Ring! It was my turn to pick up the phone at the suicide prevention hotline, where I volunteer.
Me: “We-Care Line. How may I help you?”
Caller: “Hi, I’m calling from the Make America Great Again campaign. I’d like to speak with you about Donald Trump.”
We get these calls all the time during an election year. Usually they’re robocalls, but this one happened to be a real live human being.
Me: “Who? Donald Rump?”
Caller: “Trump. Donald Trump.”
Me: “Never heard of him. So what about him? Is he having a personal crisis right now?”
Caller: “No, not all. We’re calling to make sure you get out and vote for him in the primary, and encourage your friends to vote for him, too.”
Me: “So, this Donald . . . Grump . . .”
Caller: “Trump. TRump! Donald Trump. I can’t believe you’ve never heard of him. Everyone knows about Donald Trump.”
Me: “Trumpet. Gotcha. Used to play one in band when I was a high schooler. So, tell me. Why should I vote for him, and what’s he running for?”
Caller: “He’s going to make America great again. And he’s running for president.”
Me: “You know what else is great?”
Me: “God. God is great.”
Caller: “Oh yeah, yeah, sure. God is great. And Grump, I mean Trump, is gonna make America great again too, just like God.”
Me: “God is great.”
Caller: “Yes sir, I know. Now can I count on you to support Gonald Dump. I mean Donald Trump?”
Me: “Perhaps. But first I want you to chant with me. Chant: God is great. God is great. God is great.”
Caller: “God is great. God is great. God is great.”
Me: “Allah akbar.”
Me: “Allah akbar!”
Caller: “Uh, wait a second sir, are you Muslim?”
Me: “No. But that means God is great, in Arabic. You know, God is great in any language. So would you be willing to chant Allah akbar with me?”
Caller: “I think not.”
Me: “Then I won’t be voting for Ronald Dump, or whoever he is.”
Caller: “It’s Dronald Tump, I mean Donald Trump, and I can’t believe you’ve never heard of him!”
Me: “Sir, your voice is shaking. You seem upset.”
Caller: Sniffs. “I am kind of upset. I’m having a bad day. Do you realize how hard it is to call people all day long and ask them to vote for Gonald Ronald, or, ah shit, whatever his name is?”
Me: “Tell me about it. Tell me more.”
For the next fifteen minutes he poured his heart out to me. I listened carefully and then gave this poor man some wise counsel. I advised him that political activism is the most frustrating job you can ever take on. I told him that politics is very unpredictable, and that even if this Donald guy got elected, he’d probably do things differently than what his supporters were hoping he would do. That’s politics. It’s depressing, and it sets you up for disappointment.
By the time the call was over, I had convinced this poor soul to put the phone down, quit his volunteer job, and walk out of the Make America Great Again headquarters. I don’t know where he is, or what he’s doing right now, but I hope his new-found freedom from political activism will open bright, exciting doors to his future.
And then he can make his life great again.