FPQ #70 is:
If you could choose anyone, past or present, and walk that proverbial mile in his or her shoes, who would you choose, and why would you choose that person?
I have been thinking about this question for a couple of days, since I read Melanie’s response that she would choose Trump and why. I thought her reasoning was good. Tonight after listening to the news of the pandemic, getting worse and more chaotic every day, and Trump’s response worse every day, I decided who I would choose:
A typical die-hard Trump supporter (such as a certain otherwise nice man in Florida that I happen to be tangentially related to)
Why? Because I cannot fathom how, after three months of the worst response by a national leader in the world to a worldwide pandemic, with over a million cases and almost 100,000 dead in the U.S. alone, anyone can actually listen to Trump and still support him.
I know that die-hard Trump supporters have been hearing for years that Democrats are the cause of all the problems in this country. The aforementioned “gentleman” has posted as much on Facebook. He states a problem that really has nothing to do with politics and then blames the Democrats. (The only thing he hasn’t blamed on Democrats is his wife’s terminal illness.) So with this conditioning, this group of gullibles is ripe for conspiracy theorists, the rantings of Rush Limbaugh and the lies of right wing media (as well as the half-truths of Fox). I understand that.
But certainly these people must be seeing what is happening all around them right now. What is happening bears no resemblance to the rosy picture Trump has been trying to paint. People are afraid because friends and relatives are getting covid-19 and some of them are dying. People are scared to go back to work where they could be exposed. Health care workers and hospitals are over-extended. Many of the Trump supporters’ friends and family, I’m sure, have lost their jobs and now have no health insurance. (Almost everyone was promised a check from the government to help with expenses during the pandemic. I don’t know a single person who has actually received one.)
Turn on the TV and they will see their “hero” Donald Trump. Every day he blatantly lies to us. He doesn’t know what he is doing. It is obvious to any thinking person that the man is completely out of his league during this crisis. First he tried to deny the seriousness of it, saying it would soon disappear. (Ignore a problem and it will go away – works every time!!) A week or so later, he was saying that the “warm weather” that would come in April would make it go away. Of course, that didn’t happen (nor was the weather in April particularly warm this year – no surprise there). Over the succeeding weeks, he continued to make one false statement or assumption after another.
My memory has never been very good, yet I don’t have trouble keeping track of these statements. So why is the average Trump supporter not beginning to have doubts about a president who can’t get the story straight and constantly contradicts himself or contradicts what is clearly happening in hospitals and workplaces all over the country?
He says he doesn’t “take responsibility” for any of the things that have gone wrong. Even if he were completely blameless, a real leader DOES carry the responsibility for the welfare of his/her country even when that leader has done everything correctly! Trump shows no sympathy, no empathy. Every time he is in front of the public, he is campaigning for re-election. About a month ago, when the CDC officials were still allowed to be present at his daily briefings, he actually had a propaganda video about how great a job he has done since January in handling the pandemic! How does this help the viewers get the information they need to carry on with their lives? If they have to stay at home, what good does it do to tell them how great their president is – why not at least show some empathy for what the people are going through.
When Congress passed relief bills, he took all the credit. He announced that everyone would get a check for over $1000 to help them through (not that that was enough, but still, it was a start), yet few people have received it up until now. He trashes the post office (which would be delivering these relief checks to people) because he is afraid of voting by mail.
He said “everyone who wants a test can get a test” and repeatedly has declared that the United States has done more testing than any other nation. In that case, why do we have the most cases and the most deaths of anywhere in the world? (And this without the widespread testing he claims we have.) Certainly some of these Trump supporters have heard stories of sick people who have gone to the ER to try to get a coronavirus test and were turned away because testing wasn’t available.
So even being indoctrinated by right-wing media, people are seeing what Trump is publicly doing and saying every day. Pence goes to the Mayo Clinic and won’t wear a mask. Trump is so vain he didn’t want to be photographed wearing a mask while visiting an auto plant in Michigan. He took it off within a short time, in violation of the company’s rules. Why do Trump supporters think this is a good thing, that it’s okay for him to put other people’s lives in danger and to disrespect the rules established in that place?
He claims he has been taking a malaria drug as a preventive measure for covid-19 (which is doubtful, but since he insists on it, I will assume he is for now), yet doctors have been saying that there is no proof that it works for coronavirus and in fact, can have serious negative side effects. He muses that maybe we should ingest bleach, because it works to sanitize our counters and toilets. Some really stupid people actually tried it after he said that. This is the thing your parents told you from a young age was dangerous to drink and kept it locked in a cabinet with child safety locks.
And now he is actively encouraging the states to “reopen” their economies and get on with normal life, even though it has already been proven that physical distancing and staying at home, and wearing masks in public, have been effective for at least containing the virus’ spread. I get it – people need to work, they need their lives back. But do they want to risk their lives and their loved ones’ lives so they can go back to drinking in bars and getting haircuts? Do they really want to send their kids to school or go to church if it endangers their lives?
So if I could “walk in the shoes” of an avid Trump supporter for 24 hours during the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, I would do it. I really want to understand why 39% of the American population still thinks Trump has handled this crisis well. I really want to know why their reality is so different from everyone else’s.