Red or Blue?

Anyone who has parented a toddler knows the game of pretending to offer free choice without actually doing so. We say, “Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red one?” hoping to remove the beloved but stained, too-small, ready-for-the-rag bag, tie-dyed option. Sometimes, it even works.

Much of the news today treats us like that toddler. The editors and writers want us to think a certain way and use language and cherry-picked presentations to lead us down their chosen path. As an example, this week I have read positive descriptions of polyamory (committed sexual relationships with multiple people at a time), Hamas, and Nikki Haley, rather than factual offerings.

I can easily dismiss the first two. Polyamory is wrong based on God’s word. For me, that’s enough, though I recognize that others have different moral scales. I have been familiar with Hamas’ evil ideas for too long to fall for the bald-faced lie offered that, really, there were no rapes or beheadings on October 7, 2023, just some good guys standing up for innocent oppressed folks.

That leaves Nikki Haley. I have been trying to analyze my opposition to her, especially as I think that she was an amazing United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, a difficult job for any patriotic and ethical American. I was underwhelmed and turned off by the moments I saw of her debate performance, but that isn’t enough to explain my growing distrust of her.

What is provoking such a visceral, negative reaction in me? I’m well aware that many people who share most of my values and vision for America disagree with me, and I assume that includes Musings’ readers as well. However, being honest here, I like the idea of a Nikki Haley presidency less today than I did two months ago, and substantially less than two years ago. I’m not even weighing up position papers or past track-record as governor; there is an emotional component to what I’m experiencing. What is going on?

Here is one possibility. I feel that I am being force-fed a Haley diet by too many of those whose views I would like to consider. When it comes down to it, rather than making an honest case for her which would have to include negatives, I am being given the toddler’s red and blue shirt non-choice. I sense a terrified, hysterical fear of the equivalent that the three-year-old might show up at her parent’s staid workplace looking like an unloved, unkempt refugee. In other words, if I don’t choose Haley, I might support Donald Trump, so I need blinders to block any objection to her.

Just as pointing out the stains on the shirt or the too-snug fit is useless, so is the constant pointing out of Donald Trump’s flaws. I see them. No one who hasn’t been in a coma for the past eight years is unaware of the past president’s shortcomings. But, like most of those who voted for him in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, I’m also aware of the exaggerations, lies, and hatred directed towards him. In many ways, I have been inoculated against negative words hurled at him.

In a world of my choice, I would love an upright, honorable, experienced, principled, courageous, cheerful, articulate, charismatic, right-thinking, and tireless advocate for the ideas in which I believe—one with no skeletons in the closet, of course. No such individual is close to being on the ballot. As I read articles about Governor Haley, I find it too easy to list all the questions that aren’t being addressed in the attempt to get me to support her. In my case, the hard sell is backfiring.

This Musing is dedicated in memory of Maayan Kahliman, age 22, who was massacred at the Supernova music festival on October 7, 2023.

And with prayers for the safe release of all the hostages, and among them, Sasha Trufanov, age 30, abducted from his home along with his grandmother and mother who have since been released. His girlfriend, Sapir, abducted with him is still captive.

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