Why Trump Supporters Feel So Empowered
For the past few days, the news has been dominated by the seizing of the Capitol Building. We have been inundated with images and footage of what are essentially cultists desecrating one of the nations most sacred buildings. They are hard images to see. It’s hard to even comprehend that this happened in the United States. Yet, the cold reality is that it did happen. But as we move on from the nightmare that was January 6th, 2021 we must look to the future. We must now ask, what can we do to ensure that history does not repeat itself?
America will get passed Donald Trump. Whether he is removed via the 25th amendment or by more traditional means on January 20th, we will move on. One day we will all look back at the last four years and be glad that it’s only a dark part of American history. But the ideology of Trumpism will live on. Make no mistake that Trump’s radical ideas and sense of false patriotism will be found in a future politician. Just as Trump did in the early days of his candidacy, this politician too will look to take advantage of people’s fears and insecurities. While there’s not much that can be done to stop this ideology from sprouting up again, we can make sure that the same ideology that caused the seizure of the Capitol building can’t sink its venomous claws into another unaware public.
As much as we might despise the crazed MAGA terrorists that wreaked havoc in D.C. this week it’s important to remember that they’re still people. They are all disenfranchised individuals who feel that the country has abandoned them for years now. Beginning during the Obama administration there has been a growing sense of governmental betrayal from mostly Caucasian Midwesterners. For years they felt as if they were alone in their backwards belief system, and for the most part, it kept them at bay. But it was the Trump candidacy that showed them they were not alone in their beliefs. Trump not only gave them a voice but showed them that someone shared their values on keeping America from social progression.
As a result these disenfranchised people now view Trump as some sort of god-king. A leader that will take them by the hand and lead them in the fight against socialism, progressive democrats and BLM protestors. For four years this made-up cult felt comfortable living their backwards lives. Suddenly it was acceptable for them to yell racially driven expletives at anyone who didn’t look like them and challenged their belief system. Simply put, Trump gave his most hardcore of supporters an excuse to not want to progress with the rest of the country. Suddenly, social progression became political correctness, and anyone who Trump even remotely showed distain for became the opposition. So when democracy became Trump’s enemy after he lost the election, MAGA fanatics were more than willing to act when Trump tweeted:
Since the George Floyd killing, I keep thinking about the image of Derek Chauvin looking directly into the camera while keeping his knee pressed into Floyd’s neck. Even with Floyd and horrified onlookers begging for Chauvin to allow him to breath he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck. Surely the thought must have crossed Chauvin’s mind that Floyd could die and he’d be on camera. But he simply did not care. Why? Because years of Trump claiming that he was the biggest supporter of police made Chauvin believe in some demented way that what he was doing was acceptable. Trump implanted the idea into his Chauvin’s head that minorities were the problem and as long as you wore a badge you’d be protected. These are the consequences of an entire group of disenfranchised people following the lead of a sociopath.
So how do we stop this sort of thing from happening again? It’s simple really. We have to recognize that not everyone can keep up with the times. During the eight years of the Obama administration, the country progressed rapidly. Obama allowed most Americans to realize that if an African American can hold office, the rest of America can progress in various other ways. Like not objectifying women in media and understanding that we have a serious problem with systematic racism. But we also allowed others to be left behind. These people were not able to mentally keep up with the progress we were making as a country and as a result, became vulnerable to a sociopath like Trump.
I get it. We can’t expect to solve America’s centuries-old racism problem. And we can’t hold everyone’s hand during the Biden administration and hope that they’re able to keep up with social progress. But what we can do is simply recognize them. We as a society and our government can attempt to extend an olive branch to all those feeling oppressed and show them that we can be accepting, even if they stuck in their ways. President-elect Biden put it best when he explained that he’d be a president for all people. Not just for republicans or democrats. We as a society need to do the same and make it known that while we won’t accept the actions we witnessed on January 6th, we are willing to create a dialogue with them in hopes of once again becoming a truly United States. By doing this we can ensure that in four years when Trump inevitably runs for office again he has no disenfranchised people to feed off of.