Ian Cooper

The view from the moral high ground

Ian Cooper
The view from the moral high ground

Photo by Benjamin Child

Over the past week, a number of Republican politicians, as well as many thousands of voters, have decided to no longer support Donald Trump in the coming election. It’s easy to understand why—he has been both accused of and caught on tape appearing to admit to sexual assault. 

However, a great many people still plan to vote for Mr. Trump. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve spent the last few days looking down on those people and judging them pretty harshly. But this afternoon, a thought popped into my head: what if the situation were reversed? 

What if, for example, in October 2012, a woman or a number of women had come forward with similar allegations against President Obama? What if he were heard on tape making comments similar to Mr. Trump’s? What would I have done?

I asked myself: would I have voted for Governor Romney, who seems decent and principled but with whom I disagree on many political issues, over President Obama in such a situation? My answer: I honestly don’t know, but I’m pretty sure I would have still seriously considered voting for the president.

That vote would have been easy enough to justify. I would have told myself that the Democratic Party works towards equality for all people in a way the Republican Party just doesn’t. I would have told myself that supporting that work was more important than the behavior of one individual, that the ends justify the means. I might well have believed myself too.

This is all a hypothetical, of course. But Christ tells us “judge not or you will be judged yourself,” and that always seems to hold true. It’s easy now for me to look down on the loyalty of Mr. Trump’s supporters, but if I were in their shoes, would I really act any differently?

All our glass houses stand on pillars of sand, after all. 

Ian is a writer and the founder and editor of Open Heart Beginner's Mind.