We’ve all had conversations like the one below.
Trump: I promise to build a big beautiful wall on our southern border to keep out the thieves, the rapists, the drug dealers, and other illegal aliens who are endangering and entering our country in droves.
Staunch Trump supporter: It’s about time a President is looking out for me and my family’s safety and is protecting my job from being taken away by foreigners.
Trump on the tax bill: This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me. This is not good for me…I think my accountants’ are going crazy right now.
Staunch Trump supporter: Hey, it’s about time the government gives me back my hard-earned money. My family is barely getting by on my weekly pay. Trump is keeping his promises.
Trump: We are going to adjust for inflation, which will seriously reduce capital gains taxes.
Staunch Trump supporter: I know this will help mainly the super-rich, but it will soon trickle down to my workplace and will increase wages for people like me.
Trump: I am imposing trade tariffs on countries that have been acting unfairly against the United States and have been ripping us off for decades.
Staunch Trump supporter: Though my business had to lay off some of my co-workers because of Trump’s tariffs, I know that soon his actions will pay off big time for me, other workers like me, and for farmers too.
Trump: This entire Russia investigation is nothing more than a witch hunt and a hoax. There was no collusion! No collusion! It’s something the Democrats concocted to explain their landslide loss in the election. Besides, why is Congress no longer investigating crooked Hillary over Benghazi and uranium one?
Staunch Trump supporter: Yeah, the Democrats are sore losers. Besides, Trump is making the world safer for us all by talking to Putin. We should lock her up!
Trump: All these women are making false accusations about me making inappropriate advances on them. They are all lying to get attention. And on the Access Hollywood tape, I was just talking locker room talk. Besides, have you seen some of these women? I would never be attracted to them. I’m planning to sue them all.
Staunch Trump supporter: It’s just the Democrat Party trying to smear the President. Besides, the President’s private life should remain private. I don’t care what he does on his own time. He seems like a real player, though.
Trump: You know, folks, the media is the enemy of the people. They constantly promote fake news. Except for a very few of them, they can’t be trusted. Fake news, that all it is.
Staunch Trump supporter: Yeah, they’re scum. Except for Fox News, Sinclair, and Breitbart, it’s all a bunch of lies and socialist propaganda. They also should be locked up.
We have witnessed an offensive blitz on the truth by President Donald Trump and his administration.
We have witnessed the frontal assault on the very democratic systems on which our country was founded by a candidate and then president who has called into question issues of fairness regarding the electoral process, on freedom of the press, on our judiciary, on our intelligence agencies, and on the intelligence of the electorate.
We have witnessed a candidate-turned-president with clear psychological problems bent on manipulating the economic, social and racial fears of primarily white working class people so they vote against their own economic self-interests for his unquenchable narcissistic needs and personal profit.
How long will it take for Trump’s supporters to finally realize they have been duped by this con artist who once sold them his snake oil of a campaign with disastrous consequences? How much longer will they support policies that truly hurt their own interests and security needs?
How much longer can Trump’s enablers in the Republican Party understand that they are hurting the country and sacrificing their own integrity and sense of dignity for the mere promise of some small political gains? Or over their fears of being tweeted by their Bully-In-Chief?
Maybe even more important questions are: How has the Democratic Party alienated so many working class voters whose interests they formerly championed? And, how are they going to get them back? Especially those who vote with anger, grievance, denial, and low information from right-wing sources?
How is the Democratic Party planning to present a message that will pull in voters who failed to cast their ballots in the last election and keep those who did?
The 2016 election can be viewed as a wake-up call, though, rather than a disaster. It taught us that we must remain forever vigilant and keep up the struggle for the advancement of civil and human rights for all. In doing this, we’ll secure a fairer and more equitable economic system that functions for more than only the upper 10% while working to reduce the ever-increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots.
Hope is all around us. Young people are leading the way by advocating for issues that interest and impact them – by educating adults to the facts around the issues, and by registering to vote.
Movements such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #NeverAgain, #MarchForOurLives, Black Lives Matter, #FamiliesBelongTogether, and so many others are bringing us to a future in which we will stem the increasing tide of attacks on our rights, safety and democratic institutions.
More women than ever are running in local, state and national elections who are in touch with the issues and solutions important to their current and future constituents. And people are joining with their neighbors in the streets, in city halls, and in state houses to hold their elected officials accountable.
A dictum asserts that on most political issues, some people will always stand with you, some people will never stand with you, while a sizable majority in the middle can be swayed either way.
It’s possible we may never convince the staunch Trump supporters of the dangers of this presidency, be it his policies (which change by the moment) or his unhinged and erratic behavior.
On the other hand, we would do well to talk with and inform this “movable middle” so we can stem the tide of devolution of our rights and standing in the world and back onto a path to advance our still imperfect union.