Trump has expressed his standard motif of revenge against his enemies on a daily basis. His personal energy is consumed by this emotion of revenge. The only people he praises are dictators like those in Russia and North Korea because they make sense to him — they all agree opponents must be vanquished. Trump is insatiable in his hunger for praise and in his willingness to sacrifice anything that gets in the way of this agenda. His behavior is mercurial, spontaneous, generally absurd, impractical, and founded on his chronic need to either tell lies or make up facts to suit his view of the world.
What Trump’s supporters don’t realize is that they are being sacrificed as well. Trump is making promises to them that can never happen because those promises are based on an impossible older world view that has been gone for a long time now.
For example: There is no way the USA is going to return to its manufacturing heyday of the 1950s. Momentum in the 50s developed out of WWII and intensified the dominance of America worldwide in production and distribution. But that time is gone, not only because of globalization, but because of technology. The majority of jobs no longer lie in manufacturing but instead arise out of computers, robotics, and expanded educational opportunities. In 1957, 5.8% of women graduated from college and 9.6% of men, accounting for less than 10% of the population. In 2018, 34.6% of women and 35.3% of men completed a four-year degree, representing over a third of the population. These people are not looking for the same kind of jobs their grandparents held. “In 1900, factories and farms employed 60 percent of the work force. By 1950, a half-century later, those two sectors employed 36 percent. In 2014, they employed less than 10 percent.”
The data does not support the promise Trump has made to restore the old ways. The people supporting him believe what he says. But he is fooling them and doing it from the vantage point of his $160,000,000 Mar-a-Lago estate, a far cry from the two-bedroom home many of his most loyal supporters own. Why do they believe him? Because they want a dream of their own. Something like what he has, in essence. It doesn’t matter that he lost a billion dollars — he still looks rich enough — he still makes the dream seem real.
But offshore accounts and machine technology have taken away millions upon millions of jobs that once were the mainstay of the American way. And they are not jobs that are ever going to return. Trump knows this. But he doesn’t mind hoodwinking his followers, even to the extent of keeping them from seeking answers elsewhere. If he keeps promising them prosperity, surely of all people he must know how to get it for them? No. It’s impossible now.
The real dream arises out of education, out of expanded training in new jobs for the millions who would benefit immediately both personally and economically from such training, and out of the integrity of a promise that offers cooperation, service, support, equality, and compassion.
Donald Trump offers his supporters none of these things. But he has created an illusion that is desperately wanted by so many — to have the country of the 1950s back. It is what they remember, and care about. And he feeds that — he uses his followers as the audience for his own frustrations, his own wish list, his own inability to thrive personally as a human being who respects other human beings.
He does this in a loud, angry, belligerent voice, perpetually tearing down his opponents — who are almost everyone — and deeply satisfied internally by this behavior, entirely ignoring his responsibility to his supporters to tell the truth.
But here is the truth — Trump’s behavior is a reflection of an insecurity that runs so deep inside him he cannot cease its power over him.
His supporters deserve better.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” — Mahatma Ghandi