Sunday, April 30, 2017

Why Did Decent, Generally Moral People Vote for Trump?

Yesterday the husband and I attended the funeral services for a man who I had meet a few times - he was always gracious and friendly - but whom the husband had known for over 30 years.   By virtually every account the man was kind, non-judgmental, gave huge amounts of support to his local communities and charities.  Yet at one point during the reflections of speakers the comment was made that the deceased had been excited and happy when Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election.  I was stunned and that remark totally shifted my mood for the balance of the service which was in an affluent Episcopal Church.  This man was seemingly everything Donald Trump is not: in a long and faithful marriage, rarely focused on himself, generous in helping others, etc., yet he supported an amoral and deplorable candidate.  I keep asking myself why?   

Since November 9, 2016, I have asked myself this question many times in connection with "friends" who supported Trump.  For some I know the answer: they are basically racists who in polite company typically keep their bigotry under the veneer of civility.  One individual I have even blocked on Facebook and am minimally polite when I encounter him in public settings where I cannot avoid speaking to him. I have no intention of going to social events at his home in the future.  Yes, it will cause a stir, but I frankly do not care what he or other neighbors think.  I simply do not want to be around people who are filled with contempt and hatred towards those who through no actions of their own were born with a different skin color. This is not a matter of "political differences" as some have tried to shrug off their vote for someone vile. 

Perhaps it's my Catholic upbringing that I cannot escape even though I have walked away from organized religion at this point.  To me, some things are black and white, or good versus evil, if you prefer.  Some things are morally wrong and those who engage in such behavior do not deserve a pass just so that socially awkward moments can be avoided.  Racism is one of these things. Contempt for the poor who have suffered misfortunes is another.  

But back to the larger question.  How could decent people vote for Trump?  I'd love to hear reader's thoughts.  


bobfelton said...

I've had a similar experience of looking at people I've known for years and realizing I don't know them at all. It's not the familiar Republican/Democrat divide, either; support for Trump goes directly to character, and bespeaks subterranean mean-spiritedness. The best I've come up with is that it arises out of something we've both talked about over the years -- people pushed to the margins by change they can't understand or stop.

jmartindale said...

You have heard all the cliches for the motivation of these people to vote for tRump. Small towns in the south and midwest are dying. Shopowners cannot compete with on-line enterprises and mega-stores. Xtians fear increasing liberalization means greater sexual license--homosexuality/abortions/single mothers. The education system seems to be failing more and more of our children, and the left seems to cling to a failed system. We have been engaged in foreign battle after battle, and the left's diplomacy doesn't seem to be working to resolve intractable problems. And there is a lot of fear, fed largely by Faux News: fear of immigration changing the character of America. Fear of inner city violence and crime. And these people have concluded they need a stronger person to force everyone to behave. For me, these so-called "good people" are looking for an authoritarian leader. And the Democrats do NOT offer that kind of leadership.

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What is baffling to me is that the individual who funeral I attended was anything but financially challenged. Indeed, the post-funeral was held at what many would consider a river front mansion. Thus, the economic story line doesn't apply.

Likewise, the fear of liberalism and modernity doesn't seem to have applied. As I said, I remain baffled.