At my previous job, there was a coworker who was amicable and technically smart. Though he and his wife combined make over $300K a year, he complained a lot about taxes. He’s a white Christian. He is skeptical about climate change and evolution. He listens to Rush Limbaugh. He hates Dems and voted for Trump.
But, really, he’s (otherwise) a nice guy, with a self-deprecating sense of humor. I liked him, he liked me, and we enjoyed chatting. In our discussions, I told him that a pro-life Christian should be in favor of medical care for all — at least, surely, medical care for children, elderly, and poor people. He reluctantly agreed that basic medical care should be guaranteed. He told this to his (Chinese) wife, who is even more conservative than he is.
He kept trying to convert me to Christianity, to no avail.
After I left that job, he tried to reach out to me. But I rebuffed his efforts, even though I like him, because I am repulsed by his political views. After all, he voted for politicians who promote horrible policies: giving even more money to the rich and the Pentagon; deregulating Wall Street; gutting the EPA and other regulatory agencies; under-funding the IRS so tax cheats aren’t audited; making it harder for minorities and poor people to vote; allowing billionaires to buy elections and set policy; denying climate science; making it easy to buy military-style guns and ammunition; etc, etc.
Are the GOP politicians he supports sociopaths? I think many of them are. Does his support for these politicians make him a sociopath too (“a sociopath-by-proxy”)? I’m not sure.
With this story in mind, I can now explain the three interpretations for the title of this essay.
- Some people, such as my Republican coworker, vote for sociopaths. They love sociopaths.
- Some sociopaths, such as my coworker, are kind, loving people.
- In America today, it often happens that a dear friend, coworker, or family member votes Republican and we find ourselves loving a sociopath-by-proxy.
In fairness to my coworker and to other Republicans, many Trump voters disliked Trump and voted for him only because they thought Hillary was even worse. Still, Trump was so obviously corrupt, stupid, racist, crude, dishonest, and misogynistic. How is possible for an intelligent, decent person to vote for him?
It’s hard to believe that all Republican voters are sociopaths. I rather believe they’ve been brainwashed, by Fox News, AM talk radio, Breitbart News, and other conservative media. Their hatred of Democrats and of Hillary in particular is extreme and unreasonable. Yes, Hillary was flawed. Trump was far, far worse. (Does Hillary’s email scandal at all match Trump’s many scandals?)
I fear for the future. I won’t be surprised if the Republicans do well in the midterms or if Trump wins re-election in 2020. Trump said, “I Could Stand In the Middle Of Fifth Avenue And Shoot Somebody And I Wouldn’t Lose Any Voters.” Not quite, but about 42% of Americans support him still. It boggles the mind.