By now I presume most of you realize my political sentiments, generally lean towards the left. “Generally” is the key word here. On a few occasions, I’ve voted Republican.
Yet, despite my political persuasion, I’ve always respected and admired my GOP friends, even those who voted for the current yahoo holding the presidency. Of course, I’m not speaking now of Trump’s radical fringe, like the white supremacists and the Nazis, but rather his typical conservative base — particularly those in the Rust Belt. So, after offering these first-class Midwesterners my honest, heartfelt salute of appreciation, I’m going to devote this column to analyzing them and their current situation.
Most midwestern Trump supporters are elderly or late middle-age men and women. Unless they joined the picket lines when the union ordered a strike, the overwhelming majority of them were never involved in any rebellious and confrontational protests. (In part, that’s because the vast majority never went to college.) Instead of raising hell about one thing or another, they did what they were supposed to do; that is, they graduated from high school, got a pretty good manufacturing assembly-line job with relatively high wages, married their high school sweetheart, purchased a house, and started a family.
They went out into the world on their own, accepted full responsibility for their choices and decisions, and rarely, if ever, asked the government or anyone else for help. Everybody should respect and admire that.
Unfortunately, things aren’t going very well today. If they’re retired, they’ve quickly discovered their meager savings and Social Security don’t allow the leisure vacations and travel they’d dreamed of. They barely have enough money to cover critical expenses, like food and heat, and an occasional meal with close friends at Denny’s. And they better pray they don’t have any serious health problems.
If they’re still employed, the wages on the assembly line haven’t kept up with inflation and, consequently, the wife often goes to work—-or the husband starts working two jobs. Then there’s always the possibility they could be fired. That’s especially true on assembly lines, which are being automated or abandoned everyday. (They don’t call it the “Rust Belt” for nothing.)
Living paycheck to paycheck, along with the threat of unemployment, can make people a bit frightened and paranoid. The mortgage is coming due, the car payment as well, and the kids need school clothes. On top of everything else, the marriage may have seen better days. It seems like neither partner is much fun anymore and the hostile spats have become more and more frequent until both begin to wonder if they were ever really in love.
So, for the last decade or two, these people have been losing ground, despite the fact they’ve always followed the rules, worked hard their entire lives, and did everything they were supposed to do to be successful.
Their situation is rather tragic and sad.
They feel the America they knew has been taken away from them, but actually this isn’t the case. Rather, America’s morality and technology have changed, but these people haven’t.
They voted for Trump because he promised to being back the good ol’ days — “Make America Great Again” — and improved their position and status. Let me assure them, he won’t. They’ve been hoodwinked by a con man.