Tuesday, May 09, 2017

May 9, 2107--Jack: Feeling Good While Getting Screwed

"For months I didn't hear from you and now all of a sudden you're calling all the time." It was Jack.

"There's so much going on I can't wait 'til you get here."

"Soon enough. Soon enough. But what is it this time? I only have a few minutes." That was not entirely true. In advance, I was preparing an excuse if I had enough and wanted to get off the line quickly. I wasn't in the mood to hear from Jack about all the things Donald Trump was accomplishing.

"I think this one will interest you."

"Is it about how the spring has reached the Midcoast and that Rona's garden is showing signs of life?" I knew that while we were away quite often Jack would walk over to our cottage and sit on the back porch looking out at the bay. We liked the idea that he was there keeping the house company.

"I can just see some of her early blooming perennials beginning to break through."

"Are you at the house now?"

"Yes. I love being here before any of the seasonal people begin to arrive."

"So you called to talk about Rona's garden?"

"Not really. I wanted to pass along something I heard from one of Trump's supporters. One even you would think is smart. Gerry is his name. He's educated, runs his own successful business, and reads everything."

"I think I met him once or twice. What's up with him?"

"He came out for Trump at about the same time I did. Going on two years now."

"That doesn't speak for his being smart." That just slipped out.

"I'll ignore that," Jack said.

"So what is he saying?"

"He's been trying to figure out why so many people in general, not just Trump people, will put up with their political representatives lying to them, not fulfilling their campaign promises. Including your people who lie to you. Think about Hillary and all her lying and even Obama. He didn't tell the truth about Obamacare. You can keep your doctors and so on. But you forgive them and from what you've said voted for both of them for president. And you don't hold them to the same standard you hold Republican politicians. This is Gerry talking."

"I'm not sure I agree. I voted for Hillary, yes, but knew she was all too comfortbale stretching the truth. And worse. When it came down to the two choices--her and Trump--for me it was an easy choice."

"But if she was elected some part of you would feel good, even be excited."

"That's true. I don't look for ideal or perfect. These people are human beings after all and have many of the weaknesses that pretty much everyone has. But for me there's no comparison between Obama and Hillary and Trump."

"This is all obvious stuff," Jack said, and I couldn't disagree, "But here's what Gerry is into gets a little more interesting. Some of this may surprise you coming from him and me."

"Go on."

"If you promise not to quote me, him and me are pretty disillusioned with Trump."

"Really?" I was totally surprised by this. For many months I've been hearing from Jack nothing but how wonderful and amazing Trump is. How he knows how to get things done. How he's shaking up Washington. How he's figuring out how to deal with North Korea. And of course how he's going to fix healthcare.

"But if you'd listen to the two of us talking about him and if you follow the polls which show that 98 percent of the people who voted for him would do so again, regardless of how they might feel now about his lack of substantial accomplishments, you'd hear people feeling pretty good about how he's doing and how they are thinking about themselves with him as their president."

"I'm sensing that on my own. How people are hanging in with him. And in general feeling good about him. I mean his people. Not people like me. I think he's a disaster. And dangerous."

"Again, nothing much new about this. But now let me tell you what Gerry said," he raced on, "A lot of us who are modest, working people know we're getting screwed by politicians. Pretty much by all politicians. Even ones we voted for and continue to support. In the spirit of the lesser-of-two evils. Let me take that back. We vote for the people we vote for, Trump included, not because they deliver for us--better health care than Obamacare or do things that generate jobs, good jobs, of deal with illegal immigrants or the opioid epidemic, which is out of control up here in Maine--we vote for them because they make us feel good."

"I'm not sure I'm following this," I said. "You know the people you vote for don't tell you the truth and don't deliver for you--that they really represent rich people and big corporations--and yet you keep voting for them because they make you feel good?"

"Yup. It's as simple as that. Like the way we all turn to things that distract us like movies and reading and music and TV and sports and hobbies because they bring us pleasure. Being for Trump is like that. We enjoy him. Even when he does stupid things. Sometimes because he does stupid things and how to us those things are also in their own way entertaining. We just simply like him. Even people watching MSNBC or CNN who are liberals and well educated tuned in to see what he was up to. And not just to find things to criticize."

"Can you give me an example of that? I mean stupid stuff that brings you pleasure."

"Like in the campaign when he came up with nicknames for Hillary--Crooked Hillary--or Little Marco or Lyin' Ted or Pocahontas for Elizabeth Warren. Why do you think record numbers watched the debates? To see Jeb Bush? Or Rand Paul? Trump blurted out how he'd lock up Hillary. That was ridiculous but funny. And it's easy to understand why people enjoyed him-- because he wasn't scripted and was liable to say anything. Some of it disgusting, others of it amusing. A lot of its both."

"I get the primaries. But now? He's our president for God sakes and that's different. It's no longer a reality TV show. And even as you and Gerry are willing to admit he's not doing an effective job, from your perspectives, it's no longer fun and games. This is serious business. Healthcare, war and peace, the environment, our kids' future."

"It runs deeper than mere entertainment. Again, this is Gerry's point. Trump makes us feel good in a deeper way. To feel good about being Americans. Sorry, but we want to be great again. In many ways we were greater in the past. For a lot of aging men, we don't feel good about the fact that since the Korean War we haven't won any of the wars in which we were engaged. That doesn't make people feel good about themselves. Nor has the quality of our lives improved. Economically we and our children are falling further and further behind. We need something to feel good about. Hillary's 12-point plan to fix the schools doesn't do it. All the USA, USA, USA chanting at Trump's rallies should tell you something. I mean about how he makes us feel."

"And for that you're willing to look the other way when among other critical things it comes to health insurance and maybe getting into a shooting war with North Korea?"

"Again, if we're going to get screwed no matter who gets elected it's better to vote for people who make us feel good about ourselves. I'm repeating myself and I know you have to go."

"I do."

"See you soon at the Bristol Diner. We can pick this up over coffee."

"I'm not sure I want to."

Jack just laughed.
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