I am not a Trump supporter. I have never been a Trump supporter. That being said, this is the time for me to be honest, and in reading this I hope that you will be as well.
I have publicly stated, as recently as a few weeks ago, that although I don’t support Trump and won’t vote for him, worse things could happen. Of course “The Donald” can say a lot in a few weeks, some of which might make one rethink that sentiment, but it doesn’t change one very important fact. Many Americans, whether they’ve said it in public or not have at one time or another felt like they themselves would want the things Trump calls for. People in America are already tired of the concern and fear caused by the actions and threats of Muslim terrorists. I normally don’t put the word Muslim before the word terrorist, but we are being honest here, right? I have said many times, that although I am well aware that most Muslims are not terrorists, we can’t deny the fact that most of the terrorists we fear today are Muslim. So when Donald Trump says we need to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, most people may say that they are disgusted by his Xenophobia and that this shows how he is unfit to be the president, but deep down many of these same people have feelings not so different than what he is proposing.
I am not making a case for Donald Trump’s candidacy nor am I supporting his proposals. What I am doing however is recognizing why he is getting so much attention and why he leads in the polls. I can’t help but remember Jack Nicholson’s speech in a Few Good Men. The speech I am speaking of is of course the very same speech where he shouts at Tom Cruise these now famous words, “You can’t handle the truth!”. Earlier on in the speech he says words that are importantly poignant in today’s political climate. In the movie, Nicholson’s character, Colonel Nathan R. Jessep says the following:
“And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.”
That my friends is why Trump is leading at the polls. It may also be why leading in the polls won’t translate into a victory at the polls later. Only time will tell, but if my assessment is correct, the support for Trump, albeit significant, is more of a statement of protest than it is a vote of confidence. There are many who support him outright and will vote for him, but it is my contention he is just that candidate who “while grotesque and incomprehensible to you” is saying those things you might be thinking “deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties”. Either that or the country is so fed up they will vote for a guy who says anything, as long as he talks tough when referencing our worst fears.
The important thing to learn from this is that many Americans are disillusioned, scared, and quite frankly distrustful of most politicians. That can, and often has been a formula in the past for a rise of extremism. The support for Donald Trump is as much a statement of protest as anything else, a statement that if ignored could very well lead to his presidency. The answer is to do a lot more than just talk about him, the answer is to provide an alternative. The question then becomes, can either party’s candidates provide one. We’ll just have to wait and see.
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