I read the most bizarre thing today. We started a hard copy subscription to the Sunday New York Times just before Christmas. I love having a real newspaper in the house, but I have a really hard time getting through it. Especially when the 2-year-old takes such glee in throwing it on the floor and dancing on it.
So I had a moment today to sit and read a little bit, and I came across this headline: “Women Who Voted for Donald Trump in Their Own Words.”
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I’m pretty shaken by what I read.
I started to list examples of what these women said and why I found it outrageous, but it just felt wrong to me. Like I was making fun of them, which I’m not trying to do. I’m trying to hear them, but it is so hard when what they say just doesn’t make sense.
I also read an article about the Dunning-Kruger effect, and it immediately made me question my intelligence. Which is what it’s supposed to do, according to Dunning. It’s supposed to make you stop and think and question what you don’t know. And that’s what I was hoping to get out of reading these women’s explanations for why they voted the way they did. But the cognitive dissonance was too great for my ears, and I had to put it down.
I had a moment today, listening to WAMC, listening to The Round Table, and one of the participants pointed out that Trump says he’s going to bring us universal health care. They immediately began to debate what that would look like, if it was even possible, but I had a moment, just one, small, fleeting moment, when I felt a spark of hope. Maybe he will, I thought. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
I mentioned this to James tonight, and told him that as much as I’d like to hang on to that fleeting spark of hope, I realize that it is much more likely that Trump has no idea what he’s doing and is just saying what people want to hear. “I just want a president who’s not a fascist dictator!” I yelled in frustration. “Why is that a naive dream?”
But I realized, then, what these women found in him. For one, small, fleeting moment, they felt a spark of hope after Trump said something they wanted to hear. Whether it was about bringing back manufacturing jobs or taking care of natural-born citizens ahead of immigrants, something he said sparked hope in them, maybe for just one, small, fleeting moment. But, unlike me, they were able to hold on to that.
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