Let’s be clear. Whenever Donald Trump opens his mouth, I cringe. I recoil at each campaign promise. If there is a spectrum of ideals, I am as far away from Donald Trump as one can be. But at the end of the day I understand his appeal.
I get it.
He doesn’t pander to the left. He doesn’t pander to the right. He’s doesn’t seem beholden to campaign contributors who advise and look on in horror every time he opens his mouth thinking, “You can’t say that!” To the contrary, the more outrageous his rhetoric, the more support he garners.
I get it.
Americans are tired of hearing campaign speak. They’re tired of hearing life-long politicians campaign about issues that don’t affect them directly. They don’t want to hear about foreign policy and over there, they want someone to tell them how they’re going to make their mortgage payment and afford a tank of gas over here. They want answers to their problems. And they want someone to blame for those problems; anyone but themselves.
So let’s blame immigrants, homosexuals or Caitlyn Jenner. Let’s blame Muslims, big business, small business, Planned parenthood or the Democrats. Let’s blame Ted Cruz. Let’s blame Hillary Clinton. Let’s blame ugly women, welfare cheats, or President Obama. Let’s hold everyone else accountable for what is wrong.
Donald Trump has succeeded in finding the perfect scapegoat: Everyone else.
Americans are, understandably and rightfully, frightened. It’s a scary world right now. When planes are getting bombed out of the sky people don’t want to hear We will stand strong. People don’t want to hear, we need to rethink our foreign policy. People want someone to say “I’ll fix it. I’ll make the world a safer place.” Donald Trump found someone–or in this case 1.6 billion someones– to blame, and he’s offered a solution. Ban the whole fucking lot of ’em.
In a country where there are so many who work full-time and still can’t afford health insurance premiums or prescription drugs or a car payment let alone college, people don’t want to hear the only way we’re going to raise money is by raising taxes. They want to hear, “There is a reason you are out of work. There is a reason you can’t afford a nicer car.” That reason, according to Trump, is the worthless, immigrant who is scamming welfare. Trump has offered a solution: Build a wall. That’ll show ’em.
I get it. He’s offering tangible in a world that usually offers waffling abstract.
So maybe, just maybe Donald Trump is the best thing that could happen to America right now. Because maybe, just maybe his popularity will force a dialogue not only between political parties, but Americans themselves. Because right now that rift between those who believe that a wall or a banning an entire religion is going to solve the problems of the United States and those who don’t? It’s getting bigger and bigger with every poll, with every primary, with every day.
The folks out there who want that wall, who are campaigning and donating to get that ban? The ones who are screaming ‘burn the motherfucker” at rallies? Those people aren’t going anywhere. And they are just going to get angrier and more desperate. And that is way more frightening than a Trump presidency.
The American people are far more adaptable to change than the politicians they elect. The majority of Americans identify as pro-choice. The majority believe in marriage equality. More Americans identify as secular than ever before. Yet somehow the country keeps electing politicians who tell us otherwise. Politicians who keep wasting money and time on making sure that transgender teens in South Dakota have to use a specific bathroom or that bakers in Georgia can refuse to bake a cake for a gay marriage or that a woman who requires or wants an abortion, a legal medical procedure, has to jump through fiery hoops to get one. Politicians who keep trying to get ‘back’ to a certain way of life that never was, or if it was, may have been good for some, but certainly not for most.
So maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump is the wake up call the US needs. Maybe his candidacy is the reveille needed to get political asses out of bed, and more importantly, to wake up the rank and file Americans who elect them. Maybe Donald Trump will stir the pot enough that folks will stand up and say, enough of this, we don’t need anymore of this. We are dying. We are killing ourselves with drugs and guns. We are struggling to make ends meet. We are going under while the rich use our bloated corpses as stepping-stones to get even richer. We are looking for a world in which to raise our children in safety. We need real change. What are you going to do for us?
Shit, or get off the pot.
Donald Trump’s gold-plated, blinged out version of change is not the one I would choose. It’s not the one I will vote for. His version of a Great America is not the same as mine. But there is no denying the United Stages is balanced on a tipping point.
As the divide between YOU and ME, THEM and OTHER gets bigger, as the rift gets deeper, the only way to begin to fix things is to offer up a series of solutions that are going to work toward healing a country that is slowly strangling itself. And it’s going to have to be a solution that includes all those who support Donald Trump as well as those who don’t. Otherwise we haven’t learned a thing. We can’t keep blaming everyone else without turning to the mirror and taking a good hard look at what is staring back.