No closer to comprehending support for Donald Trump
Let’s call them Brad and Linda. I met them a little while back, found them generally likeable people, some good jokes, some less-lovely behaviors, but we got along. They live in Texas, have a daughter, and are retired. Then something fascinating. I learned that they are Trump supporters. I was delighted.
A couple weeks ago I blogged about the hope Trump gives me, and only after I posted it did I think to check my facebook friend count to see if anyone wouldn’t read it before un-friending me. Because the fact is I don’t really know anyone who supports the global political clusterfuck of idiocy that is Donald Trump.
I see them on TV. They’re…well…they’re idiots. A profoundly dangerous tide of anti-intellectualism has been growing in America for years, but Trump? He’s a whole new low. Just…stunning. A level of idiocy, immorality, and statements so preposterously infeasible and irresponsible that they damage the standing of the US every time they’re repeated.
So how on earth can a third of Americans support him? I am utterly baffled. But here, in Brad and Linda, was my chance to find out. Because Brad and Linda, for all their peculiarities, clearly had brains in their heads. They had a fundamental level of intelligence that I expected to preclude support for the walking imbecility of Trump. I stocked up on patient observation to figure it out.
It took awhile. The first clue came when they suggested that Trump disclose who he’d put in his cabinet. “For example he could put The Black Guy in charge of medicine.” I wasn’t sure who they meant until they remembered The Black Guy’s name. “Carson, Ben Carson.”
The Black Guy? That seemed odd. Nevermind the idea of having an Attorney General with peculiar opinions about pyramids.
But better understanding was close behind, in a story they told about their daughter. “Well, we found out she was dating some guy, you know, with a funny last name. So we put a stop to that of course.” I didn’t ask which ethnicity that funny last name belonged to. Didn’t matter.
It wasn’t that they thought Trump’s policies were strategically sound. Or that they figured a terrible businessman with a track record of fundamentally un-American values and actions would be a good leader. And it wouldn’t matter if I pointed out the contradiction between the statements “I like him because he says what he means” and “I don’t worry about his crazy comments because he doesn’t really mean most of what he says.”
They were just racist. How terribly disappointing.
Racism like theirs isn’t an opinion, or an ethos, or a belief structure. It’s just a moral failing. A default of the intellect and human spirit in favor of small-mindedness and a refusal to address actual problems.
And as I watch Trump “talk to black voters” in a way that is clearly NOT talking to black voters, but a bullshite attempt to convince white voters that he’s not a racist (click here), it’s just so…sad. Maddening. Vile. And still televised.
So in the end, I am no closer to understanding how anyone with a brain could possibly support Donald Trump. If you know the answer, please let me know.