!

Jessie: No one from school had to tell me that. Literally everyone knows he lied about 2020. His own attorney general said so. There’s never been any credible evidence he won.

Grandpa: That’s why he said the media was the enemy of the people. Don’t believe everything you read, sweetheart.

Jessie (excited): Oh, I didn’t realize. So tell me the real scoop, Grandpa. What really happened? Where can I go to find the real truth?

Grandpa: Well, I can’t point you to a single place. I just know there were lots of irregularities and inconsistencies.

Jessie (disappointed): Oh… everything I’ve been able to find says he lost. No conspiracy was ever uncovered, he lost over 60 court cases challenging the result, and none of the recounts showed any fraud.

Grandpa: All I know is that he was winning when I went to bed and losing when I woke up the next morning. Who knows what the Democrats could have done while I was sleeping?

Jessie: Election experts expected that to happen. More Trump voters voted in person and more Biden voters voted by mail. It took longer to count the mail-in ballots

Grandpa: Well, there was something fishy about that election.

Jessie: But Grandpa, how could you have voted for him in the first place? The way he talks about women! You wouldn’t have stood him talking about Mama that way.

Grandpa: That was just locker-room talk.

Jessie: Is that the way you talked about Mama in your high school locker room?

Grandpa (embarrassed): Well, no…

Jessie: I just don’t understand, Grandpa. He acts so ugly. I’ve heard you say you want a Christian in the White House, and I do too. I know how much you love the church and the special things you do for people.

Grandpa: Trump is a Christian! He got Roe v. Wade overturned.

Jessie: Being a Christian and being opposed to abortion are two different things. This Sunday when Reverend Jessup talked about the fruits of the spirit – let’s see if I can name them all – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness – and there’s one more…

Grandpa: Self-control.

Jessie: Right, self-control. You and grandma have all of those, but Trump doesn’t have any. There were so many better choices in 2024. Why not Nikki Haley or Tim Scott? They’re both from South Carolina. Or what about Mike Pence? I was sure you were going to say you voted for him. He’s so much more like you than Trump.

Grandpa: Jesse, you’re young, you don’t understand. The president isn’t our minister. He’s got to be tough to protect America.

Jessie: I get that he’s not our minister, but in 2016 and 2024 there were candidates whose policies were just as conservative as Trump but so much more decent.

Grandpa: But they didn’t fight like Trump.

Jessie (red-faced): So you didn’t want a minister, you wanted an MMA fighter! Grandpa, the rioters he sent up to the Capitol on January 6th almost prevented an orderly transfer of power. That’s the bedrock of our democracy. Trump acted like a spoiled brat, not the president. And then he lied and lied and lied about it. Is that the way you wanted me to act when I lost the election for class president?

Grandpa (voice rising as Jessie turns away): Jessie, honey, we’re not talking about middle school. We’ve got to keep the left from ruining the country!

Jessie (slow turning back to face him, quietly): Grandpa, what if I am the left? I haven’t made up my mind on a lot of issues, but I’m OK with gay marriage and I’m comfortable talking about both the great and the terrible parts of American history. I respect your view that abortion is always wrong, but I’m not sure that I’m willing to support making it a crime.

Grandpa: You know I’m not going to change my mind about those things.

Jessie: I’m not asking you to. Just remember, most of the people who disagree with you are a lot like me. You don’t need to elect someone like Trump to protect the country from us.

Grandpa: I’ll never apologize for voting for him.

Jessie: I know. Just vote for someone less dangerous this time. Have you decided who you are supporting this year?

Grandpa (smiling): After what you just put me through, you think I’m going to tell YOU!?

Jessie (laughing); Chicken!!

18 thoughts on “DeMarco: Trump 2024? Ask Your Grandchildren.

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Dr. DeMarco wasn’t sure he wanted me to run this. He attached a note that said:

    I’m not sure you will want this. It’s my attempt to imagine what a conversation about Trump might be like between two people that love each other but disagree strongly about his leadership. In rereading it, I don’t think it’s a very good piece-I think it comes off as staged and saccharine. Let me know what you think.

    But hey — he’s trying to do a good thing. Paul’s columns are about trying to show ways to have civil conversations about politics and society, which is something it’s very hard to do these days.

    So I appreciate the effort…

  2. Pat

    The point is understood. That’s what counts. But when I imagine a conversation 20 years from now, gramps is apologizing for taking democracy for granted.

  3. Paul DeMarco

    Thanks Barry. I think part of my difficulty is that I have heard so few civil conversations in real life. In my family we have a mix of liberals and conservatives but the tone of our discussions is almost always polite. And none of us, liberal or conservative is a Trump supporter. So I had nothing to go on but imagination. I cannot recall hearing an extended civil conversation between a Biden-supporting liberal and a Trump-supporting conservative anywhere. Yesterday my wife and I went apple picking at Sky Top Orchard in Hendersonville. As we were standing in line waiting to buy apple cider donuts (which are amazing) I overheard the young man behind me say, “If the liberals keep trying to take away our guns, there is going to be a civil war.” I missed what prompted that comment. When I heard it, I contemplated trying to civilly engage and start up a conversation. I think it would have been interesting, and that I could have spoken with him in a way that communicated curiosity and a sincere desire to understand his view. But I chickened out. When Brad started the blog, I was hopeful that there would be more brainstorming and collaboration about solutions to the problems we face. And, to Brad’s credit, the tone of his blog is the best of any I’ve ever read. There is a wider range of ideas expressed here than in the NYT or WaPo comment sections, which skew liberal (NYT more than WaPo). The internet seems to have a corrosive effect on us-it makes us abrasive and self-righteous in a way that has been disappointing. It’s no surprise that this column has generated so little interest. Granted, it’s flawed. I would love for a more talented writer to imagine this conversation in a more compelling way. But this kind of balanced approach has very little appeal. We want combat and victory. We want our opponents to be exposed and humiliated. So we hurl the same arguments and insults at each other again and again.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “I cannot recall hearing an extended civil conversation between a Biden-supporting liberal and a Trump-supporting conservative anywhere.”

