I just returned from a visit with an old friend. We were coworkers at Visa Credit Card, many years ago. We have maintained our friendship even though we are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. People often ask me, how do you do this? I have to admit, sometimes I do not know. But, this trip gave me a glimpse and insight into our political divide and possibly why our elections are not the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice.
I have read over and over that the poor, white, working class are those voting for Trump and his minions. That they are disillusioned and blame liberal policies for the fact that they are now poorer than ever. My visit opened my eyes to a new reality. It is the white, middle class, college educated that are putting Trump and his followers in office. Let’s call this demographic “WMCCE”. They vote in high numbers. But, their rationale for voting this way is different than that of those with less money and education.
“Make America great again.” WMCCE believes that America was great during the 1950s – a golden age to which we must return. I grew up in the 1950s. It was no golden age. Women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks certainly did not think it was a golden age. Though my friend states she is not a racist, it is buried in the DNA. Also no mention of how the middle class grew and prospered because of unions creating a living wage and good working conditions.
WMCCE believes that homelessness is caused by liberal policies. They have no understanding of how there once was a safety net that has for the most part disappeared. They also do not understand how our present global economy works. They do not understand that jobs that were once here are gone forever.
Then we come to Roe v. Wade. To WMCCE this is just an aspect of constitutional law. They see this as a normal and constitutional act by the present Supreme Court. When asked why a woman in Kansas is not entitled to the same rights as a woman in California, the answer is that it does not matter, this is what the Constitution states, this is a state by state decision.
Now for how we get our news and information. Research is not a WMCCE function. Though educated and able to read complex material, they do not seek additional or varied material on any subject. They also do not ever say the words, “I don’t know.” I witnessed my friend and her husband many times tell me something that sounded like it could be true, but seemed off to me. Small example, Oregon does not allow recycling of any glass bottles or jars or cans other than soda, it all goes in the landfill. When I got home, I Googled it, and found it is just a municipality decision, many other municipalities in Oregon have full recycling programs.
As the voting population ages, I can only hope that a new generation can step up, that they can examine, research, and begin to bend our moral universe back toward justice once again.