We finally met a dyed-in-the-wool, true-Trump supporter and believer as we were leaving Arizona. He was the cabby taking us to the airport. ‘Bout 70. Small, leathery, skinny, polite, nice, poorly dressed and ill-spoken. But clearly an ‘on-the-surface’ ordinary and decent kinda guy. Dale.
We got to talkin’ and he offered up his political views. “Time to make America Great Again. Trump is gonna shake up the establishment. Gonna help us poor folks get back on our feet. He cares about America. Obama is an African Muslim with a forged birth certificate. He created ISIS. Hillary is crooked and so is the Clinton machine. Trump has already done more in the last few weeks than Obama did in eight years.”
Well, I said, I disagree one hundred percent with you. I liked Obama. He, at least spoke well. And I don’t like Trump at all. Admittedly, I did not like Clinton either. Still, I could be wrong. You could be right. Or, vice versa….right?”
“Sure. But I think Trump speaks from the heart. That’s why he sounds a bit crazy but he truly cares. That’s what I believe. He wants to do the right thing. I am sure of that.”
Agreeing on ‘doing the right thing’ was our common ground.
And so we went on to other things. His part of the area is famous for being the sunniest place in the western hemisphere. But he did not believe in solar panels. I explained why solar panels are not too expensive when you live in Arizona and get half of the cost subsidized by a govt. grant. He didn’t like the Chinese. I told him about China and my experience with the culture. He wondered why Canadian tourism was down 40% and that the tips were lousy. I told him about it costing twice as much to live in Canada and how our dollar has dropped so even Arizona was not as cheap for us. He told me about his high cost of living. I told him about our gas and food prices vs Arizona prices and pointed out that 40% of their gasoline comes from Canada.
He didn’t know that.
He told me that he had to move in with his son ’cause he had a hard time making ends meet. He told me that Mexicans were fine people who did most of the hard work in his area. Told me his wife left him. Told me he was in favour of guns and expressed surprise to learn that Trump/Sessions repealed the law that forbade certifiably insane people from buying them. Now they can.
He didn’t know that either.
When we arrived at the airport we shook hands. He said, “Well, this has been the most educational fare I have ever had. Thank you very much. It was nice to meet you”.
As I said above, he was nice and polite. He was also working hard at 70. He was poor. He was also looking for the ‘tip’. Still, being naive by nature and sussing him out as sincere, I believed him. I think he truly found the conversation interesting. I sure did. I do know that many ‘facts’ or bits of ‘common knowledge’ I shared were news to him because he explored them with interested questions. But I am not deluding myself. He will support Trump regardless of what happens because, for him, Trump represented hope.
And therein lies the point of this blog: many Americans seem to have lost hope in themselves. Or their ‘circumstance’ at the very least. On the other hand, many ‘Mericans (it seems, anyway) do not seem to seek out more information so as to find options. He did NOT strike me as a zealot or a bigot (well, he was certainly against blacks because they burn down their own houses when they riot) but, given his miserable life, he was looking for something and that something was NOT the system or the establishment that he had lived in for the bulk of his life. His American Dream was over because it had never really started.
The truly sad part was that Dale, though no genius, was not tree-stump stupid. But, OMG, he was so incredibly ignorant of what passes for common knowledge in not only our life but also in just about any 8th grader’s life. Dale knew nothing and seemed to be content with that.
I say that ‘we finally met a true-Trump believer’ and Dale was the only person we met who identified openly that way but we must have encountered others. We did encounter a helluva lot of people in Arizona who had little knowledge of much of anything outside of the US. NOT all, of course, but that ‘local hick’, no-nothing-but what’s-on-TV attitude was fairly common.
Did it surprise me?
Not really. I have friends who have never left BC. I know a guy who has never left Quadra Island. NOT knowing about the world and having the perspective travel gives you is likely more common than traveling and learning about others. England is famous for those who ‘never left the village‘. Every country has them.
The thing is, tho: if you do not travel at least some, then your entire perspective is influenced by your family, peers and the TV station you watch. If you hang out with Bubba at Redneck Taxi and watch only FOX TV, you are programmed a certain way. If you travel the globe and read instead of watch anything, then you are programmed another way.
But, face it, both groups are programmed. It is difficult to be a free-thinker. I recommend the larger program if, for no other reason, it is more interesting and provides more hope.
And I hope this blog has helped to program you into thinking the way I want you to think……