Middle Class Rural…I saw a Trump win miles away
I come from a very long line of hard workers. My great aunts and uncles, as well as my Grandmother, were farmers. They had a million dollar egg business which kept chugging along until they were physically unable to continue.
My grandfather and father are coal miners. They’ve spent their lives underground, in the dark, dank crawl spaces which harvest those chunks of black rock which powers most of our land.
Most of my work hard for success and even harder if you don’t first succeed have passed. As of 2016 all that remains from that blue collar mentality are my Grandmother and Father. I’m going to revert back to a simpler time, 2000.
At this time in my life I had just turned 18 and was quietly brainwashed over the past 4 years while delivering morning papers. How do you ask? I was a music junkie but paper delivery hours were “talk radio” time as my step-father controlled the dial. I grew up on Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Neal Boortz, and the likes of countless other radio talk conservative pundits. Come election time things started to get a little tense. I proudly told my family that I’d be voting for George W. Bush in my first ever election. By the look on their faces or the tone of their snarling words, you’d have though I was the reincarnation of Judas Iscariot.
Phrases such as, “you’re going to take away my pension” or “he’ll strip me of my insurance” were thrown around quite a bit. I grew up a Democrat when I was younger. I remember almost crying that Dukakis lost George H.W. Bush. Maybe it was this turn-around and FU of my upbringing that brought them to this irate state but either way I seemed to have crossed a line.
Fast Forward to 2008 and I was a different man. I was a consumer of news, a reader of books, a husband, a father of 1, a Union supporter, and a corporate lackey. I’m still a corporate lackey but we’ll get to that later on. I broke down my friends who were Democrats only years before to switch sides and join me in my mission of Truth. Hell Sean Hannity told me it was my duty to wake up my neighbors, my co-workers, my friends, and my family to the lies spread via Liberal media and the threat of Islamic radicals!!
Needless to say, 2008 was my watershed voting moment. Once again I was on the wrong side of the fence. My step-father couldn’t believe his ears when he heard I’d be voting for our first ever black president. The first question, where did I go wrong? The second question was posed through subtle undertones and questions through out the campaign, “how could you want a black man in office?”
By the end of Obama’s first term my Dad went on a warpath. Obama was out to kill the coal mines!! He wanted to take his job away and so many others. How could he hurt the blue-collared men and women that have bled blue for so many years? People in the area were in such a roar surrounding the “War on Coal” that an editorial piece in which I was randomly interviewed and stated “The War on Coal is a myth.” supposedly prompted 3 random calls threatening to burn down my Father’s house due to my thoughts.
Let’s now move to more recent times. After the emergence of Trump and the political conventions had ended my town turned Red. It wasn’t surprising but the amount of support for Trump/Pence was astounding. At one point I was one of only three people who had a Clinton/Kaine sign and I won’t lie, I was a tad afraid of the backlash. My father and I as well as other family members went back and forth surrounding Trump’s rhetoric, the global warmth “hoax”, and Crooked Hillary. In many of my talks I needed to take the High Road because there seemed to be so much vitriol towards Clinton. As time wore on though I saw another side come out of so many though. People who I believed to be tolerant or in some accounts “non-racists” all of a sudden started to spout hateful words that they hadn’t always said. The other half of the supporters talked Trump as the second coming of Christ. Two very different views of the same man, bringing out unbridled emotion on both ends of the spectrum.
I saw the writing on the wall, PA was going to be a Red state unless the city dwellers came out in droves, because rural America had their man. I was a minority in my political beliefs 16 years ago and here I was once again in the same situation but with a much different tone. A tone that was soured. Was it because many areas of rural America aren’t what they used to be? Was it because technology killed our manufacturing jobs? Was it because there’s so much talk surrounding threats, death, illegal immigrants, and the rest that White America is just so shaken? I think it’s everything rolled up in to one and Trump allows them to unleash all of these misgivings.
Now that the election is over and we’ve been given or next President-Elect we’ve see troubling actions from both sides. The right says “look at these young idiots. They protest for what? They’re destroying businesses and are acting exactly as they said we would. Who’s in the wrong now?”
The other side of the coin sees groups of Junior High children chanting “build that wall” to a group of Latinos in class. We see headlines of the KKK celebrating a Trump win. We see a section of America reverting back to a time before the Civil Rights war was won.
It’s all a bit crazy right now. I’m just a hard-working white collar Christian from a small rural-esque town. I have a big heart and am bombarded with empathetic thoughts and feelings to where it is paralyzing. I can only imagine what it’d be like to be a minority in such a troubling time. I’m despondent just based off my thoughts and beliefs. I don’t see the world as a person of color and can only try to understand the thoughts that have run through their heads in recent years, months, and now days. I’ll pray that things don’t go the way they seem to be.
Here we are. We’re in the dubbed “Trump’s America”. Most people reject that moniker currently, stating that he isn’t even the President yet, but winning the election was all that was needed to turn the page. The tide has changed and America is starting to look different. From underlying tones of racism to defiant acts in the face of Americans, hell … human beings based on their skin color.
I’m just a rural middle class white guy. I won’t lose much. I’ll lose hope. I’ll empathize with my friends but I won’t be affected by this world in the same way a woman or a person of color would. I’ll pray, I’ll speak out, and do what I can but unfortunately I saw the writing on the wall. Numbers are numbers and polls are polls. People will say one thing and do another. Trump wasn’t “supposed” to win.