That may explain why I cannot understand why he would attract a single vote.
That bothers me. I am out of touch with a powerful movement.
I know there are disaffected citizens in my home country that are in pain, that feel many backs are turned on them, who feel dismissed as ignorant bigots who do not deserve a hearing.
But, that many?
And why turn to a candidate of such low moral character? A man, who, to my ears, is full of empty promises?
My early choice, Bernie, also captured fans from the discontented, but with a difference. Feeling the Bern is all about ideas; Bernie himself seems the least egotistical politician imaginable.
As a writer and a human who struggles to connect, I recognize this longing to be seen and understood. Both Bernie and Trump supporters yearn to be heard. They feel alienated not only from their government, but also from the old-style communities that have faded away with small town America—the church down the street where everybody knew your name and the family dinner table.
Yet nostalgia masks the dark side of the old fashioned small town: exclusion of many who were different, refusal to acknowledge evils. The commentator who responded to Michelle’s words about waking up in a house built by slaves with “but those slaves were well fed” recalls my beloved Kentucky-born grandmother’s reminiscences about the Old South: “We loved our slaves; they wanted to stay with us after they were freed.” She was born in 1886, too young for this to have been first hand memory—probably passed down as family history, maybe even learned in school.
I knew she was wrong about the slaves; God alone knows how many other tainted truths I swallowed whole from my family and culture.
From this moment, I resolve to look at my fellows with un-shuttered eyes, to try my best to quench my lifelong snobbery about brains and culture and all the appurtenances of my privileged white, liberal life, and pull those thorns from my heart.
To wander in the fields of flowers, pull the thorns from your own heart. Rumi.
For a novel solution to an alienated citizenry, read Arthur Waskow, rabbi and activist, who proposes ways to rekindle closeness—grants to form community groups, sponsor community art projects—a promising route. Waskow post
Many thanks to reader and friend, Marianne Koerner for nudging me to keep blogging.