Jim Firth: Hillary was wrong, but …
Hillary Clinton suggested that half of the Donald Trump supporters came from the “deplorable” baskets. As a candidate for president of the United States she should know that a comment like that will create immediate blowback, and it did.
Donald Trump managed to bring a new set of voters into the electoral process during the Republican Primary contests, and to many people’s surprise, actually won the Republican Presidential nomination. The new voters Mr. Trump appealed to certainly make an impact on the outcome, but who are they?
Many “pundits” have described them as angry, older white people. I’m white, and I’m “older,” though not exactly angry. I have my complaints: too many drugs in society, not enough equality in employment opportunities, educational systems that are being privatized and going bankrupt, climate variances that interfere with the routines of outdoor activities that make living in California and western Nevada County so special.
It’s not as if these new voters didn’t exist before. They work, raise families, go to church, play by the rules for the most part, but during the last decade or two just haven’t been able to see significant improvement in their lives or the advantages that previous generations might have enjoyed. They didn’t cause the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, they didn’t create the “Great Recession” that President Obama inherited, but they have had to struggle with the results of both. They’re not really conservative or liberal; they hadn’t even belonged to a political party. They’re not super rich, and they’re not “taking advantage of the government,” except maybe for Medicaid and food stamps. They live their lives, try to get by, try not to cause others pain.
However, every once in a while these otherwise decent people may find their world disrupted. It could be something as inconsequential as spending a family weekend at Rollins Lake, when suddenly a family from out of the area arrives at the neighboring campsite, and the decent family chases them away with a shotgun. It could be a family from Yuba City enjoying a family gathering at Condon Park, and a local group of young people being outraged that “their” park is being invaded. It could be grandpa and grandma taking their grandchildren to breakfast at a local diner and whispering to each other as an obvious tourist couple enters the restaurant, how “out-of-place’ those people appear in this establishment. Their grandchildren are hearing these comments. I’m not making this stuff up; these otherwise decent people live in western Nevada County.
Donald Trump has tapped into this “populist anger” that regular Americans have been trying to understand for 20 years. He, and he alone can fix it, or so he says.
The Orange Man has arrived to “Make America Great Again!” Nevermind that the details are sketchy, the costs unknown, the so-called policies unconstitutional, the Orange Man says, “Trust me. What have you got to lose?” If that argument is enough to persuade you to vote Orange, and enough people actually do, then I believe this country will never again be a place where people can come to practice whatever religion they choose, enjoy reading an uncensored newspaper, utilize their God-given talents to pursue their dreams, be offered a quality public education, or live in a democracy where we can choose who our leaders will be.
The Orange Man admires “strong” leaders. Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Vladimir Putin have all been described as strong leaders. So were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
For me, the kind of leader I want to vote for on Nov. 8 is smart, experienced, diplomatic, caring, tough, sympathetic, and understands that the divisiveness that has occurred over the last 20 years in our country can be reversed by creating a foundation of fairness, equal opportunity in jobs, housing, health care, exemplary education that begins essentially at birth, and recognizes the true value of every American and what she and he can contribute to the collective improvement of our society.
That’s why I support Hillary Clinton for President in 2016.
Jim Firth is past chairperson of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee. His opinions are his own, and mostly not those of any organization.
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