By: Terrence A. Merkerson
In a diversity course that I took at some point during my undergraduate studies, I remember coming across a phrase that has stuck with me since hearing it. The phrase is: “When everything that you firmly believe in is being challenged in every possible way, you either become more open-minded and willing to expand and grow your understanding or you harden your beliefs, causing you to become more rigid and unreasonable.” If you choose the former, it creates space for understanding, acceptance and eventually, change. If you chose the latter, this ever-progressive society will eventually isolate you and drive you to extremism. Enter Donald John Trump.
“Make America Great Again!”
Sounds good, right? Of course it does! That is the power of subjective phrasing. It can mean whatever the consumer of the message wants it to mean. But aside from the rhetoric, what could one assume to be the ACTUAL meaning behind “Make America Great Again!”
If the past is any indicator of a proposed future, I want absolutely no part of it.
To make note, I have no issue with some conservative values and I do not identify as a loyalist to any political party (Hi guys! I’m an independent! *waves vigorously), but sometimes you have to take a stand and pick a side. Whatever side that is the polar opposite of the supporters of Donald Trump, I pick that one. Trump and the GOP may have a plan here though, whether it’s collaborative or not does not really matter at this point, nevertheless, the strategy is brilliant. What is the most effective way to mobilize conservatives? Allow liberals to scare the 💩 out of them. After seven years of a democratic White House and a Black man holding our nation’s highest office, I think it’s safe to render most conservatives 💩-less. The massive shift in social reform and the heighten awareness for the need of gender, sex and race equality has some conservatives balled up in the fetal position, sucking their thumbs while clinging to their confederate blankies (for the lack of obviousness, not all conservatives are racists and not all racists are conservatives). Fear and deprivation can drive folks to desperation. Again, enter Donald John Trump.
Not to discredit Trump, he is very savvy and cunning. His business acumen leaves little to be questioned, but politics? The presidency? Let’s be sensible here people. He has a notoriously offensive public track record. He has unabashedly disrespected and objectified women, he has shown that he has very little-to-no tack or diplomacy. He supports and fuels many negative racial stereotypes, and he even called to challenge the legitimacy of President Obama’s citizenship. He has stood narcissistically beside himself since becoming a public figure and there is a sizable number of people in this country reasonably willing to make him Commander-in-chief?
*Runs to Canadian border.
That is what frightens me the most. There are people in this country that support his candidacy. Most of his supporters are poor, white southerners and yet again, they are getting sucker’d by the Republican Party. As much as I understand the historical and racial reasons why many white southerners align themselves with the Republican Party, I am still completely dumbfounded by it. How is it reasonable to support a political party that promotes (rather inculcates) your political and social views, but does not actually support you or your socioeconomic status? Short answer: it is not reasonable. That is exactly why the ground-swelling support for Trump’s candidacy is of no shock, without lack of disgust.
Trump functions as the GOP’s “trump card”. After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, the Republican Party has been frantically searching for a candidate to challenge the popularity and familiarity of democratic leaders. Initially, in an attempt to seem “progressive”, we saw the push for the support of Marco Rubio. #FAIL. Briefly, there was hype around Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, but the supporters of party have seemed to have shifted most of their attention to Trump. I believe the old adage states that “If you cannot meet in the middle, distance yourself from the middle as much as possible. There, you will find your leverage.” Rubio was the attempt to appeal to a more progressive America, Trump seems to be the viable “Plan B” (and to think, many conservatives oppose prevention initiatives) and its working.
As we come closer to the parties making their official nominations, this may change, but at the moment it is difficult to ignore Trump’s momentum. It is also difficult to ignore the reasons behind his momentum, as troubling as those reasons may be. We must take his campaign seriously, regardless of how ridiculous it may appear to be. THIS MAN COULD BE OUR PRESIDENT! DO NOT HAVE FAITH IN AMERICAN RATIONALITY! Remember they voted for George W. TWICE!
God Bless Canada.
Terrence Merkerson is the Founder & Creator of Avenue Fifteen. Terrence earned Bachelor’s Degrees in both Political Science and Gender/Race Studies from the University of Alabama. Terrence also completed Graduate School at the University of Alabama earning a Master’s Degree in Communication.
He currently resides in Baton Rouge, LA.