I want my friends and family who are considering voting for Trump to see the man who said “Whoa!”
Use your favorite search engine to find the video of Donald Trump talking about “Second Amendment people” and you will see a man in the background in a red shirt who appears to say “WHOA!” precisely at the moment that Trump mentions this group.
The man in the red shirt looks like a guy I used to take my shoes to for repair in the Bronx. The woman he turns to in surprise is listening intently until she hears the upsurge in crowd response, and then she laughs, apprently in solidarity with the masses. She kinda looks like my mother did for a while when “frivolous fawn” was her color of choice.
Independent of politics, independent of political correctness, independent of the Supreme Court, independent of guns and abortion and foreign affairs and who is lying and taxes and endorsements and who is right minded in this strange and scary electoral season —
The man in red and his companion scare me — every bit as much as Trump. They look like everyday people. They look like good people. I cannot know what is in their hearts, but they are probably thrilled to be supporting a man who offers something different. But even he, in the red shirt, realizes that Donald Trump has shocked with those words. And his companion seems to just go along with the crowd. THAT is the scary thing. How many of my friends and family are simply going along with their crowd?
You are walking down the street and you bump into a man who raises his fist, indignant that you have dared bump into him. He rallies other pedestrians against you. “Did you SEE that? He bumped right into me! Believe me, folks, I have been so unfairly bumped!” A lone crazy man is scary enough but you could run from him. The crowd who rushes to his defense, sure that he is wronged and they must defend him because — “Listen to that authority in his voice! Listen to his distress! We believe him!”
That crowd is harder to outrun.
I just want the man who said “Whoa!” to hold on to the feeling inside him that spontaneously made him gasp. It is oddly ironic that Trumpians who are proud of going against the grain, cannot now go against their own — now that it is becoming ever-more-evident that the man they are supporting does not in any way possess the character, forethought, balance and emotional intelligence we would hope for in a leader. He may say the words they want to hear sometimes. Often enough to capture their imaginations that things could change for them. But how does that balance against the hate and division?
Independent of politics, the bulk of his words are simply too wild, too inflammatory. And when too many people have to parse them, dissect them, defend them three ways from Sunday, he is simply not speaking intelligently or clearly to the masses beyond his always-faithful base. There is a danger in such unmeasured speech. There is a danger in dismissing and forgiving it each time.
My mother in her era of “frivolous fawn” hair would have said — “If everyone jumps off the bridge, does that mean you have to?”
End of rant. Enjoy the flowers.