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Chris Honoré: When I must suspend my disbelief

As Donald Trump’s policies have unfolded over his first year in office, there’s a question that I find myself reflecting on continually: Is this what those 63 million Americans voted for? Is this the man they wanted above all others in the White House? And are these the policies they yearned to see put in place?

And then the thought follows: Trump has been these past months exactly who he was from the moment he declared his candidacy, through the Republican primary and then during his contest with Hillary. He never pretended to be anyone other than The Donald and, given all that entails, he won.

But getting back to that initial thought regarding his policies, aka campaign promises, I puzzle over the question: Is this the America these 63 million voters hoped for?

Did they want to exclude Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. until we found out “what the hell is going on”? Did they want to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord on Global Warming? Do they believe that the consensus of climate scientists is a hoax? Is it possible they believed then and believe now that coal is our energy future?

Did they believe then as they do now that we need a wall costing billions because undocumented immigrants are pouring over our border who are criminals and rapists? And did they believe then that Mexico would pay for this wall?

Were they in agreement with Trump when he insisted that what John McCain did while held captive for years in Hanoi was not heroic because he was captured and anyone who was captured cannot be deemed a war hero?

Did they believe that thousands of Muslims stood and watched the World Trade Center collapse and cheered?

Do they still want 800,000 DACA dreamers sent back to their countries of origin, forcefully deported from the only country they’ve ever known, while aware that some 90 percent of the DACAs are employed, going to school or serving in the military?

Were they saying with their vote for Trump that they wanted to dismantle the EPA while saying that clean air and water is beside the point? Did they believe then and do they believe now that our military has been seriously depleted over the previous years and requires an infusion of some $50 billion?

Do these Trump voters take heart in hearing that both of America’s coastlines have been opened to oil drilling (Florida, mysteriously, has been excluded), along with 1.5 million-acre coastal area known as ANWR? Are these voters pleased that our monuments and national parks will be diminished, allowing predatory access to countless acres of our natural resources?

Were those 63 million voters, most importantly women, truly able to rationalize the statements Trump made on a video about assaulting women, grabbing them by their private parts with impunity because he was a celebrity? I was convinced then that that would be the end of his campaign.

Do Trump voters believe today, as they must have previously, that his taxes are being audited and therefore not available to the public?

And I wonder after these past months if those voters are convinced that the investigation into Russia’s attempt to manipulate our presidential election was then and continues to be a hoax, or, in the words of Trump, a “witch hunt?" Do they truly believe that there is no there there?

All things are considered, I wonder if a financial cartel is being run out of the White House that benefits the Trumps (begin with the Emoluments Clause and move on from there) and the Republicans in Congress are his principal enablers. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but there it is.

And then there are the events of these recent days. Did we really elect an individual who, during a discussion about immigration, refers to Haiti and Africa as s---hole countries? And a president who denigrates diplomacy and romances the military while flirting with nuclear war?

I keep hearing about Trump’s “base” and how pleased they are. But this is not the America that I hold dear and value. It is someone else's.

— Chris Honoré of Ashland is a Daily Tidings columnist.