The past three days I have been traveling across Pennsylvania. First was a visit to the Flight 93 Memorial, then onto Farmington, PA (southwest corner of Pennsylvania) to overnight. Next on to Fallingwater (Frank Lloyd Wright designed home) and then in the afternoon to Kentuck Knob (another Frank Lloyd Wright home). That evening and the next day was spent in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This swatch of middle Pennsylvania displays almost exclusively Donald Trump signs, something I am not used to seeing in Philadelphia.
In fact, I am at a loss to understand how anyone can be a Trump for President supporter. His nature and life preparation seem totally unsuited for public office at any level, let alone President. On top of Trump’s qualifications, his basic platform (coupled with the Republican Platform) seem so out of touch with average Americans actual needs. How could anyone be enthusiastic about Trump or the GOP?
Now, back to my travels. The local people were terrific, kind and helpful. They possessed no horns or tails and their eyes were blue, brown, or hazel. Just normal.
These middle and western Pennsylvanians had their own political beliefs, and it would appear these beliefs were not mine. Never the less, their hospitality and willingness to perform their jobs in no way reflected any disdain for someone not a nearby neighbor.
What strikes me as important about these observations begs the question, why is the political discourse so much like Agamemnon?
Why do the political parties imply that the sun may not rise tomorrow should the opposition candidate win?
Why is it that the political parties are so content to make the election a black and white subject with no room for fact filled policy discussions?
During my recent travels, I did learn a lot about a great architect and two wealthy families who had the wisdom (and the money) to retain his services, a plane load of average Americans who said no to hijackers, and a conservative farm oriented city quite at peace with being the home of a key turning point battle in America’s Civil War. From my perspective I met Americans quite content with their lots in life and in no way representative of the vitriol I hear from close supporters.
Yet all the Trump/Pense poster I saw represented sincere supporters of Donald Trump. How could, otherwise normal friendly Americans feel so moved?
The truth probably lies in how people form their beliefs. The Civil War Memorial offered a hint. Both the Constitution and religious teachings should have convinced Americans in the 1850’s that slavery was both immoral and against “all men are created equal”, yet Americans were deeply divided over slavery. Where’s the logic?
Once one considers, as many did, that negroes were not equal to Caucasians, and were in fact inferior, then it is easier to make the leap that “all men are created equal” does not include negroes.
In a sense, I suspect, a similar type of logic is at play with ardent Donald Trump supporters who by day are contributing community members while still carrying a Trump sign. Forget about experience, temperament, or public policy. Forget about the impossibility of “building a wall” or deporting 11 million, forget about repealing Obamacare and leaving millions without healthcare insurance. Forget about snapping ones fingers and global terrorism will disappear or that the US can bluff Russia or China into actions favorable to American interests. Forget about tax cuts design to benefit wealthy as on the pathway to a stronger US economy and good jobs galore. And forget about dozens of testimonies and a video tape of Trumps views about women.
Trump supporters simply have to make the mental leap that he is different and he can make their life better.
America will get an imperfect 45th President come November 8, regardless of who wins. Whether it will be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, will be revealed in time.
What I do know is that the people in middle and western Pennsylvania will be as hospitable and welcoming as they are today. They will be so much the same, yet so different.