From Our Future
We don't know each other. But today, on the occasion of Donald Trump's inauguration, there were some things I wanted to say to you as one American to another. (I'm willing to listen, too.)
Let's get this out of the way first: I think Donald Trump is dangerously unstable, morally objectionable, and has tendencies that represent a threat to our democracy. You may be starting to feel the same way, like this Trump voter, but chances are you still feel pretty good about him.
I'll be honest about something else, too: It's hard for me to accept the idea that so many of my fellow Americans voted for somebody who bragged about sexual assault, especially when so many women came forward to say that he assaulted them. It's hard for me to accept that so many of you voted for somebody who made fun of a disabled person, who threatened to ban people because of their religion, and who maligned immigrants -- or the children of immigrants -- just because of their background.
But here we are. Like the saying goes, we're in the same boat now.
Who are you?
We don't know each other. It's possible that you come from the relatively small percentage of Latinos and African Americans who voted for Trump, but chances are you're white.
You may be wealthy. If so, we don't have much to discuss. Your vote can't be excused by fear, or deprivation, or desperation. But if you're a lower-income person, especially in a rural area or small town, your fear is understandable.
If you're from the industrial Midwest, political scientist Josh Pacewicz believes that your vote helped put Trump over the top. He wrote:
"Donald Trump won the 2016 election largely because he carried Rust Belt states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, doing especially well in small cities and towns."
Pacewicz also said:
"Until this election, this group of voters had not followed other regions' rural, uneducated whites in moving Republican. In overwhelmingly white Iowa, for example, Barack Obama swept the industrial corridor in 2008, winning 53 of the state's 99 counties and some factory towns by almost 2 to 1."
I come from a Rust Belt city myself. The manufacturing jobs that made it prosperous when I was a kid are long gone. The house where I spent my early childhood is boarded up and collapsing. Whole sections of the city look bombed out and abandoned.
Neither party has come up with a good plan for my hometown. To be honest, neither party seemed very interested in trying.
You could be thinking, "Maybe Trump will do something about that."