A road trip took me through some of the backcountry of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia last week. I wasn’t at all surprised to see lots of Trump bumper stickers and vitriolic signs suggesting that the name, Hillary Clinton is synonymous with Satin. According to many political pundits, we’re supposed to view support for Donald Trump among hard working blue collar types as a reflection of economic insecurity.
I don’t buy it. Support for the most bombastic demagogue ever to run on a major party ticket has less to do with economic insecurity and everything to do with the culture war the GOP has been cultivating for decades. To serve the needs of the rich and powerful Republicans have been telling less educated, less cosmopolitan folks for years that liberal elitists, people of color and immigrants are going to destroy their way of life. It worked so well that it was only a matter of time before an unstable, egomaniacal autocrat like Trump took up the GOP snake-oil selling scheme minus the restraints of common decency.
This election is a defining battle between two segments of American society that have been on a collision course ever since Tricky Dick Nixon came up with the marketing line, silent majority. Demonizing the government, the educated, science and all those people who are passionately committed to social justice has turned the party of Lincoln into a circus of malcontents, bigots and autocratic fanatics of one kind or another.
It cannot be a coincidence that this defining battle for the soul of America is happening in the waning days of the final terms of this country’s first President of color. The way Trumpees see it simply and succinctly, this is a showdown between us and them.
The Trump legions arming themselves figuratively and literally for this battle include:
religious and cultural conservatives who see their beliefs and values being spurned by more cosmopolitan Americans
incensed bigots who feel threatened by a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness
people for whom patriotism is a tribal label not a commitment to any ideals or particular values
gun owners who believe there is no such thing as reasonable legislation to control gun usage and sales. Any restriction on guns is a direct threat to their identity and sense of self (aka, fears of castration)
people who find democracy very challenging and messy and would frankly not be all that put-out if an autocratic President who shared their values and prejudices put civil liberties on hold until we figure out what’s going on.
people who are intellectually and culturally intimidated by and fearful of: climate change, strong – educated successful women, changing ideas about sexual orientation and gender roles, people of color, immigrants -legal and not, immigrants and people of color who are better educated and economically more successful than they are, people who insist on defining complicated social and political problems in simplistic ways, e.g. angry, unhappy minority types should be shot or imprisoned, -we don’t have to address their concerns. If cops shoot “them” too fast and too often, “they” probably deserved it!
Case and point, meet conservative Christian pastor Dave Daubenmire who wants you to know that the Bible says that men cannot be ruled over by the lesser gender, women.
The theology of clergy types like Daubenmire remind us that the greatest threat facing America today isn’t from radical-Muslims, it’s from angry, militant white Christians who won’t accept living in a country that isn’t as homogeneous in culture, values and lifestyle as their church membership roster.
Of course Daubenmire is not the only holy-roller goose stepping down Hypocrisy Boulevard in making the claim that in spite being a lifelong liar, adulterer, misogynist, and unethical business person, Donald Trump in their candidate for President. Other marchers in this parade include: