I wonder why Trump is not flipping me out? I wonder if there is some bigoted, ignorant and right-wing element that lurks inside this folk-singing, poem writing, neo-socialist shell of mine.
Maybe it is not that hard for me to make the empathetic reach to feel at least some of the heartbeat of angst, alienation, and pissed-offedness of a broader than we think sub-segment of society that is—or at least feels it is— being intellectually belittled by the righteous arrogance and condemnations of people who know better, who are not white trash racists and who occupy a moral high ground that they preach from with smug self-aggrandizement.
Yes! Trump is a horrible choice for president. He is, to my mind at least, a pompous, opportunistic ass who is rife with contradictions and simplistic approaches to befuddling issues, BUT there is no denying he is also a populist voice who provides an outlet—and now a platform—for those who don’t feel represented by the political establishments (left and right) or the omnipresent media and who don’t feel heard in this present moiled and muddied times.
We will not win over the votes of “Trump Nation” by a constant drumbeat of belittling diatribes that only serve to fortify the “wall” they are building around themselves. All of us are prey to misguided ideologies, and I am convinced that Trump’s ideology is especially misguided, even dangerous, but in the end, we are an amazing country of many voices, many points of view and a thoughtfulness that is often astounding. We are, however, sorry listeners whose first instinct is to tribalize into competing factions.
There is no reason to panic. Trump is not going to derail our nation, even if he wins the nomination or even if he wins the presidency. Life, democracy and our nation will move ahead, and perhaps even be better and stronger for it. This a time for dialogue with each other—and dialogue needs ears that hear, and hearts that feel and try to understand, not simply mouths that roar.
This is an opportunity for the greatness of democracy to act in an enlightened, passionate and compassionate way and to look at our own personal flaws and biases as deeply as we look at those of our perceived enemies , who are, in reality our brothers and sisters—a family joined at the hips in this noble experiment that is America.
And we should never turn our backs to family…