They drove to Washington, D.C.
Sunday, January 29, 2017 9:58 AM
One of the most interesting items from the inauguration coverage on Friday, Jan. 20 was this. On more than one occasion, there were breaks to reporters out in the crowd. In the two or three of these I saw, the reporter was incredulous that the person(s) being interviewed had driven from (Nebraska), (Houston), (Mobile).
All this did was reinforce for me that the Washington/New York/Los Angeles crowd does not yet “get it.”
The folks who got Trump elected don’t fly on airplanes. They live in “flyover” America. They work and work hard for a living.
It was a big deal for them to drive to Washington for the inaugural, but by golly, they were going to go see their president get sworn in.
Now, how likely the wealthiest presidential candidate in the history of the country was able to persuade them that he is looking out for them is for historians to examine for the rest of time. Yet, he did, and they believe he is going to deliver for them.
The population breaks down into three sectors as I think. There are the conservatives who want to live their lives independently of most government interference and are comfortable being accountable for their actions. There is a fairly large group that is too clueless to give much thought about government. Then there is a large group that needs and wants government protection from their mistakes – some of us call them liberals.
I think this election was the first time in my lifetime that conservatives, almost by themselves, affected the outcome of an election. One might argue that conservatives won in 1980 and 1984, but I’ll suggest a number of centrists helped them out in those two cases.
Yet, the interesting matter here is that the conservatives elected a candidate who is not a conservative and a candidate that is extraordinarily wealthy. He connected with them because they identified with the points he was making.
Also over inauguration weekend, there were protests. I have tried to figure them out, but I can’t. I have figured out this, about the protests: These protestors were talking to each other, not the entire country. I’ll bet the number of people who voted for President Trump who paid any attention to the protesters could fit in my basement. I’ll bet the number of people who voted for Trump who were swayed by the protesters could fit in my bathroom in my basement.
So, where do we go from here? We are all talking past each other. One side’s view of the subjects the other side holds as true are views of skepticism. No news source is trusted any longer (blame the reporters and editors for misunderstanding their roles). This leaves us all a bit panicky.
What is the collective way out of the dilemma in which we find ourselves?
The last time we were so divided was in 1861. It took a war to bring us together again, and then it was a patched repair. The Democrats fought bringing the country back together (they were the ones who left to start with) and the Republicans finally lost interest and gave up (marked by the election of Rutherford B. Hayes).
It seems like the last time we were united was in our parents’ and grandparents’ time – during World War II.
We are in a situation somewhat like a divorce. We pick at each other just like people during and after a divorce. However, there are matters in even in those times that can unite people that are otherwise fighting all the time – just watch how divorced parents behave when their child is injured or sick. Yes, they may try to outdo each other on lavishing the care and sympathy, but at least for the moment they are not clawing each other.
That may be what it takes. It just may be that we have been so wealthy as a country for the last 70 years or so that we see no existential threats, that boredom has set in and we have relieved this with picking on each other. And I certainly don’t see either side moving much in the near future. We don’t have a uniting cause.
Yet, it could be this uniting thing is closer at hand than we realize. While we have been fussing and fighting among ourselves, there have been two asteroids of a size to do serious damage to the earth fly between the earth and the moon in the last three weeks. This is way too close for comfort, folks.
Maybe God is throwing rocks at us, attempting to get our attention. If He keeps practicing, one of these days he may not miss – and then it will be like your mother used to tell you: “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.