I met a low-information voter and they terrified me
I like to go for a 5 mile run on Saturday mornings. I always run the same route that takes me past the neighborhood “Trump lady.” This is an elderly woman that lives by herself, as far as I can tell, in a small one story home along a busy road in an otherwise very liberal district.
She has sun-faded Trump signs on her lawn since over a year ago. She has an American flag over her garage and “I love America” bumper stickers all over her car. At every election round she puts up Republican yard signs.
This time around, I saw her walking her dog as I was completing my morning run. She waved at me and started talking. I pulled out my headphones. The conversation went like this:
Neighbor: Good morning! Did you see the hateful anti-Trump messages on the sidewalk by the high school?
Me: No, I live a block away, I haven’t seen anything.
Neighbor: I guess high school kids had a field day and they drew things with chalk. Something about apes, humans reproducing like a virus, global warming, and something really vile about Trump. The message about Trump had inverted letters to make it look like he is a foreigner or something. Truly awful.
We did have a few incidents with anti-Semitic graffiti in our town, so I was naturally alarmed at any hateful things being written on a sidewalk.
Me: Ok, I live nearby and I heading that way. I am going to go look.
Neighbor: I reported that to the police! I can’t believe the kids were allowed to draw such vile things. We live in such a dangerous world!
Me: All right, I am going to take a look and I will send a letter to the super-intended as well.
Expecting to see something highly disagreeable, I walked over the high school. Here is what I found:
Last, but not least:
I was a bit perplexed at the meaning of the last drawing that involved Trump. I wasn’t sure how any of this would offend my neighbor. Trump himself never said anything about overpopulation and food supply. It seems to me that a high schooler wanted to poke fun at Trump’s Twitter stream of consciousness — misspellings and all. The mockery of Trump seemed a bit out of context among scientific chalk drawings, but didn’t strike me as offensive.
It took me a day of discussions with friends and family to figure out why my neighbor would be offended by any of this. I realized that she might not only be unaware of the high school science, she probably doesn’t use Twitter and doesn’t get the humor of the last drawing.
Trump famously said in Nevada that he loves the poorly educated. This is a group of people that views mockery of Trump as a direct assault by the “elite” on their very way of life. My neighbor couldn’t understand the drawings and the humorous depiction of Trump’s Twitter usage and took them as an offense.
My neighbor thinks we live in a dangerous world because high school kids drew scientific diagrams on the sidewalk. I fear that the world is much more dangerous because of people like her. It is precisely this type of a low-information voter that ends up having a high impact on our elections.