Earlier this week, CNN conducted a panel in which they interviewed a group of Trump supporters who are still sticking with him a year after the fact. I know, I know! You hate these stories, because F*ck the Trump voters, right?
Sure, sure. I hear you, but I also think that’s part of the reason why we’re here (the other parts being racism, fear of immigrants, sexism, general stupidity, apathy, and morbid curiosity).
But I want to zero in on this one guy who said “If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, ‘Hold on a second. I need to check with the President if it’s true.’”
Trump voter panelist: "If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, 'Hold on a second. I need to check with the President if it's true.'" pic.twitter.com/4f8bXkXzhY— New Day (@NewDay) November 20, 2017
Not only did he deliver that line about Jesus, but he said that “Trump is there for the small guy, for people like myself,” and he said that he loves that Trump’s cabinet is filled with multimillionaires because “they’re not politicians,” and said that the “swamp” isn’t millionaires and Wall Street bankers, it’s “the elites that look down on the small guy.” This guy, who didn’t go to college and owns a small pest control company, considers himself one of the “small guys” that the “elites look down on.”
And I’m sure many of you are thinking, “My God, what a deluded idiot. Yet another guy who votes against his own self interest!” But I guess my first thought was, “Jesus, what did we do to this guy to make him hate us so much?” By “us,” I mean, those he considers elite, which would probably include anyone in the media, or anybody who works as a professional, or an academic, or hell: Anyone who attended college.
What did people who attended college do to this guy to make him resent us so much that he’d vote for a guy like Trump out of spite, out of his hatred of “elites”?
There’s a Ben Folds Five song called “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.” I love it because back in 1997 when that song came out, it was a huge driving force for me. It’s about a high school kid who gets his lunch money stolen and beat up on a daily basis by, you know, the “regular Joe.” The beatings, however, inspired Ben Folds to go on to bigger and better things and leave those assholes behind.
Yeah, now I’m big and important One angry dwarf and 200 solemn faces are you If you really want to see me Check the papers and the TV Look who’s tellin’ who what to do Kiss my ass goodbye
I adored that song, because I was a guy who got the shit beat out of him all through high school and loved the idea that one day I’d be able to tell all those fuckers to kiss my ass.
And that’s what happened, in a figurative sense. All those people who beat us up after class did so because we were smarter, because we got better grades, and now? Now, they’re taking orders from us, and we’re telling them to kiss our ass (figuratively: I would hope that those of you in positions of power do not actually tell anyone to kiss your ass).
We won. They lost. Fuck you!
But I think Trump is their payback. Donald Trump is the unwritten fourth verse of that Ben Folds Five song. It’s the verse where the 200 Solemn Faces rise up and tell that angry elitist to back the hell off. They hate us because we left, because we got out, because we went to college, because we became their bosses, and because we told them to kiss our asses, and now they’re with Donald Trump because they think he’s for the small guy, but mostly, because we hate him, and the enemy of their enemy is their friend, even if their friend, as Trump’s on national security advisor H.R. McMaster said, is an “idiot” and a “dope” with the mind of a “kindergartner.”
They hate us, and sometimes I think, who can blame them? I’ve seen the way that waitresses and secretaries and used car salesman and cashiers are too often treated. They’re looked down upon, or worse, ignored. Treated as non-entities. That sucks, regardless of their politics. Combine that resentment with a lack of education (and educational opportunities), institutional racism and sexism passed on from one generation to another, shitty minimum wage employment, lack of health care, and the inability to buy a home, and you have a lot of rage, which can be redirected into trying to solve the problems, or it can used to fuck over the elites, which to them is anyone who looks down on Ducky Dynasty or thumbs their nose at Two and a Half Men.
I mean, part of me gets it, too: The people who used to beat me up after class probably hate me now, and why wouldn’t they? I got out. I spend all day behind a laptop, and they’re in the same place their parents were, and their parents before them. Hell, if I wasn’t my mother’s son, she’d probably hate my guts. I have a step-father who served in Vietnam and came back and delivered letters in rain, snow, sleet or heat every day for 30 years, and he probably resents people like me enough to vote for anything that might put me in my place.
And for four years, at least, they get to tell us to kiss their asses. I’m not happy about it; in fact, I feel as powerless to stop it as I was in high school, only now they’re beating us up with their policies and their bigotry. But at least I feel as motivated as I have ever been to effect change, which I guess is the only silver lining I can offer, except to say that gloating is not a good look for anyone.