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Yesterday I had a civil conversation with a deeply religious Trump supporter in his 80s, a Vietnam veteran. I had known the guy for years as we frequently met up on our walks on the trail system near our homes. I would say something like "nice day" and he would answer with "praise the lord". Others on the trail have nicknamed him "the preacher". We sometimes stopped and engaged in small talk, but never politics until yesterday when we were discussing our respective injuries (I have fallen twice on the trail) and health care for seniors.
Anyway, the discussion evolved into presidential candidates, and he revealed that he was an avid Trump/Pence supporter, in fact, calling Trump the best president ever. I, of course, had to let him know that I disagreed saying I hated how he had divided the country with his hate speech. He pushed back at me saying that it is the liberal media that has divided the country. He said he watched Fox News and the Drudge Report and considers the New York Times fake news. "I wouldn't believe one thing that is printed in that newspaper".
I asked him if he supports the wall, and he said "absolutely. ..we need to keep the thousands of terrorists out of our country and only a wall can do that."
I countered with the fact that zero terrorists had crossed our southern border, and he asked if I had learned that crap from the New York Times. I said yes but the statistics come from the Homeland Security's own breakdown of numbers. He called it more "fake news", but I insisted that he look it up. He said he would.
Anyway, he also added that it was the liberal media's fault that we pulled out of Vietnam. He said we would have won that war if it wasn't for the liberal media influencing public opinion.
He went on to talk about the "lack of morality" in this country, and that's another reason he supports Trump and Pence so strongly. "Trump speaks the truth about morality."
Okay, I just let it go and continued on my walk. The conversation was never heated...entirely civil. I'm sure I will see him again in the near future as most all of us morning hikers are confined to the southern facing slopes where the snow has melted.
I share this story, however, as just one example of how the religious zealots in our society have adopted Trump and Pence as their "patron saints". If in future meet ups on the trail, I will be happy to engage him again if he so chooses. In a way he is typical of many similar religious people I have encountered in knocking on doors at election time. I have zero expectations of changing anyone's minds, but out of curiosity I don't mind having these conversations as it gives me a better perspective into the minds of one demographic of American society.