Two or three days per week, I jog three and half miles through my neighborhood for exercise. I live in a neighborhood of mostly white professionals, and have enjoyed good relationships with all my neighbors for the past twenty years. As I jog through this neighborhood in which probably the majority of my neighbors identify themselves as Republican, I’m heartened by the fact that the Biden/Harris lawn signs out number the Trump/Pence signs by about 5 to 1. And yet, I’m more disturbed by the fact that twenty percent of them still support that man in spite of the almost daily physical evidence that he is leading the country off a cliff. I know at least two of the people with Trump signs personally, and I know them to be smart, above average intelligent, rational people and yet they still support Trump in spite of the mountain of evidence that says they should not.
It would be easy to conclude that the reason for their intransigent support of Trump is due to their only source of information being Fox News and the rightwing crackpots responsible for most of the editorial content of that organization, as apposed to the facts broadcasted by every other major news outlet that is not Fox News. But knowing these people as I do, that’s not enough to really explain what at this point can only be characterized as an enigma or some kind of in explicable phenomena. At this point, like almost everything else in this chaos we are living in, I don’t think anyone can truly explain why that by now, it’s not a forgone conclusion that Trump and all his enablers in congress and state legislatures across the country will not be kicked out of Washington and the statehouses on November third by record landslides. We can only speculate, as I am about to do in this post.
I have deduced from the information I receive from mainstream news outlets, including Fox News that Trump supporters are a coalition of three groups. Those three groups are racist white supremacists, the evangelical religious right and nationalists. I estimate that the white supremacists represent about 20% of the coalition and the religious right another 30%. The overwhelming majority of 50% or more are nationalists. They are not motivated by racial hatred or religious dogma. Instead, they are motivated by the belief that their ancestors took this country for their benefit and they have a right to be the deciders of America’s destiny. In their minds, the fact that close to 99% of their group is white is merely coincidental. They are, unlike many of their coalition, willing to allow people of color assimilate into the mainstream as long they go through the lengthy process of acceptance they perceived their ancestors went through and achieve their prosperity through the hard work of healthy competition. They believe they can regulate the intake of racial minorities so that third generation and above white Americans will always be the majority in the United States.
What appears to be completely lost on them is that the entire concept of the hard working white American, achieving success on his own, without the aid of government or any source other than his own family and friends is a myth. Prosperity and progress of the American family have always been built on a foundation of violence and slave labor in various forms. Government was designed to exclude anyone who was not white from participating in the American dream. No matter how hard their forbearers worked, it paled in comparison to the hard work of people enslaved by the institution of slavery itself or the neo-slavery of the Jim Crowe apartheid, where even the bitter fruit of such labor could taken away by any white man with an ax to grind.
The dilemma for the Republican nationalists is that they cannot begin join the majority of Americans in addressing what’s really ailing America without first recognizing the flaws in the values that form their self image. Without that, they cannot let go of this idea that someone is trying to take something away from them. God or the universe or something outside of ourselves is trying to teach us through COVID-19 and economic devastation it is creating that all humans are equal. Wherever people find themselves living together, they are all breathing the same air, drinking the same water and eating the same food. Humankind can no longer survive by purging itself through war periodically and reducing the population to more manageable levels. In today’s world, we can only survive through mutual cooperation and understanding. At least if Biden and the Democrats win the Whitehouse and Congress, we can begin the process of healing and reconciliation and at least have a civil dialog about all of our concerns and grievances. Anything less and America dooms itself to a slow and painful death.