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Where I Stand Down the rabbit hole with Trump

July 30, 2018

When Alice in Wonderland introduces herself to an unstable Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall, he replies “It’s a stupid name.”

She tells him that she doesn’t understand what he is saying. He replies, “Of course you don’t till I tell you. When I use a word,” he explains, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean many different things.” Humpty declares himself the master who can do such things.

And now we leave Wonderland for a real place called the United States of America, a land where the president tries to make a word mean different things, where up can mean down and left might mean right.

When responding recently to a question about Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, he said, for example, “I don’t see any reason why it would be,” only to change his response to “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be.” A would/wouldn’t coupling. A Humpty Dumpty point of view.

I am sad for the United States that he plays with language with impunity, that he has not kept his promises to his 30-percent followers and that they still believe in him, though many of their grievances with past leaders are warranted. The Democratic Party for a long time has not paid attention to them, especially those who live in the Rust Belt, mainly Pennsylvania and Ohio, the once strong manufacturing center of the U.S.

In fact, the Dems have gone underground, grabbing off a piece of the news only now and then when they want to voice a grievance about a Humpty Dumpty-ism. They lack leadership and do not stand for anything. One has to wonder who might be their flag bearer in the 2020 elections.

The 30 percent are passionate in their stand for Trump. It is they who wield enormous power, not only in the U.S. but also in the world. It is their support that keeps Trump with a voice that is strong enough to upset NATO and counter the stability of the European Union. They are effectively giving him a voice to meet with Putin and Kim Jon Un, for example. Without them, he would not have been elected nor continue to upset the world order. Right now, they are the power.

We have a great Constitution, yet in some ways it is flawed. Imagine 30 percent of Americans pushing the world around!

But, who are these people? For the past six months I have tried to go deeper than the generalities about them being disaffected by asking them questions. Admittedly, the sampling is small yet it put a real face on them for me. As I travel in different circles, I have access to the rich and the poor, those with an advanced education and those without.

A few have told me that they disdain the Establishment and Trump at least offers something different. One highly educated man voted for him because “I would never vote for that woman.” A few had trouble distinguishing fact from fiction. Several seemed intolerant with views that were different from theirs.

One man whom I hold in great esteem thinks that Trump is a magnificent leader. When I asked him to tell me more, he answered, “We’d be in a mess without him.” He explained that at least Trump was doing something for veterans. I found that when the issue of the president’s marital indiscretions was brought up, it meant little to them. A professor friend said, “They all do it.” Several members of a high I.Q. group told me that I was naïve and misinformed.

The underlying tone behind most of these comments seems to be one of a deep anger. It is not far-fetched to say that in their anger and disillusionment that they have turned away from possibility, and have lost a sense of the consequences of Trump’s actions.

It’s about time that the Democratic party addresses these grievances that Trump has manipulated for his own narcissistic motives. He is a man who is now trying to make friends with our enemies while making enemies of our friends. For the moment, we are, as it is said, re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We are a daily Gong Show with 326 million American participants.

As for Humpty Dumpty,

He had a great fall;

All the king’s horses

And all the king’s men

Couldn’t (or wouldn’t)

Put Humpty together again.

Gerard Brooker, a retired Westport teacher, is a resident of Bethel. He is the author of several books and has received numerous education awards.

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