It is hard to wrap one’s head around the fact that the leader of the free world is a man of such loathsome values. A man who lies with impunity. A man in whom a significant proportion of citizens have put faith. I can’t help but believe that he is conning these people. He is a businessman first and foremost. That means he puts his own interests first. He has always been a great manipulator. I believe his goal here is to profit. And if he continues to feed his constituents’ fear and xenophobia, they will look the other way when he uses his position to make deals and/or ensure policy that help him or big business in general.
More than ever, we live in bubbles now. We naturally choose like minded people to socialize with and many of my friends have no conservatives whom they regard as friends. I grew up with my brother, Desmond, the uber-conservative, so I have always had someone there to show me the other side. He has always been very angry about it and political conversations with him go South in a hurry. More than half my band is conservative, ranging from Tea Partier to Rockefeller Republican. I work in finance, so there are a few people with whom I work who are conservative, but not as many as you might think.
A fellow blogger, Beauty Beyond Bones, liked my site so I went and visited hers. She’s a very nice woman who is recovering from anorexia and has some very interesting things to say about recovery and self-discovery and faith. She voted for this man and outlined her reasons why in a very thoughtful post. Her main reason is that she is anti-abortion, and I find that that does tend to be a deal breaker for people who think that way. If you feel that babies are being murdered, you can’t really soft-pedal that. She is also in favor of stronger immigration laws and resents being called a racist for feeling that way.
I don’t care one way or the other about immigration laws, having spent my childhood being told to get off of people’s lawns. I believe some of this stems from the primacy of private property that capitalism evokes. Capitalism needs selfishness and greed in order to succeed. Or, conversely, capitalism succeeds due to the selfishness and greed that are inherent in the human condition. There are a few of us who don’t feel like we always need to gain more stuff and can be happy with just enough, but most humans want more. For that matter, most living things want more. You keep putting bowls of food before a dog, and it will keep eating ad infinitum.
Clearly, the proletariat wants something different than what we elites want. They are scared, they want security. They have no pensions and they don’t have the wherewithal to put away the money that they will need in the future. This fear is not limited to the US. The Phillipines have elected Duterte as president, a mans who has openly called for extralegal killings of drug dealers and has bragged about doing it himself. He retains a high level of popularity.
Liberal society’s rule of law has not worked out for many of the great unwashed. They feel as though they play by the rules yet struggle to get by while others destroy their communities with impunity. While the Wal-marts of the world exploit them, they don’t hold these corporations in contempt because they provide cheap goods and jobs. The drug dealer does not.
For those of us who grew up in relative affluence and then went on to liberal arts colleges, putting aside the atavistic comes more easily. We believe in compassion for the downtrodden and want to give them a hand up. Conservatives see that as a handout and believe it just enables them. I personally believe there may be some merit in that idea but that there are a great deal of the poor who simply, due to family history, racism, mental illness, or other factors beyond their control, cannot pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Mostly because they have no boots.
I would like to be able to sit down (actually or virtually) with a conservative and just be able to lay out little pieces of what we believe in and see how many of the points there are on which we agree. I have made peace with the fact that I am not going to change anybody’s mind. I just want to see where we can find common ground.