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Opinion Bill Thompson: I voted for Trump. Twice. Sorry, Wanda.

Bill Thompson: I voted for Trump. Twice. Sorry, Wanda.

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Bill Thompson
Thompson is a native of East St. Louis, Ill., where he developed a lifelong love of the St. Louis Cardinals (all-time favorite player, Stan Musial; runner-up, Lou Brock). He’s been editor of daily newspapers in Illinois, New Jersey and Maine, where he spent four teeth-chattering winters in-between two of his three stints with the Fort Worth Business Press. But Thompson’s favorite job over the years has been riling up readers with opinion columns and editorials on topics ranging from politics to sports to curious shenanigans at City Hall. A newspaper in Pennsylvania once marketed him as “the man you love to hate.” He wrote columns for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from 1987 to 2001, when he left in the first wave of buyouts and layoffs perpetrated by a now-defunct company called Knight Ridder. He still misses that job. He doesn’t miss Knight Ridder.

My good friend Don Woodard is fond of calling his wife the Speaker of the House. Don has strong opinions but expresses them quietly, sprinkled with quotes from Shakespeare and other literary giants along with the occasional country singer. Wanda Woodard is more like me – prone to voicing opinions in no uncertain terms and at a volume level guaranteed to leave the listener with no doubts about what’s been said.

Don also likes to bring together people with contradictory opinions – often for Saturday breakfast at Colonial Country Club – throw a stick of rhetorical dynamite onto the table, then sit back and bask in the explosion.

So it came to pass, on a Saturday morning in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign, that I sat down to breakfast with the Woodards and Don asked me who I thought would win the election. “Trump will win,” I said. Don also persuaded me to confess that I intended to vote for Trump. The Speaker of the House was astounded.

“Why in the world would anyone vote for Donald Trump?” Wanda demanded. She then reeled off a detailed list of The Donald’s shortcomings as a both a politician/would-be president and a person. In a nutshell: Not fit to hold public office – or breathe the same air as decent human beings, for that matter.

So, at the risk of infuriating Wanda one more time, I’ll confess again: I voted for Trump in 2016. And I voted for him in 2020.

Am I heartbroken and outraged that he lost? Am I hoping against hope that somehow these lawsuits Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani is pushing will overturn the results of an election that gave Joe Biden a clear-cut majority in the Electoral College, where, like it or not, these things are decided?

Yes and no. Yes, I would love to see the nation avoid having Joe Biden as president for four years (or for however long he lasts). But no – like a lot of people who voted for Trump, I’d guess – I’m not inconsolable about the prospect of moving on from a presidency that pitted friends and families against each other and, maybe worse, transformed the mainstream media from a mostly responsible disseminator of news and information into a crazed propaganda machine spewing anti-Trump messaging as if nothing else on earth was important.

For so-called news outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, even the devastating coronavirus pandemic became just another weapon to wield against Trump. Never mind the truth. Never mind the facts. Just get rid of Trump.

OK. They’re rid of him. It’s a lot to hope for, I know, but maybe now that they don’t have to spend every waking hour scouring for ways to depose the 45th president of the United States, they can get back to the business of informing and entertaining their readers.

For the most part, I have no complaints about the policies Trump pursued as president: lower taxes, deregulation, stricter enforcement of immigration laws, challenging China’s global dominance in trade. The tedious tweets, the petty feuds, the almost pathological refusal to ignore even the slightest criticism – all that was exhausting. I won’t miss it.

But I’m not looking forward to an era of ever-increasing government encroachment on individual freedom, free enterprise and free expression. The ultra-liberal/socialist activists who are driving the Democratic Party’s agenda nowadays pose a serious threat to the America we’ve known and loved since its founding. This is not hyperbole. The Biden administration will put liberty in jeopardy in a way that Trump’s goofy pronouncements and man-crush on Vladimir Putin never did.

My boss has been hounding me to write some columns. I warned him that he might not like a lot of what I write. He said that’s OK. I hope he meant it.

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