The Real America

While many are appalled by Donald Trump, I find him strangely comforting and familiar. Trump has been a part of me since childhood, a part that has developed and deepened over the decades. Trump is what I expect to find when I travel fifty miles outside of my insulated, lily-white town that has just enough Jews to make me feel safe. Trump is what I expect to come pouring out of all the churches I had seen as I drove through America’s Bible Belt. Trump is what I expect to come pouring out of a Louisiana parish, a dirt poor Texas town, an upstate New York village.

In the Jewish imagination, the one that has been pumped into my head by my mother, my father, my rabbi, my aunts, uncles, cousins, countless books and movies, the Jew is always a visitor and his presence is only tolerated, never accepted, and that the toleration can end at any time. It doesn’t matter how many pairs of cowboy boots I have, how many Stetsons, how many times I’ve been to the Grand Ole Opry. This is all pretend. America, to me, is a narrow-minded, Christ-loving, anti-Semitic, racist, misogynistic thug. This is the America of Trump. It’s the real America. The one my mother warned me about. The one that’s been living in my imagination for over fifty years.

Originally published at on September 21, 2016. Minor edits were made on March 29, 2017.