Post Mortem Reflections on the 2016 Election-Who'd You Vote for? Part 2Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

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Post Mortem Reflections on the 2016 Election-Who'd You Vote for? Part 2

19 November 2016 at 10:29:08 AM

Part 1

Part 2, here, is seeking to understand why 82 percent of the voting public in Somervell County went for Donald Trump. At least part of the answer may be that the Democratic party in Glen Rose is, for all practical purposes, dead. There is a thriving Republican party, and the mantra for voters is to vote straight ticket. So there may have been a number of Republican party voters who held their nose and voted for Trump since there was no candidate they preferred. A certain percentage also voted for Trump in order not to allow Clinton to take office, but of course that is the same calculation Clinton made against Trump by attempting to demonize him. 

But there were some here that specifically wanted Donald Trump as president. Since I see Trump as incredibly flawed, a liar, a buffoon, a racist and a bigot, it's hard for me to understand, on one level, why anyone would want to vote for him. Again, I felt the same thing in reverse with HIllary Clinton, whose campaign seemed to go out of its way to attack and demonize even other Democrats who didn't happen to vote (or want to vote)  for her. 

Two premises. One is that Trump supporters don't necessarily consider themselves racist or bigoted. The second is that America did not suddently change, the racism and bigotry already exists, and has.

I believe it is a mistake to write off whole blocks of people as being racist or bigots. That's not to say that some of these people aren't, at least according to my own lights. But that's exactly the rub. What if some people do not view themselves as being bigots, due to, for example, being a christian where believing in a book trumps whether treating someone poorly counts? 

I read this about Sid Miller and Jeb Henserling, both either living or from Stephenville, Erath County. Sid Miller has a lot going against him (called Clinton the *c* word, billed taxpayers for a *Jesus shot*, just google him for the crazy). Point is that the values that the people quoted below are focused on do not put a premium on fairness. 

"I think it would be a great thing," said Susan Spann, who lives in nearby Dublin. "Texans have lots of values, and just like cowboys, so I think they would do a great job."

"We're independent, we're hardworking, we're friendly, we're God trusting," said Stephenville Mayor Kenny Weldon. "This is a place where family values still matter and there's a huge giving heart among the culture of this town."

 Sooo, bigotry doesn't apparently factor into this. One christian told me, when I told her some years back I was going to vote for a gay man to be head of the Texas Democratic Party "but he's gay". I said "So?" and she said "The Bible says it's wrong". That only applies if you believe the Bible, which is incrediibly flawed, contradictory, and yes, bigoted, should be your guide. But there are a lot of people in rural communities such as Glen Rose who do. In other words, the Bible can be a reason to be bigoted and still feel good about yourself. 

 From VOX

Most Americans, white people included, want to think that they’re not capable of racism — particularly after the civil rights movement, overt racism is widely viewed as unacceptable in American society. Yet racism, obviously, still exists. And when some white people are confronted with that reality, whether it’s accusations of racism against them personally or more broadly, they immediately become very defensive — even hostile.

“Most of us live in racial segregation,” DiAngelo told me. “Our teachers are white. Our role models are white. Our heroes and heroines are white. That insulation is very rarely challenged.” She added, “So when that reality is questioned, we don’t tend to handle it very well.”

The world we thought we had was never there. I believe this to be 1. I was absolutely suprised at the bigotry of Somervell County Judge Danny Chambers regarding prayer at commissioners court. I also have heard racist sentiments about President Obama, hispanics living in Glen Rose, and even against blacks driving through Glen Rose. I've ignored those comments because I figured it was a misguided few saying them, but I"m not so sure now. The issue is, as the writer says below, whether these ideas, whispered or kept to a gossippy minimum, are mainstreamed as a result of Trump's winning.

When I was a music minister, I hated the Sundays that fell around Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July because I knew that I would be required to include patriotic hymns. That always felt perverse to me, and I was always uncomfortable being forced to make these inclusions despite my own reservations.

And I have long been aware of America’s deep flaws, not just the historical sins of slavery or oppression of Native Americans but ongoing violations like the school-to-prison pipeline and mass incarceration.

But at base, there was always a sense in which I thought America had some boundaries. There were some ideas that could never be mainstreamed through our political process. There were traditional, if not institutional, barriers to keep dangerous people from attaining the highest office in the land.

I was wrong.....

But the reality is that the world I lost when I lost my faith was not fully real. I thought it was, and people had been telling me for years that it wasn’t real, but I continued to believe until I simply couldn’t believe anymore.

And so it is now that I, a straight, white, cisgender, progressive-leaning man, lost a world¹ that wasn’t completely fair but that still seemed to have some baseline of justice. But that world, as Greta noted in her talk, was an illusion, and plenty of people — women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, disabled people, and so on — were telling me so. And I didn’t listen

Atheist Revolution makes a point I like about whether, even with the above, one should wholesale write off people as being lesser simply because we dont' agree. 

The fact that something feels a certain way tells me precious little about whether it actually is that way. Perhaps it just seems like it is getting worse because I am less patient with much of it than I used to be. Or perhaps it just seems like it is getting worse because the manner in which our corporate-owned news media covers politics has changed over the years so that conflict is increasingly amplified. And perhaps it just seems like it is getting worse because more people, including me, are using social media and many who use it seem to do so in spectacularly irrational and tribalistic ways.

I suspect some combination of all of the above plus a few other things I haven't mentioned. I don't know whether things are actually getting worse. All I know is that it seems that way. It is in this context that I'd like to say something that is extremely controversial even though it should not be at all:

I think it is a serious mistake to assume that everybody who disagrees with me, even on subjects such as the question of which political candidate to support, is necessarily less intelligent, less moral, or less informed than I am.

 I agree. Let's assume that people have their own frame of reference for the world, that few people want to be seen as evil, flawed, bad, but that each person then must find reasons for what they believe or else ignore what is in their face. We all do, right? The Clinton supporters ignored the fact that a significant number of people not only didn't like her, but didn't like her politics, including a lot of Democrats. I could not overlook the email issue, although a lot of Democrats did. Everyone, in other words, picks and chooses which items to overlook or minimize. Whatever there was in Trump that spoke to these voters who actually did vote for him because they wanted to, not merely voting Republic straight ticket because his or her candidate wasn't on the ballot, was more important to those persons than racism or bigotry. And, for those who are evangelicial christians, and believe themselves to be good people with family values merely because of their label, some clearly overlook actions and comments that cause others of us to retch. 

But does that make them WRONG? more stupid than others? More worthy of being called *deplorable*, etc? I don't think so. I'd like to think that the same instinct that causes me to want to give the benefit of the doubt to some friends who voted Trump as not being horrible people, is afforded to me as well for being an atheist. 


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