A message to President Trump’s supporters

  • President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Central Wisconsin Airport, Thursday, Sept. 17 in Mosinee, Wis.  AP PHOTO/EVAN VUCCI

Published: 9/21/2020 3:08:39 PM

I want to speak to the Trump supporters out there. Not all the Trump supporters, just the hard core: those of you who stick with him, no matter what he does or does not do as president because your tie to him goes much deeper than policy.

I want to say to you: “I get it.” I get why you are angry about things, and why you would vote for a president who channels your anger. Like Donald Trump, you feel that, as a person, you have not been properly respected or appreciated. You feel that you have been short-changed — that others get more attention, more recognition, and better treatment than you do, and are given greater rewards for their efforts and abilities.

There are many Americans who feel the way you do in all walks of life. You are forced to sit by while certain people grab center stage, getting all the attention and all the rewards; meantime your voice is not heard and you go unrecognized. These people are always running the show. Donald Trump has called them out, and you love him for it: the “professional politicians;” the so-called “experts” (scientists included); the over-educated “elites;” the “swamp-dwelling” influence peddlers; the ivory-tower intellectuals. Like Trump, you believe these people’s view of their importance is over-inflated. They act as if their opinions are the only ones that matter, and the “fake news” media indulge them.

You resent these people, whom you regard as the ruling class. Their bigness makes you feel small. You have been given messages that you are not as good as them — maybe because you don’t have a college degree, or use lots of big words when you talk, or your job involves manual labor. Or maybe your work is physically strenuous, or exposes you to high personal risk, but you get no respect or appreciation for what you do. Or maybe you live in rural America and no one cares what becomes of your family farm or your small town where the good jobs have gone away. In all of these cases, you have been made to feel “less than.”

I am genuinely sorry if this is a burden you carry. You are not wrong to be angry about this kind of treatment. No person should ever be looked down on, or made to feel “less than,” for any reason. And every person deserves to be treated as important in our society, to have their needs recognized and attended to and their opinions heard.

Having acknowledged the wrong that has been done to you, I can also recognize that Donald Trump represents a golden opportunity for you to even the score. He has the power to publicly act out all the anger and resentment that you mostly keep to yourself. Trump’s enemies list includes lots of over-entitled folks — elements of the ruling “elite” — who are out there behaving like they are better than you. Trump “speaks his mind,” and he puts these people in their place. He tells them he knows what’s best for America, not them. Trump also turns a deaf ear to all those protesters who grab after media attention, screaming about “rights” for this group or that, as if their group’s problems were the only ones that matter!

But there’s trouble ahead. Donald Trump may speak for you, but he doesn’t really care about you or your voice. Trump supporter or not, he will be quick to turn on you if you say something he does not want to hear. Just look at the number of Trump appointees in his own administration who have been banished, right after they disagreed with him. And look at how quiet his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill have become, after he savaged those who dared stand up to him. He has belittled federal judges, and ridiculed senior-level military. Trump will run over anyone who gets in his way. His ultimate goal is to become the only voice that matters—in the room, on the news, in our government, in our country.

If Trump is allowed to stay in power and achieve his goal, what will America be like then? Will your voice matter? Will you even have the freedom to speak your own mind, or will the only voices allowed in public be those that echo Trump’s words? Something to think about.

Walter Earle is a resident of Shelburne Falls.

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