Thursday, June 29, 2017


Loyal Democrats were devastated when the results to the special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District were certified. They had pinned their hopes on a young man named Jon Ossoff, a political neophyte. The party had spent millions, believing they could take this Deep South red seat from the Republicans. They had started the night with the old strains of Jimmy van Heusen’s “High Hopes” dancing in their heads. But, alas, victory was not in the cards. Ossoff lost. “High Hopes” gave way to the proverbial “Dirge of Defeat.” 

Defeat is never easy to swallow, and this loss was especially painful to the Democrats. It was best expressed by Hazel Hunt, a woman “The Atlantic’s” Molly Ball described as “a middle-aged drama teacher.” Ms. Hunt told Ms. Ball how the results made her feel. “It makes me very sad. It tells me that despite all the wonderful people I met in this campaign, there are still a lot of people who support the meanness and ignorance and tearing each other apart.”

There you have it. Supporters of Democratic candidates are “wonderful people.” Trump supporters are mean and ignorant. It’s become a refrain of the Democratic Party. The words change, but the sentiment doesn’t. In 2008, Presidential candidate Barack Obama described un-progressive Mid-westerners as so bitter they cling to their guns and God. In her campaign for the Presidency, Hillary Clinton described half or more of Donald Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables.”

Were the remarks unfortunate Freudian slips? Were they misinterpreted? The Democrats claimed that was the case, but what else could they say?

I’ve never been a Donald Trump supporter. I’ve used some strong language in a few of my columns to describe him. My candidate was Marco Rubio. But, even though I didn’t support Donald Trump, I know a lot of people who did. I’ve disagreed with them, but I’ve never thought of them as “deplorables.” I don’t believe they’re ignorant or mean, nor do I believe they just “cling to guns or religion” to mask their hatred.

My usual custom in the morning and evening is to walk our dogs. I’ve always enjoyed walking by the Schumann’s place on the corner of 11th and Rural and occasionally taking a moment to chat with Gerald, when he was still alive, and his wife Orinne. My memories of those chats have always been pleasant.

One night, during the election season, I noticed that Orinne was uprooting some Trump-Pence campaign signs in front of her house. I’d known from our earlier chats that she was a Trump supporter and wondered whether she had changed her mind. I asked her about it and she chuckled a bit. “No,” she replied. “Every time I put them up in the morning, some angry person rips them up in the night. So, I just save them the trouble of venting their anger by taking them down myself at night and putting them back in the morning.”

Orinne and I disagreed about the election, but never disagreed on the really important things in life. We’re friends and we have a common faith. 

Orinne has never said an unkind thing to me or about me. About the only thing she ever said to me about my Presidential vote was, “Phil, I’m disappointed, but you’re still my friend.” We spoke a few times about her reasons for voting the way she did and they made good sense to me. She’s pro-life and that’s always been an important component in her decision making process. She’s also a faithful citizen. A little while ago we spoke and she said that Romans 13:1 is very meaningful to her. 

I’ve met a lot of really nice people since I’ve lived in Emporia, but I can’t thinking of anyone I’ve met who is as kind and caring as Orinne. She is one of those people who truly lives out her Christian faith. 

I don’t believe Orinne Schumann is an anomaly. There are a lot of Orinne Schumanns in this country. Like Orinne, they are loyal Americans. They love their families, their communities, and their country. Some of them serve in our military. Others have children who have done multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq while their critics spend their time sipping over-priced latte’s at Starbucks. Still others work at minimum wage to make ends meet. They’re kind, decent, people who vote based on the dictates of their conscience. They vote the way they do because they care about this country.

The Democrats can’t seem to figure out why they keep losing elections. Well, maybe if they stopped painting with such a broad brush and labelling Orinne Schumann and millions of decent, caring Americans as deplorable, hateful, or ignorant, they might be able to win them over and get their votes.

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