Free thinking or simply Machiavellian….?

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  Told me he was in favour of guns and expressed surprise to learn that Trump/Sessions repealed the law that forbade certifiably insane people from buying them.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…… 


24 thoughts on “Free thinking or simply Machiavellian….?

  1. Very, very complex issue that you raise here. A small part of it must be priorities because he knows the Trump mythology in a narrow selective slogan type framing but other stuff seemed to leave little lasting impression. The news media often prompts listeners to disregard what they are about to say with expressions like, “This is in the weeds,” or this is ” Inside baseball.” People are cued to turn off their thought processes and become inattentive. Amnesia seems to be a valued trait otherwise folks would see how shallow Trump is.


    • I think so, too. Trump has such a track record of being nuts. How do you ignore that?
      I think Trump is also the ultimate salesman-narcissist who thinks he is better than everyone else. But then again, I vote differently than Dale. Dale thinks Trump’s salesmanship is enthusiasm and commitment to doing the right thing. Dale thinks Trump cares more about his country than he does himself. Dale believes what he hears on his TV. Dale has drunk the Kool-Aid.
      OR………….I have……………..?


      • The media in the USA spends about two percent of its time devoted to broadcasting news, but it is mostly feel good stuff like boy sees colour for the first time. Wonderful as that is… on a scale from North Korea launches an ICBM to kitten rescued from tree, sadly it’s the cat rescue videos that seem to get the most eyes. My hope is that the Canadian media’s reporting of the newsworthy aspires to a higher standard but daily the puerile reporting beggars that thought.


  2. By gosh. You sure get around. From chemtrails to US politics and you’ve only been back for a day?
    I do agree that travel (and communicating) is very enlightening. I remember backpacking in Mexico during the ’60s. It turned out a colleague and I had both been in PV at the same time, except he’d never got off the cruise ship!! .
    Didn’t have much to communicate about! I much prefer the Dales.


    • I prefer the ‘Dales’, too. Even if I disagree with them. I have all sorts of weirdo friends whose lifestyles, beliefs and politics I do not agree with but, when you look, they have ‘humanity’ and all sorts of good things goin’ on……hmmm…that might be the way I see you, JA. Don’t think I will ever get past your ‘starting’ the vacuum cleaner……


  3. Interesting subject matter. I am an almost 65 with slightly younger wife that thinks about escaping to a quieter simpler life for retirement, but question if too old.
    Anyhow as far as Trump goes, watching him on the tube, I have asked myself many time whether Rob Ford had somehow taken over Trump`s body.


    • Book 2 (Off the Grid Reflections) tries to answer that question, Charles. NOT published for a month or so. Bottom line: too old to build from scratch by your twosome but not too old to live the lifestyle. I am 69 and don’t feel limited in my lifestyle at all – mind you, I am accommodating aging all the time (just looking at putting together a powered wheelbarrow which I do NOT need yet). Plus, it is cheap-like-borscht. I urge you to read the book (of course, I do) and, hopefully, the decision will be much easier to make.


  4. maybe a good time to get a new dog,,,?? I wanted to post a link to a recent essay by Rachel Cusk, it’s published by NYT so I nocando,, copy and past, give it a google JDC and followers, superb thinking and writing.


        • Hi Aldo;
          Thank you for the article. The decline in civility so evident might be countered by being polite when faced with emperiousness. Being endlessly kind as we have seen with “sunny ways” sometimes is like blood in the water as the sharks circle. Some see a patsy.


          • My thanks, too. Great article. But I disagree that being ‘civil’ in the face of rudeness is laying down. As a mediator, I was obliged to show civility but also to show unmovable neutrality so that the bully did lose face but did NOT win anything either. When the ‘fight’ is ignored, it is usually neutralized and the bully and the victim simply get on with life. Or the mediation in my case.
            I have some great mediation stories.


  5. A few years ago I read a book entitled “Deer hunting with Jesus”
    The takeaway from the book was an understanding that the culture of many of the southern US states is
    A fear and loathing about learning.
    People who educate themselves or have been educated are suspect.
    And the stats say only 36%of Americans have passports. International travel is not seen as desirable.



    • I am surprised to hear that it was that low but it seems to be showing up that way. I know people in Arizona that know OF Canada, but have no idea where it is. I don’t get it? Why is stupid Bubba cool?


      • Every one has one’s filters that one often thinks of as a BS detector. Lately with the trumpeting of fake news and the claims of a dishonest media, retreating into one’s silo with its ‘alternate facts’ appeals to the core group of the Trump indoctrinated trumpites.


  6. Your story about the cab ride made me shake my head and smile.
    I have friends that have never traveled.
    Stayed in the town they were born in and worked hard at very demanding, technical jobs. Offered employment elsewhere for better money…..scared the crap out of them. They got busy, family, bills, life… I guess.
    I drop in for a visit and its like the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days”….we talk about old times. Whos divorced, who’s dead, whos still around.
    Stupid they arent.
    Uninformed….painfully so.
    They talk about “muslim hordes” invading Canada as if its gospel because “its on the internet”.
    I laughed when one of them raved about “The damn women in their veils”….I said, “I’ve lived in Vancouver , a city of over a million people for over 35 years and seen two……and one of them was giving her husband supreme sh*t !”
    I visit but the old saying, “You can never go “home” again..” Is very true.
    Some people grow intellectually and some people dont.
    Is it stupidity or laziness?
    I dont know but it makes for painful conversations about world events……


    • Oh, and the “porn hack” also made me shake my head and smile……
      I’m thinking the “drooling Hillbillie” demographic visiting your site increased exponentially…..?


    • I agree. I think the blame lies with the media and government. And the schools. Because of the nature of their roles in society, they offer a dystopian narrative of history and a caricature of ‘others’ and it frightens people about people. I understand fully that there are bad people and bad places and, worse, real nut bars (ISIS) doing really, really bad stuff. But the vast majority of the world’s population are peaceful and hospitable. Put me in the worst place in Syria or Afghanistan or inner-city Detroit or Ciudad Juarez and I’ll be fine. I’ll get out quickly, of course, but the people I will meet will be good. They’ll be the first to advise me to ‘Get out, sir! It is not safe here. I would get out if I could.’ Am I 100% sure? Yes. 100%. Why? Because people still live there and, if it was as bad as they say, they would not. If the restaurants and schools and market are open, it is still MOSTLY safe. And, if it is mostly safe, then MOST of the people are good.


    • stupidity or laziness,,,???
      many folks missed out on the “curiosity gene” I think it’s that simple,, I was blessed with extra and I attribute all the good things that have been mine to that simple fact


        • I suppose that could be so, let’s get going here. When are you going to get a new dog, and when is this book, we keep hearing about, coming out on kindle,,,???


          • Thanks for asking, Aldo. A bit of a delay, I am afraid. Two beta readers have dropped out. They didn’t like it,. I knew philosophical stuff wouldn’t be a hit but it was what I wanted to write so I am reviewing it to tighten it up. Ideas , thoughts, reflections are not appealing stuff but, if done, should at least be readable. And, I was hoping, it would be helpful. Feedback says NOT. So, I gotta trim and cut more. We were aiming for April 1 (seriously) but now May. This book-monkey is sticking to me like epoxy.


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