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Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Response to Trump Supporters

I'm curious about why people continue to support President Trump.

I read an interesting Al Jazeera article that interviewed a number of his supporters.

Some of their reasons for support included the following:
  • Desire for law and order
  • Desire for more jobs
  • Right to Life supporters
  • Less expensive health care
  • Breaking down the establishment in Washington
The people interviewed were portrayed as good people, and I have no reason to believe that they are not good people. I thought a lot about their hopes and desires, and with that in mind, I have the following responses. I was also moved by an article I read about the fact that the Senate and Congress passed few laws in the past four years, and now that the President and Legislature are aligned by political group, there's the chance that more laws will be passed. The article reminded us that the passing of laws is typically a messy process that includes lots of debate and compromise 

How Can We Get Rid of The Affordable Care Act Without a Suitable Replacement?
I am worried about Trump's policies with regard to human dignity, respect, and care. I believe that health care is a right (perhaps it should be added to the Bill of Rights) and I also believe we have the potential of meeting that need by educating more people to provide health care in quality centers and hospitals. Perhaps the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but to get rid of it without a replacement that protects people's health care is unjust to those who rely on that health care. Why not improve The Affordable Care Act instead of simply getting rid of it? 

Banning Immigrants and Refugees Based on Gross Generalizations
Whenever any of us speak of others with gross generalizations, we err. No people of any race, culture, gender, geographical location, or other common tie are all the same. It's deeper than that. I am worried about bans on immigrants and refugees based on country of origin or religious background. Instead, I think we have to dig deeper and look at the statistics of health and welfare. Who in our country suffers and why? Where is our safety compromised and why? It's easy to make gross generalizations, and those statements make us feel empowered, but we have to push beyond that primitive impulse to looking deeply at the real data, facts, and information to make decisions that reflect that information in ways that support our country and its citizens. Ultimately I believe at this time in history it's important to have fair vetting processes, but to vet based on gross generalizations is not fair or just and serves to increase prejudice and unjust treatment of individuals. As a world, I do believe we have to move towards open borders eventually in a positive scaffolded way.

Law and Order Prevails
Statistics demonstrate a continual trend towards greater safety, law, and order. Trump himself has exaggerated numbers to make us the think the world is less safe. We all have a responsibility to look at the true facts in this regard. We also have to beware that many news organizations sensationalize and focus on the bad news alone frightening us and making us think that unsafe and violent acts happen far more often than they do. This sensationalism also can lead to greater prejudice and false notions. We have to speak up for fair reporting in this regard, and with true knowledge, we have to continue to work for as much safety and good living as possible. While terrorism is very frightening and horrible, the numbers associated with this are far less than common killers such as specific medical conditions and accidents. One area of law and order that we may work to repair is the number of deaths by guns that have occurred in our country. This surpasses the threat that terrorism has been. Dealing with safe gun use in the same way we deal with safe car use is one step in the right direction in this regard. 

Waging War on Freedom of the Press
I am worried about how President Trump is waging war on the media, when that is in direct opposition to our first amendment:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Again making gross generalizations about the press doesn't solve problems. Instead it's important to look at "media" with facts, data, and statistics. To discuss media, not as one, but with particular attention to media that is truth telling, relies on good research, and shares honest messages without giving into the pressure of unjust powers and influence. This whole discussion has prompted me to reach out to read a greater variety of news sources. It's also prompted me to look up experts in fields of concern to read their words and ideas. We're fortunate to have so much information at our fingertips via the Internet, and critically utilizing that information well is important and of great value to our choices and future. 

Replace Mistruths with Truths
Why would a President need or want to speak in untruthful ways. Again and again the press is fact checking his words. It seems to me that the President has adequate staffing and support to obtain accurate numbers and information. For example when he noted that he had won the most electoral votes with regard to other Presidents, his facts were clearly incorrect and misleading. His speak about a terrorist act in Sweden was similarly misleading. I don't know why this has to happen and will watch more closely to notice when it happens and why.

Alarming, Frightening Speak
President Trump speaks with seemingly disregard for the important decisions, seriousness, and leadership required with respect to national security. He appears to be callous in this regard and demonstrates little outright awareness of our country's responsibility as a global partner to other countries and people. He is our nation's leader and with that comes great responsibility to speak with measured care and responsibility with regard to important issues of human safety and legal authority. 

Russian Influence
There seems to be a terrible problem related to Russia's influence on Trump's electoral win and perhaps, deeper and even more troubling Russian influence with regard to the Republican's and Trump's leadership in general. Trump does not seem to be taking this seriously and has not spoken up to support an independent investigation of this issue. It seems to me and many others, that we need a deep, honest investigation related to this issue. 

