The daily news is a parade of absurd and thoughtless things Trump said and did. It’s awful stuff. Today, as I was perusing the latest Trump-Hitler comparison, I saw this article on Huffington Post in news results labeled “in depth” and was surprised to find that it was hard-hitting and possibly, scarily, true. (Note, it was based on this piece by Amanda Taub on Vox.) The premise of the article is that it’s not the person that’s the problem, it’s that people accept the twisted rhetoric he delivers and will vote for him. How did we go so low? There will always be big-mouthed, narcissistic, sexist, racist, very rich white guys, but it’s concerning that a large part of the population will support such a person for one of the most critical and demanding jobs on earth. President. And it may be just the beginning. Or the End.
The article by Jeff Schweitzer lists all the really disturbing things Trump promotes that causes 40 to 70% of the audience to cringe or swear while the remaining portion loudly cheers and agrees:
- America needs to be “great” again (When were we not great? Oh, yeah, Schweitzer says, when we were at war, and our car industry went bust, and employment tanked, none of which is now. Maybe they mean slavery, which would not be surprising.)
- Mosques should be shut down (because who cares about freedom of religion if the religion is something other than Christianity, right?)
- Mexicans are rapists (See how easy, just lump them all together and kick them out.)
- All Muslims should be tracked (but shrink government involvement with white, Protestant Americans, they’re not terrorists.)
- And let’s not forget he debated his dick size on national TV (talk about insecure, he takes offense at people saying he has small hands), he has to continually remind us that he’s REALLY RICH (except when he’s bankrupt), and, probably worst of all, he advocated war crimes.
This is all so absurd and crass that I’m having a hard time not believing it’s all a realty TV stunt.
I’ve noticed some key things about Trump supporters that I can’t reconcile with my own values, morals or common dictionary definitions. First, authoritarian leadership, that is, they find appeal in someone who is strong-handed and discourages critical thinking. Oh, that is so against my nature, and so unDemocratic. We split from the King of England a really long while ago, remember?
I see Trump as a Pied (orange, besuited) Piper, enticing followers with good sounds, where the people fall in line behind him to be led far out of town and then into the river to drown. Then, he asks for money. Some people seem OK with taking oaths to vote for one guy? That is fanatical. Fanatical is OK, I guess, for futbal games but not American politics.
Second, as alluded to above, there is an astounding ignorance of history, even modern history, politics, and basic civics. I heard a Trump supporter on the news this AM from Mississippi say she is tired of compromise and that it’s all about “money money money”. One could choke on the clueless hypocrisy. Politics is compromise. Deals are compromises. The world requires diplomacy not just blowing each other up. And, GEEZUS, if anyone is all about money, it’s Trump. Running a country like a business doesn’t really work. There is a moral issue with “firing” part of the population. A country is supposed to provide for its citizens not make money for its Commander in Chief. It’s clear these commenters never studied the constitution. I’m pretty sure they don’t understand the Gospels either. I wonder if they think Jesus was a pansy for promoting love and service to others instead of wealth, gambling, and shutting out those who need help? Obama didn’t turn out to be the anti-Christ but if I had to pick someone who kind of resembles that remark…
Trump followers seem either in denial about or bluntly OK with intolerance of those different from themselves. They seem bent on electing the exact opposite of Obama – white, fake, ignorant, ruthless, and rude. When did racism and misogyny (prejudice against women) become laudable traits in America?
Talking to Trumpers* (No one has used this term yet?) is like arguing with Creationists. They seem to have a strange definition of “truth”. Telling it like it is, to me, means speaking factually, facts that can be independently verified by anyone, not just a thing you really really wish was true. Trumpers and Trump himself find it very difficult to provide answers to basic questions you ask, and exhibit no ability to reason past their own noses. You can’t have a rational discussion with people who don’t follow the same rules of discourse. I’m trying to use verified information to back up my position and they are deciding from their guts, led by base emotions, instead of considering pros/cons and evidence for and against. I know, having a thoughtful reasoned discussion is hard when everyone is yelling. And most people don’t bother being careful about a decision unless they are spending a chunk of money, like buying a new car. It might be nice if people considered a CarFax for political candidates – in the long run, this guy might cost you more than a payment on a lemon would. He might ask you to pay with your first born child, drafted for his kickass war.
A little while back I lamented that fake news has taken over everywhere. It really got me down. News is not information today as much as it serves as entertainment. So few people seem to actually care if something is true before passing it on to others. They might not even read past the headline. It’s more important to have the story appear to fit with your existing beliefs. Even when falsity is called out, they DON’T CARE! They prefer the fiction. It took me until now to connect this current phenomena of unreal news to the current candidate clown circus. The other day I argued with a Trumper on Twitter. A while later, it hit me that it was a poe account. Well, I’m not actually sure.
I hesitate to call people stupid, dumb or idiots. Those words are overused and are too simple to be anything other than lame insults. None of us are highly informed about most things so I do not wish to call Trumpers stupid. I don’t even think Trump is an idiot. But I do think he and supporters are blind and misguided in ways that can have extremely disturbing consequences. We feed on information, news, and political rhetoric, but we aren’t able to utilize it all that well. Consuming data and ideas, opening up and having junk spooned in, is not smart. Smart is being selective in quality and quantity and then doing something useful with those ideas. Trump popularity is another symptom that society is full of people who SHOULD know better about the garbage they are ingesting. Why don’t they? Is it the schools, our culture, the broken government? All and more; it’s complicated. And sadly, it appears too many Americans are ill-prepared to figure any of it out.
I think I do get it a little bit. Things feel out of control for some people. Their world is changing. They feel threatened by violence, aliens (illegal and extraterrestrial), powerful women, foreign terrorists, other belief systems, and non-traditional lifestyle choices. They want someone to fix it, to put things back in their comfortable order again. It’s my opinion that change is inevitable and we won’t go back to mythical “good ol’ days”. Following a Pied Piper without thinking for yourself about how to deal with these changes is not a winning strategy. You’ll die frustrated.
Unless the majority of Americans retain (or regain) their senses and stop this crazy thing, we’ll head towards even more serious ugliness in American society. If Trumpers succeed in putting this inconsistent, self-absorbed, bullshit artist into the White House, we’re doomed.
*Trumpers – Supporters of Donald J. Trump for President 2016. “Trump” in terms of cards means any playing card of a suit that for the time outranks the other suits, just like candidate Trump is doing to the other more qualified Republican candidates. Eerily appropriate, isn’t it? Curiously, to “trump up” means to devise deceitfully or dishonestly; to fabricate, which is what Trump has been accused of doing with statements on the campaign trail (example: Muslims celebrating on 9/11). Trumpers fall for this every time. It’s like the name “Trump” was made just for him and he lived up to it. Amazing.