Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River: A Trump Nation – The meanest house on the block

Donald Trump is baffling Democrats and Republicans alike by winning primaries without any political experience. Until recently, his bid for the White House has been considered a joke, the Sarah Palin of this election. With his popularity rising, though, much of the country is questioning how this businessman and reality TV bully is winning over Americans.

Many of my friends have recently commented that they don’t know anyone who talks positively about Trump. And after perusing the terrifying friendswholiketrump.com, I realized way less than two percent of my Facebook friends “like” Trump. So how is he winning primaries around the country?

It’s all in his tagline: “The silent majority stand with Trump.”

At first, I thought only uneducated people like Trump. Now, I realize that’s not true. The simple-minded ones are the ones you see yelling at his rallies, donning those moronic red hats; they’re unapologetic, unembarrassed fans. The intelligent, average people who like Trump are the ones who stay quiet. I honestly think they know that Trump appeals to their baser senses, and they don’t have many rational reasons to argue in his favor.

I actually have some neighbors who I think depict the standard Trump supporter. We had just moved to the neighborhood over a year ago and the first time this older woman saw us walking to her house with our dog she yelled:

“Keep that dog out of my yard, you hear me? I’m sick of picking up dog poop. Stay away! Go on, get him out of here,” she yelled.

Now, seeing us holding a bag, already filled with poop, you think the woman would realize we’re not the people who don’t pick up after their animal. But, she was too angry to see reason. Obviously, someone had left poop in her yard, so in her mind, she had the right to yell at anyone with a dog.

If she had taken a second to stop and think, she would realize it was rude to yell at a stranger who never did anything wrong to her. But she didn’t. She had a gut reaction and went with it. Also, our Beagle/Cavalier mix is like mind-blowingly adorable, so it already says something about her that she was able to get mad in his presence.

So for the last year we have run our dog by her house every time we walk; no smelling the roses, no peeing, no strolling by that “bad” house. Other, pettier, people might have purposely gone and put poop in her yard, but that’s not our style. And though I hate to admit it, her bullying made her get what she wanted: dogs to be afraid of her house.

Last week, I walked into her house and noticed tucked away in a corner of a window a small sign: “The silent majority stand with Trump.”

Aha. I thought. It makes perfect sense. She is exactly the kind of person who supports Trump. In fact, the entire situation is a metaphor for what our country will become with President Trump.

The woman didn’t think before she first reacted to us, and even if she had, it was “with good reason,” in her mind. And thus, our first impression of her was that she was rude and brash, and though we chose to avoid her and diffuse the situation, revenge and anger were close second options.

And that is exactly what will happen if Trump takes over. Bullying will take the place of peace talks and hate mongering will be as commonplace as your morning coffee.

Sure, the sanitized, focus-group approved politicians might not be cutting it today, but a leader has to, at least, be able to play nice; a smile, a handshake and respecting other cultures can go a long way in any networking situation. When Trump is incapable of doing that the United States will be at best ignored by world leaders and at worst attacked on our own soil.

At this point, I’m hopeful. I have enough faith in our country that Trump will not be elected. I was pleasantly surprised with our country when President Obama was first elected in 2008. I thought the bigots and racists would step up to ensure we never have a black President. Luckily, I was wrong.

I hope once again that I’m underestimating this country, and we’re better off than it seems. I pray that empathy and rationale win out over anger and intolerance. Either way, I hope our new President doesn’t make us the pariah of the world neighborhood.

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