A recent Facebook post by Brendan O’Neill addressed the question: “TRUMP?! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??” He posted a list of eighteen reasons that people (he, in particular, I think) voted for Trump. Here is the list, just as he posted it.
On religious questions, reason is subordinate to belief. In fact, in many religions, rational argument is held as an enemy of the Truth. Jesus apparently said that unless we become as children, with blind, unquestioning faith, we can’t see the Kingdom of Heaven. The person who is convinced that Jesus physically rose into the clouds, for example, defying gravity, cannot entertain the possibility that a metaphor is in play. The metaphor, contrary to its purpose, directly contradicts the accepted fact: Jesus was not bound by the laws of physics. Once this “fact” is established in the mind, no amount of discussion can alter it. A thousand demonstrations that everything known in the universe follows gravitational equations will not matter. Reason and analysis will not penetrate the fortress.
Similarly, once a person has accepted as fact that Donald Trump is the answer to their personal offenses, however trivial or desperate, no display of flagrant narcissism, in-your-face examples of deviate behaviors, lawsuits settled at costs of tens of millions of dollars, or vicious diatribes directed at most groups within society will have any effect on the belief. Any analysis of the vehicle—that he has no regard whatever for facts, that he changes his spots with each audience, that he denies saying what he just said, that he has been married three times, that global climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, that his products are made in China, that he’s been bankrupt four times, that he denies ever declaring bankruptcy, that he has business deals in twenty-plus countries around the world, that he refuses absolutely to release his tax returns, blah, blah, blah—any discussion at all that involves Trump’s personal failures is held as an attack on him, while we should be locking up Hillary Clinton. It just won’t play.
So I suggest that a better approach, for both sides, is to take point by point the offenses taken by the Trump voters, find examples and explanations, and identify the real culprits. Who is actually behind these offensive policies? And how might they be successfully addressed?
Brendan’s Facebook page gives us absolutely nothing about his history, his education, his place of residence, or his interests. Nevertheless, because it is a raw, angry list of grievances, I am using it as a springboard to address the honest concerns of voters and how they motivated Brendan to vote as he did. Some of Brendan’s issues are very real and merit consideration. Others are trivial, but are indicators of offense taken regardless of actual effects on him or other individuals. The first point is such a trivial one. But other points should provoke deeper thought.
- “Trump won because you banned super-sized sodas.”
The problem here is three-fold, at least. First, who? Who banned super-sized sodas? Well, as far as I can tell, New York city was the only place in which this happened, and it was struck down by their court system as unconstitutional after a two-year battle. So, ill-advised and unconstitutional, this law barely made it into the books before it was eliminated from the books. Second, why did they ban them? The law was passed as an effort to address the epidemic of obesity. Not to punish the citizenry in general, but to help kids stay in shape a little better. And three, how do we address Brendan’s personal injury from this law? Well, if he lives in New York, we can apologize for those two years during which he had to buy two sodas to make up for the reduction in size. We can also remind him of the court decision to strike down the law. Upshot: Brendan won that battle! So a Trump vote is a non sequitur. I’m going to have as big a Dr. Pepper as I can find. Continue reading “Why Trump?”