The Impossible Dream

Dr. Maya Angelou said “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

That may be all you need to know about the hard core Trumpers. Trump didn’t invent them. They were just waiting for a name; they’ve been living in the shadows for a long, long time. They know exactly who they are. We know exactly who they are. Heed Maya Angelou’s advice.

A lot has been written about whether Trumpers and never-Trumpers can find ways to communicate or at least agree to disagree. Some would be pessimistic, that it’s like having Jews and Nazis open lines of communication; or native Americans and Custer finding common ground; creating a dialogue between F.W. de Clerk and Nelson Mandela; or having a sit down between the KKK and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

A wise old friend of mine once had some sage advice for me that I’d like to convey to the hard core Trumpers. My friend told me, “Phil, don’t be an asshole for all of your life.”

And I say to the Trumpers, “don’t be an asshole for all of your life.”

You have imbibed enough cool aid to turn you into piles of beetle dung. Among many other actions, you lionize a man (Trump) who is rich but was found guilty of misusing money raised by his foundation. Yet you demonize a man (Bill Gates) who has given away $50 billion to charities and is probably the single biggest donor toward developing a COVID-19 vaccine?

To Donald Trump, I give the “Jersey Salute.” Bill Gates gets the “Shucky darn” award, another way to say “wow!” in Kansas.

That didn’t work. Maybe insults aren’t the way to open up lines of communication with the hard core Trumpers. Maybe it is hopeless.

But maybe there is a trace of hope for talking with the Trumpers who are former conservatives, less vitriolic and by most measures, intelligent. I do have my doubts about conversing with people who believe in Pizzagate, the danger of vaccines, the Obama birthers and that the “deep state” is weaponizing the COVID 19 pandemic to beat Trump in November.

Pizzagate was about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in a child sex slave ring in Washington, D.C. The birthers, championed by Trump, insisted without proof that Obama was born in Kenya. Equally farcical was the popular belief that millions of illegal votes were cast against Trump in his presidential bid and that Russia did not work to boost Trump’s candidacy.

You have to wonder if there is any hope when people actually listened to Trump hero and Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh when he told listeners that the coronavirus is “being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump” and that the “truth about the coronavirus is that it is the common cold.”

But sadly, the more moderate Trumpers, if that is not an oxymoron, are just as wedded to their twisted versions of reality as are the hardcore Trumpers.

This was never about truth and evidence but about racism and xenophobia. Trumpers are convinced the country is tilting too much toward people of color; that immigrants threaten the white power structure and the country; that their religions are being undermined by liberal Democrats; and that the deep state is working with the press to keep Trump from winning a second term.

Both sectors in the Trump universe are drawn to authoritarian leaders who will give quick, simplistic and easy to understand answers to their questions. They support a president who will point to ethnic groups as the cause of their economic difficulties. They want someone who hasn’t had to live with minorities. Supporters along the spectrum believe they have been deprived of the American dream and they want a president who says he understands the economic harm and job losses caused by Mexico and China.

And this remains as strong as ever.

Nope, talking with the Trumpers and the hardcore Trumpers seems increasingly impossible.

And now for something totally unrelated but entertaining.

A glossary of slang by state.

In addition to the “Jersey salute,” there is the “Jersey pour” where a bartender fills the wine glass to the brim or offers more than a shot of whiskey.

Everybody has heard of the “Jersey princess” who comes from money and is lacking in simple abilities like pumping gas or fixing a flat. And there is the “Jersey foot,” overly calloused from too much beach walking.

The “Jersey crawl” describes motorists who kind of stop at stop signs. And lastly, the “Jersey bomber,” mosquitoes that approach the size of sparrows.

Elsewhere around the country, Alabamians define “A ways” as any distance between 10 minute and two hours.

In Arkansas, they say somebody who is impatient or rude is “bowed up.”

California residents refer to something that is really good as “bomb.”

In Delaware, laughing is called “Baggin’ up.” Georgians tell people to “quit being ugly,” in other words change their attitude and behavior.

“Poho” to Hawaiians is a waste of time; Maine says a very drunk person is “bazz on;” and residents of Missouri say you are “jeffin” if you’re dishonest or phony to others.

In New York, a person is very honestly serious is “dead ass;” and in South Dakota, “Kattywampus” describes confusion.

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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer