At least part of Donald Trump’s appeal is that his supporters see him as a sort of cultural crusader, a white knight willing to use government power to defend the America of Coke, apple pie and mom. I have spent a lot of time since Ted Cruz dropped out looking for some inkling of a reason to vote for him – other than I hate Hillary! In that time I have spoken with many, many Trump True Believers to try to understand what it is that they see in him. Invariably, I get the “he’s going to ‘Make America Great Again’” answer – which to them means he will protect back-yard barbecues and fireworks on Independence Day, he will defend the Super Bowl and the World Series, pickup trucks (not knocking them, I own a carbon spewing 4 wheel drive), red and white checkered picnic tablecloths, watermelons and homemade ice cream.
I’ve never interpreted Trump’s message as racist, mostly because it isn’t – but based on my conversations with some (and I emphasize SOME) of his supporters, it is clear they do. They do see him as a protector of white, Christian, blue collar America. They note in that defense, he’s going to use the power of government to build a wall and make those damn Mexicans pay for it, he’s going to protect Christianity by blocking Muslims from coming to America and he’s going to smack those evil ChiComs in the face with tariffs to bring industry back and protect the dirty fingernail, blue collar, Harley riding working man. They say he is against Wall Street money buying politicians and he is “one of us.”
To have internalized this message is to have created a belief system, one requiring the same faith and exhibiting all the trappings of a religion.
It may come as a surprise to many who know I am not a Trump fan, but as I have said many times, I don’t dislike Donald Trump – I do; however, dislike the idea of a Trump presidency. I actually agree with the validity of the need for protection of this majority segment of American culture – because these are the very people progressives have been attacking for decades.
There are two aspects of this belief system are, to me, simply irreconcilable. The first is how his supporters can believe that a man who grew up in a rich family, received a “small” (in his words) million dollar loan to get started and has always been rich has any concept of what a guy who used to work in a steel mill or a coal mine and now has been on unemployment for multiple years because government, not the free market, shut their employers down. Trump shares very few of their values and has none of their life experiences, the only evidence he does is that he says so. Trump is a billionaire who operates in the same strata as Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Chuck Schumer and other insiders and as such, knows the big money of Wall Street well.
The second aspect is the belief that government can be used to stop the erosion of American culture without completely compromising the constitutional rights of all Americans. The issue is rooted in the word “belief.” Believing in something is an individual act and as such cannot be eliminated by walls, rules, laws, prohibition, punishment or persecution. A belief exists in the mind of the individual and no government has the ability to eradicate it. Beliefs are like other ideas, they respect no borders nor are they blocked by any walls and forcing “approved” beliefs on a populace is guaranteed to divide, not unite.
America is falling in stature, not due to economic or military failures, rather because for decades, it has been flooded with people who have no respect for the traditions of America and the citizens already here either have been taught not believe in her or have simply lost what beliefs they once held.
Perhaps Trump is being honest and does sympathize with blue collar America and he does want to try to reverse the cultural rot – but even if he is true to both in his wishes, failing at one or the other will constitute a failure in both. It is a very small needle to thread. I wish him success