Education for All
President Trump appears not to support a strong public school system as a vital ingredient to our democracy. He appears to speak down about education, yet he and his children have all enjoyed quality education. I believe in public schools and the track record and potential our public schools hold for a strong, well-educated nation. I believe there are too many myths and untruths that surround public education, and in the days ahead I want to read more about this in order to speak well about the potential and possibility our public schools hold for a strong nation. In Massachusetts, where I teach, we have a strong union and strong public schools--students are well educated and leading the country in this regard. I read that the Secretary of Education wants to use Florida as her blueprint for good schools which surprises me since it is not one of the top states with regard to education support and success. In the days ahead, I will think, read, and write more about this. I'm also curious about what Trump supporters have to say about this. There was no clear message about this in the Al Jazeera article, but I suspect that even Trump supporters don't want to give away their tax dollars, choice, and voice to private investors who are more concerned with monetary gain than the sensitive care and education of every child in America.  American taxpayers deserve the right to work with and on public boards to determine how their tax dollars will be used to educate children well within the guidelines of the laws of the United States. 

Choose with the Minds and Heart of Children as Your Guide

We typically do well if we choose with the future and the eyes and hearts of children in mind. If we choose well for future generations, we will choose well for ourselves. Trump's environmental-related decisions appear to be short sighted. They seem to be the kind of decisions that earn us short gains for long term losses. I think he and others in leadership should choose with their children and grandchildren's world in mind. The truth is that those with money will protect clean water and good land for themselves, and those of modest or less incomes will rely on fair laws in order to continue to access clean water and good land. The Detroit water crisis should be a wake-up call to every average American that we need good laws, policy, and oversight to protect healthy, good living in a safe environment. Ms. DeVos, our new Secretary of Education, is from Michigan. Her first call to action should be making sure that children in Michigan have safe water at school and at home. 

Right to Life
Personally with regard to abortion, I consider myself pro-education. I believe that the more educated men and women are, the greater our collective respect and response will be to the safe support of all human lives. I believe that abortion is a personal decision that relies on countless factors, and I don't believe that any woman or doctor aborts without considerable discussion and decision making. I first came to this conclusion in the 1960's when my elderly Catholic grandmother who had lived through a lot in life told me that she was pro-choice. I imagine that she had been in close contact with the difficult decisions and difficult outcomes in a society where abortion was outlawed. Instead of having laws against abortion, I support laws and policies that help every child, man, and women receive a strong education and opportunity to live good lives, lives with basic rights and needs met and lives without poverty, violence, prejudice, and despair.

Jobs

Clearly Trump supporters desire more jobs for everyone.I believe this begins with fair policies with regard to taxation, work place rules, and community support. I believe we should increase jobs in the human services, and these jobs can be payed for by increase taxation of the nation's wealthiest people and corporations. If every challenged school in the USA had double the staff and that staff better mirrored the cultures students represent, schools would improve. The same is true for environmental and health organizations. Also, I believe that investment in greening our planet is a way to build jobs and protect our environment too. The plans to uplift our country's infrastructure are positive and will bring jobs. If we do this with as much modern knowledge and positive vision for the future, we will continue to build a strong country. A focus on each community and how the government can help those communities grow and thrive will help to bring quality, safe jobs and wages to people throughout the country.

Walk the Walk: Frugality and Respect for All

Trump also needs to think about his own personal investments, businesses, and practices. As the President is he saying he'll support the average American, but living and working in such a way that his own lifestyle serves to not represent what he believes. I want to read and think more about this. 

Focus on the Important Decisions and Work of the Job

Speak of Ivanka's clothing line, popularity, and television shows does not forward our country. The President's diversions to issues that don't relate to the important work at hand are troubling. As many have said, why worry about popularity. The truth is that he won the election. Now it's time to focus on the issues and potential at hand with good strategic process and the consult of a broad, diverse group of experts in the field (not just one similar group of thinkers) to make good decisions with and for the American people.

Everyone is looking for a leader. I was not a Trump supporter, and was surprised to see him win the election. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and thought that he would elevate his speak and actions once he took office. I am dismayed, worried, and saddened at what has happened to date, but I have not given up hope that the tides can turn. I believe that everyone in our country has the responsibility to speak up and act in their areas of strength and knowledge. I am thankful to the courageous judges and lawmakers who stood up to the illegal ban on immigrants and refugees. I am thankful for the lawmakers who are researching, writing, and speaking well into the night to disprove and challenge laws and policies that are unjust and negative for our country and people. I honor all of those in any field that speak up to lead us forward with truth and good work too.


Similarly I honor the voices of Trump supporters too--there was a reason that so many voted for him and I am listening to their words. I don't believe that his supporters are prejudiced and see good work as work for only one race, gender, or people. I also caution his supporters and non-supporters to look deeper at the issues and not be satisfied with mistruths, quick judgement, and simple answers--these are not simple problems, but instead problems that demand the best of who we are using law abiding, equitable and just process. 


I want to respect Trump supporters in the ways that I support all Americans right to say what they believe, but I also want to make sure that we're all well educated and aware as we speak up and work for what is right and good for our own lives and the lives of our neighbors and fellow citizens. I will read more related to this, write, and hope that those elected to lead our country will rise to that responsibility and recognize that they are leaders of all Americans and it is their job to use their best intelligence to do what is right for Americans today and well into the future.