      Yes, and that’s the problem, isn’t it? Such conversations do not occur.

      Has anyone heard one, from anyone?

      I haven’t had one. Not a real, meaningful one. The closest thing I’ve seen to “civility” in this area is that people from the two sides generally avoid talking to each other, because (I suppose, and I hope) neither side wants to create a scene.

      I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations recently initiated by people who I think MAY have been Trump voters, but they were very careful about it — possibly because they were people being paid to provide a service to me, and I was their customer.

      The first was a guy who, based on something I said, asked me whether I had gotten COVID vaccines, and why. I told him, and he just listened, and didn’t offer any personal information in that regard. Of course, being unsure about vaccines doesn’t mean he’s a Trump supporter — I don’t think RFK Jr. is, for instance. But I felt like he was trying to talk around something delicate…

      The other guy brought up my bumper stickers on the back of my truck — James Smith, Joe Biden and Jaime Harrison. He asked me what I thought of Biden. I told him. For himself, he would only say he didn’t like “any of them,” by which I think he meant politicians. Now that I type that, I remember someone else saying that to me recently. So this kind of conversation has been something I’ve had multiple times.

      I have no idea who ANY of those folks voted for, because the conversation didn’t get that far. And that’s what I’m saying — that conversations tend not to.

      Oh, I just remembered I had a very different conversation with a guy recently about my bumper stickers. I was in the parking lot outside the Lexington Best Buy. This guy came up to me and started speaking very enthusiastically about the stickers. He’s someone from up north who has lived in Lexington a number of years, and I got the impression that he didn’t often encounter people that he thought agreed with him, so he went on and on.

      I was pleased for him, but I tried to note politely that while I helped run James Smith’s campaign several years back, I am not a Democrat. I just have all-Democratic candidates on my tailgate because it’s been awhile since a Republican ran whom I felt like I could support. (There’s Micah, of course, but I didn’t put a sticker on my car for him this year — I was too busy trying to keep up a sign in my yard.)

      That didn’t dampen his enthusiasm at all, so we talked on for awhile….

    2. Patricia Dixon

      Country First (Adam Kinzinger) has been advocating engaging in conversations with election deniers, Trump supporters, etc. I don’t really see the benefit in doing that. I haven’t had any political conversation with anyone who wasn’t already set in their mind, as I am, I confess. Where I do see value is for like minded people who want kindness, trust, honesty, and statesmanship in politics to be organized and have an influential, public presence in the way of tv and internet ads to show that there is a large block of moderate, honest people. People need to see there is another way and knowing their strength of numbers will give those who feel isolated courage.

      1. Barry

        I agree with you.

        This week I watched a video of someone trying to interview Trump rally attendees outside of a Trump rally this week. I think in Ohio but I am not sure.

        The person was trying to ask them about the election in a respectful manner. The answers from these folks (numerous) were something out of the Twilight Zone. I mean it’s from another planet.

        Conspiracies about how Trump is really the President, that Joe Biden died years ago and the person in office is a clone- that John Kennedy Jr is helping run the government, etc— the stuff is just so nuts it’s not worth wasting time talking to these folks.

        Of course the person asked them if Trump is really the President, why is he lying to everyone about not being in office. No answer of course.

        But they vote. That’s is the scary part.

          1. Barry

            Apparently a number of Trumpers believe he is helping now.

            It doesn’t make it on Fox News, but at every Trump rally, there is quite a large number of folks there that believe John-John is alive and working to help Trump behind the scenes.

            This stuff sounds nuts. But a good number of Trumpers believe it.

  4. Barry

    One thing the Trump years have taught me is to blindly defend my favorite politicians no matter what they do- what they say- what their results are, etc….

    I know Trump people that I’ve personally heard say they do not care what Trump says or does- they will support him.

    So my answer to others when they question my support of certain politicians is this:

    My favorite politician (at the time) could break into my home, slap my wife, shoot my dog, and burn my family bible and they would have no greater friend than me.

    I learned that from Conservatives and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

      1. Barry

        Bad is good now Brad. The world is upside down.

        A man that paid for his mistresses abortion, and had another kid with her- but denies it- and also advocates for no abortions- not even to save the life of a woman who is dying, who can’t complete a sentence in proper English, who has admitted mental health problems, who said he graduated in the top 1% of his college class but didn’t actually graduate at all and has a record of spouse abuse is a serious Republican candidate to win in Georgia.

  5. Bill

    My best friend is a republican and bigT supporter; into fentanyl and guns.
    We get along great but the conversations Are somewhat stilted…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          My favorite part:

          I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
          Communist, ’cause I’m left-handed
          That’s the hand I use, well, never mind…

          I quote it regularly, but mostly to myself…


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