[Blogmeister’s note: This person asked me via e-mail to make this a blog post and to sign it with his real name.]
Solidarity Through Trump
It was a seventh grade Catholic school girls basketball game in suburban (middle-class, white) St. Louis.
A man sitting behind me and in the next bleacher section over was yelling – intemperately – at the action.
Pretty soon I could pinpoint his daughter. She was one of the better players on the opposing team. But she was clearly ill-tempered for a 12-year old. And the father was riding her … and some of her other teammates … hard. And she would get irritated with her father … but then play so much more determinedly. I had a passing thought, “I wish I could motivate my daughter like that.” But I sloughed off the thought: “She will be pregnant at 19 and hang around dive bars the rest of her life.” The father’s speech pattern, demeanor, and overall deportment – but not his accent – marked him as what we call around these parts “a Hoosier”. A “hoosier” is a perfect word that few outside of St. Louis have (or perhaps have a need for). It is a description for a kind of lower-class white with certain anti-social habits. Such hoosiers are found in both the middle-class and the lower-class. Usually, one of the hoosier’s forbears would have migrated to St. Louis from the country at some point.
The girls basketball game was a closely-fought one. Soon the gentleman sitting behind us was mixing it up with everyone: his daughter’s teammates, the referees. He even mocked the opposing coach who had called a timeout just before one of his own players sunk a 20-footer. Our fans were starting to mix it up with him. Normally I would react to this situation by engaging the man. First staring at him to get the measure of the man. Then cutting him to the quick with my superior wit and oratorical skills. (All the while avoiding an actual fisticuff, which I would most assuredly lose.)
But this time was different. I didn’t say a single word to him. I didn’t even turn around to look at him (so I never saw his face actually). Maybe I clapped a little harder than I would have normally when our team made a good play. But that was all. I even tried to shush the other fans to keep from a riot from breaking out.
Why did I react differently this time? I had a new consciousness. I realized this was probably a Trump voter.
I had spent the weekend before campaigning and phoning for Trump. I had been eating, sleeping and breathing Trump. My best “customers” for Trump were a group of bikers. They begged for a Trump T-shirt that they would wear regularly, (“we don’t mind pissing people off”).
Conversely, I came to the sad realization that no one in my family (except my wife) would be voting for Trump or would even be able to understand my voting for Trump. I realized that I would not be able to reveal my Trump support to my friends, neighbors, co-employees, co-religionists… anyone in my milieu. Despite this being the “Land of the free” where diversity of opinion is supposed to be a “strength”. Despite the fact that this man is odds-on favorite to become the next President.
I backed off from harpooning this guy because I felt that it was time that we treat “hoosiers” with the same special care we treat Asians, blacks, Hispanics, transgendered cross-dressers and all the rest. Give this man a break! He is, after all, white. And Catholic. And he has the good instinct to realize that a man with “sharp elbows” is not necessarily a bad thing. I came to this realization … which you might classify as a quintessentially Christian one … not to say ‘Raca” to your brother, especially … not to stir up contention …. be a peacemaker … by and through Trump.
Meanwhile, anyone who has ever eaten couscous or had a sip of white wine … be they Democrat or Republican.. including everyone in my family, will be voting for Trump’s competitors.