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Anonymous
#1 is especially tricky when the weirdest person in the world is the (de facto) public face of the pro-life movement and occupies the most powerful political office (albeit probably not for much longer, for better or for worse). Some advice on how to square that circle would be helpful, especially for people that live in very anti-Trump jurisdictions/states/countries.
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joshbrahm
haha, fair question. I'm not going to tell people who to vote for this year, but regardless of what your convictions are on that, pro-life people do not need to, and should not, defend everything President Trump says or does. Just being willing to condemn the most morally problematic actions he takes will likely earn you the right to be heard for a while longer to the pro-choice person you're talking to, because sadly, many pro-life people don't seem to be willing to stomach that.
Again, people can choose to vote for someone with bad character based on how they prioritize policies vs. character vs. competence. (Borrowing the latter two from David French's rubric.) But it's one thing to plug your nose and vote for a narcissistic person because you're hoping that it will help get us closer to ending legal abortion; it's another thing to defend everything Trump says.
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Anonymous
Appreciate the thoughtful response. Unfortunately, that hasn't really been my experience. Anything more nuanced than "Orange Man Bad" is not considered an acceptable position. There's things Trump has been spot on (appointing Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, removing critical race theory from government training), things he's been absolutely abominable on (treatment of women, reckless and cavalier attitude to a global pandemic, refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power), and many things somewhere in between (the endless saga over white nationalists and the alt-right). But they all have to be treated the same way, just as one couldn't praise Adolf Hitler for any of his actions in Germany. Defending President Trump when he deserves it and criticizing him when he deserves it isn't good enough. It seems that whenever President Trump is involved, everyone's IQ drops at least 30 points. There's no amount of virtue-signalling that's sufficient short of constantly attacking Trump on everything, fairly or not, so much that you just become a useful idiot for the Democrats (as many Trump-skeptical pundits did in their quest to earn the Strange New Respect).
(for the record I don't live in America so can't vote in the election, and I don't envy the people who can).
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joshbrahm
Yes, all fair points. And we basically agree on the way you're categorizing all of those things. (And my bad for assuming that voting was a part of your question; always glad to have readers from outside America!)
Something I should have mentioned in my first reply is the importance of doing what you can to separate Trump from the pro-life movement. You want them responding to your pro-life arguments or even policy ideas, which means you need to get them off of Trump. Given that some people seem to have that Trump Derangement Syndrome you're describing where you're not even allowed to agree with one thing he's done, there's nowhere interesting to go with on the topic of Trump with them.
Unfortunately certain segments of the pro-life movement have made it hard for people like you and me to separate Trump from the pro-life movement, like inviting him to speak at the March for Life. I wouldn't have done that.
But at some point Trump goes away, either early next year or in four, and the pro-life movement will keep working. Maybe you could even ask him how he'd respond to your argument in post-Trump world.
There are definitely points where people behave in such a way that progress can't be made in the dialogue. That's when you should graciously end the conversations. I talk a bit about that here: https://blog.equalrightsinstitute.com/when-and-how-you-should-end-unproductive-conversations/
Does that help?
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Anonymous
That is quite helpful, I'll be sure to read that more carefully.
A quick note regarding the March for Life - if I understand right, every president has been invited to speak at it. Thus far, all declined (though some called in to express their support). So if Trump being the first president to address the March for Life in person bothers you, I think that's more an indictment of the previous presidents than the organizers of the event.
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joshbrahm
Sure, and I don't know if either of the Bush's chose not to go because of security concerns, or political ones. I'm just saying that I personally wouldn't have invited Trump in particular, because I don't want him more connected to the pro-life movement than he already is, given (at least) how he has treated women.
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