single header

If you want to comment online, use the Reply form following this commentary.

FROM MY CORNER, Thinking Out Loud Again

Howell Hurst 2020 Presidential Election, Defining Trump, People Politics, Racism

I’ve been thinking, and that’s always a dangerous occupation. Note Mr. Trump’s recent experience with it: he sees four off-white ladies’ faces in congress and Tweets they should return to their own countries instead of criticizing America.

The problem: three of them were born in America, and one is a fully naturalized citizen. So we must allocate another reason for his criticism of them than what he proposes is the problem.

Since they are all American citizens, it is easiest to recognize that all of them are not pink-skinned whites, but beige in various shades At least one is a Muslim. Except for other hidden variables, these seem to be what really concern him.

Since he rarely enters people’s psychological territory (a journey that requires the study of subtleties and nuances, not his strong suit) he leaps immediately upon the obvious and, thereby, dangerously thinks he has discovered a unique thought.

He hasn’t, of course, and the public from many sides attack him for his racism, his bigotry. I can understand this. However, I don’t think it is his racism or bigotry that is at work.

Rather, I think it is the racism and bigotry of the thirty some million Americans who support his erratic thinking. We don’t talk much about this.  But what else can possibly support his attitude toward, say, Immigrants, Refugees?

If his thirty million followers were not inlcined toward racistmand bigotry, what would explain their support of the man who has single-handedly created criminals and political radicals out of desperate people fleeing oppression in their own lands?

I believe the real problem we are facing in America, but are wary to openly discuss, is the wide gap between Americans who embrace all other people and those who only embrace people who are just like them.

The old saying is, “Birds of a feather flock together.” This is often attributed to the social attraction of like-appearing people to one another. You are either white, brown, black, yellow, or red. And so are your friends and neighbors.

But Trump goes beyond this in viewing his thirty million hardcore followers. I think he has always simply thought of them as a vulnerable market he can manipulate. They obviously were psychologically insecure people he could play with to gain more power.

I doubt he thought through what being president would be like. I believe his motivation was and is far more basic: he likes to boss people around. He likes to make them believe they are protected by his attitudes. In essence, he thinks for them. And they like that. So does he. It’s a real symbiotic relationship.

And the rest of us (the majority) who are less insecure in our psychological makeup, are left to deal with this phenomenon. Having by nature, a more compassionate view of life, we tend to be more liberal thinkers.

That’s one of our weaknesses; we tend to be too forgiving of our adversaries. The common mantra of conservatives is that liberal thinking is “weak” thinking. That argument is used often by them to start wars.

Bashing the other fellow, whether American or otherwise, the “strong” thinker embraces crude and often brutal means to attempt to solve complex issues. That’s why Trump will single out perceived enemies for heavy-handed attacks.

Am I suggesting he does not think rationally? That he possesses an intrinsically faulty thinking mechanism? That he is, therefore, an unwieldy guy to have in charge of anything as complex as a country? Is actually a danger to our well-being?

Well, yes, I am – as long as we clearly recognize that the thirty million Americans  loyal to him are the foundation of his thinking. Our problem is more difficult than Trump. It is how to swing the thirty million to a deeper understanding of what constitutes reasonable adult thinking in America.

To what constitutes the true American norm regarding how to treat all other people.

Until next time,


Return to Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.