I might be better able to handle Donald Trump, more willing to give him time to mess up on his own, if it weren't for some of his followers.
I used to rent a room from one, and I've met several more through my job. I went to a concert with one last fall -- before I realized he was a Trump-backer. Before that I thought he was just a rock and roll fan like me.
Some of these men -- and they're all aging middle- or lower-class white men -- are even more disconnected from Reality than Trump is. And they think he's going to be their savior.
All these men think there's something really wrong with America -- something that's been wrong for years. They look around and see minorities getting breaks they were never offered, getting help they never asked for, getting opportunities these men squandered when they were younger -- and they think that's wrong. They think Trump will help get them all the things they never had or were too lazy to go after. Trump will balance things out, give America back to real Americans.
Trump will make America great again. And put aging white men back in charge.
One of these guys came into work last night, threatening to run over protesters in Seattle if they get in his way when he's over there today. I told him nobody'd get in his way, he didn't need to worry. The only protests were a week ago, after the inauguration.
He said "There are protests every day in Seattle. People are setting fires and damaging businesses -- and the liberal Media LibTards won't cover it."
I called bullshit on this, asked him where he heard this. He said his brother lives in Seattle and sees this rioting happening EVERY DAY.
Now, Seattle-area media's pretty solid -- and I've never met a reporter who WOULDN'T cover a riot if there was one going on close by. So I don't know what to think, except that this guy's deranged. And so's his brother. Of course I could be wrong. And then I started wondering about how much I don't know and never hear....
This guy said he'd already talked to the Seattle Police about his intentions toward LibTard protesters. Well, at least the police know he's coming....
Back before the election, I had another guy come into the store late at night -- in his 60's, heavy, tired, grumpy, probably a little achey. While I was ringing up his purchase, he started announcing: "You know, Donald Trump's gonna make this country great again! He's gonna take us back to when things worked RIGHT! You know, like when kids could pray in schools!"
And I wanted to ask: What year was that? Because I started school in 1965, and we sure weren't praying then. And do you know any schoolkid who'd make a prayer any more complex than "Oh God, please let me pass this test"? Or maybe "God, please don't let me get bullied again today."
I wanted to engage with this guy, but I let it go -- because I could tell by his ANNOUNCING that he was just looking for someone to argue with.
My old roommate and I used to argue for HOURS about the world's problems, and about which political party could best help the country tackle them -- or whether either party made any difference, whether it was too late for ANYONE to rescue the country from its many difficulties.
If my old roommate could have been bothered to vote, he would have voted for Trump -- because Trump was in favor of all the things my roommate went on about: Put women back in their place (at home, in the kitchen), no more breaks for minorities and immigrants, too many people on food stamps, too many slackers getting free food and money when they've done nothing to earn it, women getting money and food stamps just for having kids, none of these slackers ever work, they should all be drug tested, etc. etc. etc.
You have no IDEA how wearying it got hearing this stuff day after day....
The guy who took me to the Tedeschi-Trucks Band concert last September (it was a present, because I notified him they were going to be back in Seattle) seemed like a rock fan just like me -- 10 years older than me, former drummer, played in bands when he was younger, partied heavily, slept around a lot, almost went to Woodstock. A big blues fan. He even still listened to Savoy Brown!
The concert was great -- but on the way home I got a 45-minute lecture about what's wrong with America and how Donald Trump's going to fix it. I didn't see this coming.
This guy was CONVINCED the Black Lives Matter people were going to kick down his door and take his guns away. SOON. And he wasn't going to let that happen -- in fact, he had a loaded pistol right there IN THE TRUCK, just in case someone messed with him.
He was POSITIVE that Trump was going to take us back to the glory days of Ronald Reagan, "back when you could feel proud to be an American." He knew Trump had the answers to all of our problems -- starting with establishing law and order above all, putting the slackers to work, and cutting off the border so those Mexicans stop taking real Americans' jobs.
I tried to be polite -- he'd taken me to the concert, and it would be an awfully long walk home. I didn't want to engage this guy, or offend him. But he kept hammering on that only the Republicans had the answers, and all the answers involved a sharp turn to the Right.
I suggested maybe if large groups of people could sit down and set aside their differences and TALK OVER our problems, maybe we could reach a consensus that would work for everyone....
"We don't have TIME for that!" he shouted. "Don't you know that blacks and Hispanics are already rioting in all the big cities...?"
Oh. I wanted to ask what happened to him -- what changed him. How he'd gone from the partying drummer who wanted to go to Woodstock, to this scared little old man who thought Black Lives Matter was going to break down his front door at any second. But I also didn't want to walk home.
We ended up shaking hands when he dropped me off, and I've only seen him a couple times since. He's had some health problems. The last time I saw him was just after the inauguration. "Trump's picks for Cabinet posts," he told me, "absolute cream of the crop. Best of the best. We are gonna get some work done."
Hey, I think a lot of things are wrong with this country. But I don't think we're going to fix it by putting guys like these in charge. Because they'll only fix it for themselves.