Thursday, July 23, 2015

Donald Trump and the (very) Silent Majority

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is leading, or is near the top among Republicans, in most polls.  His heated rhetoric is enraging some and at least disturbing others; but if the polls are any indication, Mr. Trump’s brutally honest observations are resonating.  He is saying out loud what many seem to be thinking silently.  And though he is leading in the polls, it is difficult to find anyone who will say, equally aloud and equally enthusiastically, “Trump’s the man!”

Most political candidates tailor their messages to the broadest appeal possible especially so early in the campaign because the last thing they want to do is to completely shut out any particular demographic or voting bloc.  Most political candidates seem determined to offer a little “something for everyone” while trying to stay on point – whatever that point may be.  And political correctness having been elevated to the national religion it has become, it is very difficult to sift through so many milquetoast political speeches and determine what a candidate really means or stands for, they deliberately choosing to be so vague as to avoid painting themselves into a corner.

Not so with Trump.  He says aloud what he thinks, and it seems very likely he is saying aloud what many are thinking but would not dare speak so boldly.  There is no middle ground with Donald Trump; one will love him, or hate him – and he seems to be ok with this.  However, even as Mr. Trump seems to be mastering the polls, it is difficult to find anyone (for me, anyway) who will openly admit they are among the “silent majority” representing those leading numbers. 

Speaking strictly for myself, I find Mr. Trump’s speeches brutally honest though not quite refreshing.  Maybe I have been so thoroughly indoctrinated in political correctness to the point that I try to choose my words and turns of phrase more carefully than before.  Yet I also find for myself a voice in Mr. Trump’s observations because I am often as frustrated as he sounds angry.  I am as frustrated with a government in which I have no real voice as he seems to express.  I am very tired of worrying about how easily offended we as Americans have become to the point that litigation seems our only solution.

I am tired of being labeled as a homophobic, knuckle-dragging mouth-breather because I do not agree with kumbaya politics.  I am tired of a president who seems determined not to merely undermine some fond conservative traditions but to codify social progressiveness, that ideal being solidified by lighting up the White House in rainbow colors when clearly half the nation did not and will not agree with the Obergefell decision. 

I am not so naïve as to suggest our national borders can be completely closed without imprisoning ourselves (see the Berlin Wall), but I am not satisfied with our borders having become so porous as to render the US Border Patrol a virtual non-entity despite their best efforts.  I am tired of a mighty and dedicated US military being hamstrung in the face of such a world-wide threat as ISIS, what our president once termed a “JV” wanna-be.  I am profoundly disturbed that disabled US military veterans are forced to depend on outside sources for help because the VA has become so impotent.

I am tired of being labeled selfish and uncaring because of my objections to so many social programs that create whole new generations of social dependents.  I am tired of being made to feel as though I am not paying enough in taxes to sustain such massive social programs that seem politically designed to pit the “haves” against the “have-nots” for purely political gain. 

Donald Trump is not known for his tact or his diplomatic skills.  His public persona rubs a lot of people the wrong way, and his seeming arrogance in his “my way or the highway” attitude concerns a great many who know a president must find a way to work with Congress rather than spend a term or two deliberately trying to antagonize the Congress.  Yet we also know Mr. Trump has not spent a lifetime in politics.  He is a businessman - apparently a pretty successful one.  That success does not come from trying to be all things to all people.  That level of confidence (or arrogance) comes from having won big and lost big – all on one’s own terms.  

Donald Trump believes what he says.  Given the collective angst of a nation expressed in the poor and working-class and middle-class that cannot get enough as well as the rich who cannot give enough to satisfy everyone, it stands to reason that Trump resonates with so many who are tired of being beat over the head with a politically correct stick.  Maybe it is high time political candidates would be so candid.  At least with Trump, for good or bad, we can be pretty sure what we will be getting.

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