Thursday, May 26, 2016


In my last op-ed, I wrote about the groundswell of support Donald Trump is getting from white, working-class Americans. As far as they’re concerned, he can do no wrong. He’s convinced them that, if elected, he’ll make America “great again.”

I’m not a Trump supporter, but I have friends who are. They don’t understand why I won’t vote for him. I tell them that voting for Donald Trump would be like voting for Vlad the Impaler.  I also have a few Progressive friends tell me I should vote for Hillary. I can’t. I have a conscience. I’d no more vote for Hillary Clinton than I would for Lizzie Borden and her axe. 

Right now, the so-called smart money seems to be on Hillary. Democratic Party big-wigs are licking their chops, sensing that their champion is going to beat Trump to a bloody pulp.

It may well turn out that way, but that hasn’t stopped the Trumpkins. He’s promised them that he’ll make America great again and that’s enough for them. Sound logic and good sense should be prevailing, but they’re not.  Trump’s supporters keep on believing and dreaming. 

Who doesn’t occasionally dream? When I was a kid, I dreamed of playing left field for the Boston Red Sox. My hero, Ted Williams was closing in on the end of his career and, in my flights of fancy, I visualized myself taking his place, hitting the big home run or making the game-saving spectacular catch in front of Fenway Park’s Green Monster. But, two realities got in my way. First, the Red Sox weren’t in the market for a no-hit, no-field wonder and, second, Carl Yastrzemski, a future hall of famer, was waiting in the wings.

The closest I ever got to the Green Monster was an occasional bleacher seat.

Reality can be a brutally efficient teacher. One of my best buddies in high school was a guy named Stevie McNeely. He was a great guy, blessed with Irish wit and a sense of optimism like no one I’ve ever met. He could always see the bright side. His real claim to fame was that his cousin, Tom, was an up-and-coming heavyweight boxer. Stevie would occasionally brag about Tom and his undefeated record. He was my best friend, so I pretended to be impressed.

We didn’t see much of each other after we both graduated from high school in June of 1960, but, our paths did cross again in the fall of 1961. Tom was going to be fighting Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight title in December. 

By the time the fight with Patterson came, Tom McNeely’s record was 23 and 0. Quite impressive! Stevie told me that Tom had dreamed he was going to knock Patterson out. I didn’t want to insult my best friend, but I couldn’t help but laugh. “Patterson’s gonna’ kill him, Stevie. The only way he’ll ever beat Patterson is in his dreams.”

It nearly ended the friendship.

Tom McNeely kept on dreaming. On the night of the fight, he daydreamed all the way through the pre-fight announcements about who was going to sing the national anthem at his first title defense.

Then, reality set in.

The fight lasted four rounds. According to the official count, McNeely was knocked down eleven times before the referee mercifully ended his dreams. It took a few years, but Tom was eventually able to look back at the fight with a sense of humor. He said that, while the official count was eleven, he was convinced that Patterson had knocked him down twelve or thirteen. He even joked that he was being hit so hard and so often that he thought “the referee was sneaking in some punches.”

The only heavyweight title fight I’ve ever read about that matched it for brutal efficiency was the Primo Carnera – Max Baer title fight in 1934. Baer knocked Carnera down thirteen times, but it took him eleven rounds to do it. 

I have friends who are Donald Trump supporters, so I’m going to try one last time to get through to them. There’s no good outcome for you in this election cycle. Hillary may win or Donald Trump may win, but you’ll lose either way. Hillary and the Democratic Party don’t like working class white men any more. Your pockets aren’t deep enough for their tastes. And, Donald Trump has no intention of fulfilling his so-called promises to you. As they say on 42nd Street, he’s going to shoot you right through the grease.

You may not like it, but I’m writing this as someone who cares about you. It’s time to wake up! By the time these two are done with you you’re gonna’ wind up with cauliflower ears and pug noses. That’s the reality that’s about d crash down on you.

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