Wow! Is your head spinning? Cause mine sure is. I am faced with the reality that a good portion of my fellow citizens are on board with the DJ agenda. A recent poll said 82% of Republicans believe DJ is doing a good job and is Making America Great Again. On the other hand his general approval rating is at a dismal 41%. And that leaves us with a country where 85% of us, across the political spectrum, believe we are deeply divided.
Have you ever seen so many people trying to provide an acceptable answer to why DJ won? They run the gamut of justification. Well, I think there’s a very basic reason. If you take a good hard look at the statistics there’s really no doubt. DJ was elected by white men AND women over 45 years of age. That is the basic truth of this election.
They are afraid.
A basic truth about life and the world is change. The world moves on. Times change as growing numbers begin to see their world differently. Lots of things affect that. Technology, education, medicine, culture and how people react to them all work to gradually bring change. And as that is happening there are some who embrace the progress, some follow passively in herd mode and some reject it and even see it as a threat.
To narrow it down a little, over the past 50 years or so there has been what many, and at this point a majority, of the people see as positive progress in our society. I’m thinking about civil rights, environmental protections, LGBT rights, and a lot more. Among those of us that have felt that way we saw our nation moving to fulfill the American promise of equality and freedom.
But there are others who see things way differently. They see a decline in morality along with a disintegration of their traditional way of life and values. They see this progressive movement as directly threatening to them personally and as a group. On the most extreme end you get the white nationalists and sovereign citizens and militias. But they’re really a small, but very aggressive, minority. There’s also the fundy evangelicals who claim a religion of love but seldom demonstrate it. They set abortion as their deal breaker and claim they are under attack for their beliefs because we won’t let them discriminate and don’t say “Merry Christmas”. But, again, a small but aggressive minority.
That leaves the rest. And, quite frankly, they are the scariest. These are the people you know and interact with on a regular basis in your neighborhood, shopping, at work, in social circles and most commonly in our families. People who seem to be regular folks, living similar lives as us. Maybe there’s a few of the above mentioned wingnuts mixed in and there’s always the drunk uncle or the antisocial cousin, but mostly we just see them as pretty much like us.
But lurking under the surface is fear and resentment, prejudice and self-interest. It’s the irrational idea that expanding acceptance and tolerance and giving everyone the same access to equality and freedom somehow takes away from them and threatens their way of life. And to be bluntly honest, it’s about a nagging fear that they are losing status in society, that their ways are being discarded, becoming irrelevant. It is about the privilege and entitlement and protections that they have taken for granted as the status quo that they believe are slipping away.
Till next time.