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In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

MAKE no mistake about it: the election of Donald Trump has made me fearful. The message sent to me – a born-and-raised American son of Muslim immigrants – by Trump’s victory was that I am not welcome here in my country. This feeling stems from the openly racist and xenophobic rhetoric that came from the Trump campaign, and its wholehearted support from openly racist elements of our society. My intellectually lazy conclusion from seeing so many people voting for Trump is that all of his supporters are racist.

But that’s my point: the conclusion that “all of Trump’s supporters are racist” is intellectually lazy, if not horribly simplistic and ignorant.

So, I searched for answers as to why so many people supported Trump in this election. And my wife gave it to me: this article. It is a long read, but it is well, well worth it. The author, David Wong, explained in great detail what happened:

See, political types talk about “red states” and “blue states” (where red = Republican/conservative and blue = Democrat/progressive), but forget about states. If you want to understand the Trump phenomenon, dig up the much more detailed county map. Here’s how the nation voted county by county in the 2012 election — again, red is Republican:

[…]

Every TV show is about LA or New York, maybe with some Chicago or Baltimore thrown in. When they did make a show about us, we were jokes — either wide-eyed, naive fluffballs (Parks And Recreation, and before that, Newhart) or filthy murderous mutants (True Detective, and before that, Deliverance). You could feel the arrogance from hundreds of miles away.

“Nothing that happens outside the city matters!” they say at their cocktail parties, blissfully unaware of where their food is grown. Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you’d barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage.

But who cares about those people, right? What’s newsworthy about a bunch of toothless hillbillies crying over a flattened trailer? New Orleans is culturally important. It matters.

To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. “Are you a**holes listening now?

Wow.

I truly did not understand how bad the devastation is for so many of my fellow Americans who live in rural America. I am a city-boy, always have been. Heck, there were towns in Illinois that I did not know even existed until a job change took me to the far Western Suburbs of Chicago.

By the Beautiful Grace of the Beloved, I was spared from the worst effects of the economic downturn. But, so many people were not, and the recovery has not touched them in the least. They are still in a lot of pain, and no one has been listening to them, as Wong explains:

See, rural jobs used to be based around one big local business — a factory, a coal mine, etc. When it dies, the town dies. Where I grew up, it was an oil refinery closing that did us in. I was raised in the hollowed-out shell of what the town had once been. The roof of our high school leaked when it rained. Cities can make up for the loss of manufacturing jobs with service jobs — small towns cannot. That model doesn’t work below a certain population density.

If you don’t live in one of these small towns, you can’t understand the hopelessness.

[…]

The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I’m telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It’s not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.

So yes, they vote for the guy promising to put things back the way they were, the guy who’d be a wake-up call to the blue islands. They voted for the brick through the window.

It was a vote of desperation.

The article goes into much more detail, and I urge my readers to check it out. But it gave me a much better picture of what is really going on in America and a much better perspective on what happened in the election. What’s more, it has given me some relief. Trump’s (now not so surprising) victory was not because half of the country hates me for my race and religion (although, no doubt, a good many of his supporters probably do). It was because so many people are in suffering in pain, and voting for Donald Trump was their way of giving voice to that pain.

And this gives me – and the rest of the country – a starting point from which we can move forward. The country has spoken: Donald J. Trump will be our next President. But rather than sulk from this reality or cower in fear, we must come together as a people and work for the betterment of our country.

True, we must stand up to the bigots who now feel emboldened by Trump’s win and show them – with grace and goodness – that their hatred is not acceptable. But I still believe that we are one American family, we must all work together to relieve the suffering of anyone in this great American family. I hope and pray that President Trump will join us in this quest and help make America even greater than she already is.

 

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