Trumpism, its soft and tender side

Misunderstood and unappreciated, reason and common sense have all but disappeared among many of Trump's followers

By Atticus Andrew

Understanding Trumpites demands, I believe, a measure of authentic insight into the "feelings" that guide their thoughts and actions.  For at its roots, Trumpism is essentially an intensely emotional, impulsive (non-rational) reaction to American culture as it has evolved into  the 21st century.

Trumpites are, for the most part, Americans who feel deeply that they were marginalized, and still are being, by the powerful social movements of the 20th century---like the drives toward civil rights, feminist rights and political correctness, plus the ever increasing value our society has placed upon rewarding higher education—Trumpites see themselves as having been mistreated by their culture and, in particular, by the highly educated and political leaders who have directed these societal transformations toward equality   As a result, deep resentment motivates Trumpian thoughts and actions.

Indeed,  Trumpites earnestly desire some kind of truly  meaningful recognition of their humanity by their fellow citizens..  Not to see that is not to see them for who they are.

Although Trump backers in general are known to have less formal education and to be more knowingly racist than Trump's opponents, there are intellectuals among them, especially among those in positions of leadership, like Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the president, and members of the Cabinet, several of whom have earned advanced degrees.

So far, there has not been made available, to my knowledge, the results of any study  that  has examined how "education" or "non education" has affected Trumpites.  Such a study would be immensely helpful, I'm sure; it would no doubt provide valuable information about all of us.

But broad  observations in the present do tend to support the notion that  well educated Trumpites fall into at least two basic categories:  one, those with strong  far-right inclinations, like Stephen Miller, a chief adviser to the president;  and two,  like those that hold power positions within the administration.

Little wonder, though, that many of Trump's better educated appointees have either resigned or been fired following short tenures, clearly demonstrating that they were intellectually at odds with the president's "dictatorial" and irrational inclinations.

We use "dictatorial' intentionally.  For as I see things, Trump's appearance of having "strength" in the face of educational elites, notably contradicting climate scientists, has led to a passionate attraction to him on the part of the Trumpites.  To them, Trump is the Messiah who can provide them with a measure of the respect and dignity they so profoundly desire.

More politically to the point: Trumpites see themselves as loyal Americans who are the most loyal to their country and to their God, which bears a real measure of truth.  For it has been mostly "he uneducated" among us who have served, fought and died for our country.

Ironically, however, present day Trumpites follow a president who seems to care little about military service and who has, several times, openly looked down upon those who have served in our armed forces.

But Trumpites forgive him.  They understand, as though asking, "Why should he have served and shown respect for a country that has ignored his brilliance and business experience?"

To staunch anti-Trump Americans, however,  much, if not most of our observations about how Trumpites think and feel makes no sense.  Trumpite thinking runs contrary to what our best educated Americas have been taught in public and private education, not to mention in the universities and colleges where they have studied and earned advanced degrees..

Nowhere perhaps are the differences between the two sides more in evidence that in how they have reacted  to the Covid-19 pandemic, which Trumpians have tried to play down in favor of returning to normal as soon as possible, while the anti-Trumpites have viewed the pandemic as a great threat to our democracy, demanding an immediate and unified national response.

As I write, the chasm between us appears unbridgeable..  But I am convinced that our differences must be reconciled if we are to continue to live out our American democracy together.

To  my mind the initiative for reconciliation  must come from us anti-Trumpites, from those among us who feel the most passionately about our country's future and who are best equipped to tackle our most pressing issues.

.Somehow, some way, we must enable Trumpites to feel good about themselves while at the same time motivating them to grow in their understanding of justice and equality

It will not be an easy task.  But we must do it.  And very soon.















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