Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14, 2016--And Now For Something Completely Different


I was hoping my friend would write something for me to post referring to our on-going discussion about the presidential election. Guest-blogger Sharon has done so and done so persuasively. 

I added a word at the end indicating where I feel we still may have some differences. 
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As a devoted reader of "Behind," I believe it's important to acknowledge the VICTIMS of Donald Trump and many of his supporters.

His and their targets now comprise such a long list that I can sum it up by saying it's anyone who isn't an old school white guy and the women who love them. Oh yes--and anyone who challenges Trump.

I think too much space has been devoted here trying to legitimize support for Trump including those that the economy actually has left behind. The more I see of this group, most should be left behind. But you might say, but some of these folks are such nice people!

My question- if most of these people are just looking for a better life for themselves and their families, why wouldn't it have been enough for Trump to run merely as an outsider with business experience and omit the bigotry, xenophobia, authoritarianism, threats of violence, misogyny and racism?

And are my neighbors in an adjoining county of Virginia, one of the richest in the United States where Trump has drawn big crowds, among the suffering?

Trump's views are so different than Clinton's that if this was truly about change and a new path versus the status quo he could have made his case on policy differences alone.

But the real story is that he's been a magnet for the haters--both overt and covert. His daily rhetoric, often incoherent, has been a victory for the crazy right and is turning decent people into supporters of behavior they would normally reject in their children.

It's also no surprise that although not without his women loyalists, if only women voted this year, according to Nate Silver's polls this week Hillary would win the electoral college 458 to 80. Trump's core followers are mostly white men who want to turn the clock back to the 50s. They are losing power and this is their last gasp. Trump would like to turn the clock back to 1930s.

Then there is this: "Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been verbal targets on the campaign." (Southern Poverty Law Center)

I personally experienced the impact of Trump's rhetoric this spring when a young Muslim woman, a working wife and mother, said to me, "I guess I could wear an identifying badge if I had to." I was embarrassed and appalled and started to cry. And remembered this had been done before. I reassured her that the majority of Americans are good people--someone like that could never win the nomination in 2016.

I tried to assure her this couldn't happen here. But it has. And the lies and conspiracy theories are only getting worse as a madman thinks he has nothing to lose. So in the face of the endless big lies, quibbling over whether the Times caught all of Hillary's misstatements misses the point.

This week I heard an account of increased hate crimes against Eastern Europeans and especially Polish workers in the UK because "the outcome of the BREXIT vote gave people the confidence to do so." One 40-year-old Polish factory worker was beaten to death in August.

Let's not give the haters here a chance to make things worse. Let's save the country and the world first and worry about holding Clinton accountable later.

Though I agree with virtually all of this, we do have some disagreements--especially the claim that I have been attempting to "legitimatize support for Trump." In truth, I have been attempting to understand with empathy (even for the "haters") what is motivating them to endorse someone such as Trump who is so reprehensible. 
I worry about the ugly and increasingly violent bifurcation in America and continue to feel it is essential to get behind the hot rhetoric and reduce the stereotyping in order to find ways to heal some of our breaches. If we cannot find a way to do that, the long term consequences are nightmarish. Thus I will continue to write in the same vein and hope my friend will also continue to do so as her comments are always challenging and welcome.

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