Post-Election Soul Searching: What We’ve Forgotten

In talking with many of my friends who share similar political views it has been up and down this past week.  We search for silver linings, we express anger and sadness, we try to calm ourselves down, and we aren’t always synchronized with others and so everybody can end up arguing with each other at some point.  For me, when something unfathomable to me happens I try to understand as hard as I can.  In many ways this is what led me to understand more about beliefs and why we have them and headed me down the path of neuroscience and cognitive science.  This post will be a bit long, but please don’t be intimidated most of it is copy and pasted from an article that I thought was very well written.  I hope you read the full articles, but if you don’t have time for that, you’ll have to settle for what I think are the most salient aspects.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, that was the beginning of my investigation into trying to understand the support for Trump and generating some empathy for people who voted for him. And it worked.  The eventual Trump win however caused me to go through some deeper introspection as to how I played a role in divisiveness and demonstrated a lack of empathy.  So I came across a couple of wonderful articles (here is one nice balanced perspective) that looks at this rule vs. urban phenomenon more deeply and I think they are excellent reads.  One of these articles I want to quote several passages.  It is an interview with a UW-Madison sociology professor (Kathy Kramer) who has done a lot of research with rural Wisconsinites.  Let’s take a look at some important passages from the article:

“Cramer argues that this “rural consciousness” is key to understanding which political arguments ring true to her subjects. For instance, she says, most rural Wisconsinites supported the tea party’s quest to shrink government not out of any belief in the virtues of small government but because they did not trust the government to help “people like them.”

“Support for less government among lower-income people is often derided as the opinions of people who have been duped,” she writes. However, she continues: “Listening in on these conversations, it is hard to conclude that the people I studied believe what they do because they have been hoodwinked. Their views are rooted in identities and values, as well as in economic perceptions; and these things are all intertwined.”

Here we can see an important problem.  And the problem perhaps goes for many liberals as well.  Our identities are tied up in our politics.  Perhaps this should not be so.  We know inside we will never get a candidate he really caters to everything we belief.  In fact, most politicians don’t end up doing most of the things they say they are going to do in an election.  It is because our identities are associated with politics that populists exploit them to gain support.  What if instead we expected politicians to give detailed plans on how they would address the issues of all Americans?  You might not be a person living in the rural counties of the rust belt,  but what are their problems?  And if you are a democratic party member should your candidate not be addressing those people?  Sitting down and talking to them.  The same goes for Republican candidates also.

“What I was hearing was this general sense of being on the short end of the stick. Rural people felt like they not getting their fair share.

That feeling is primarily composed of three things. First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power. For example, people would say: All the decisions are made in Madison and Milwaukee and nobody’s listening to us. Nobody’s paying attention, nobody’s coming out here and asking us what we think. Decisions are made in the cities, and we have to abide by them.

Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff, that they weren’t getting their fair share of public resources. That often came up in perceptions of taxation. People had this sense that all the money is sucked in by Madison, but never spent on places like theirs.

And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect. They would say: The real kicker is that people in the city don’t understand us. They don’t understand what rural life is like, what’s important to us and what challenges that we’re facing. They think we’re a bunch of redneck racists.”

I thought this section of the article was very meaningful.  The first point is something very similar to what I’ve experienced in Canada.  People say things like “The feds aren’t listening to Francophones”, “the government is in the east, and nobody is listening to the west”, “government isn’t helping anyone in the rural areas”.  If you are a journalist doing an in depth story on the problems of the day, you probably live in a city, and there are so many people of different walks of life there, you probably would never step outside the city limits.  But the problems of the day are both urban and rural issues.  I can imagine it must be difficult for people in rural areas to pay taxes but not see benefits from that.  Now maybe they are and they don’t know it, but the fact that they have this perception is a valid thing that needs to be addressed.  I can imagine a majority of tax money being used for urban purposes.  Cities make the most noise usually, especially since that’s where the media focus is as well as where politicians spend most of their time.  And her third point speaks to our own contribution to divisiveness between rural and urban.  I’ll own up and say that I have over generalized in that manner and it was wrong.  And even if they are racist, they are still human.  Why do they have that attitude?  Is it just ignorance?  Is it that they have been fed false information?  Is it anecdotal experience that was taken as truth instead of an exception?  We all know we can easily succumb to such things and develop incorrect or harmful opinions and attitudes, despite the fact that we have the best of intentions.

In looking at attitudes of resentment Cramer has this to say:

income-inequality-usa-15“Look at all the graphs showing how economic inequality has been increasing for decades. Many of the stories that people would tell about the trajectories of their own lives map onto those graphs, which show that since the mid-’70s, something has increasingly been going wrong.

It’s just been harder and harder for the vast majority of people to make ends meet. So I think that’s part of this story. It’s been this slow burn.

Resentment is like that. It builds and builds and builds until something happens. Some confluence of things makes people notice: I am so pissed off. I am really the victim of injustice here.

Not much to say here other than problems don’t just go away, they keep getting worse when left unaddressed.  I suspect democrats aren’t entirely to blame either.  It’s been going on for years under various administrations.  Maybe we can even see this as a source of a lot of racial issues that are cropping up now as well.  Problems that have been happening for years and now resentment is just so high people are angry and upset.

On the issue of race there were several good points raised:

We know that when people think about their support for policies, a lot of the time what they’re doing is thinking about whether the recipients of these policies are deserving. Those calculations are often intertwined with notions of hard work, because in the American political culture, we tend to equate hard work with deservingness.

And a lot of racial stereotypes carry this notion of laziness, so when people are making these judgments about who’s working hard, oftentimes people of color don’t fare well in those judgments. But it’s not just people of color. People are like: Are you sitting behind a desk all day? Well that’s not hard work. Hard work is someone like me — I’m a logger, I get up at 4:30 and break my back. For my entire life that’s what I’m doing. I’m wearing my body out in the process of earning a living.

In my mind, through resentment and these notions of deservingness, that’s where you can see how economic anxiety and racial anxiety are intertwined.”

While race certainly plays a role there is again this blue collar vs white collar, rural vs. urban issue popping up again.  My father was a machinist and so really appreciate the value of his work and others like him.  I have often worried about how my son will perceive those people in society given that he won’t have personal experience the way that I have.  But we do live very much in a society where blue collar jobs, low wage workers in retail or the restaurant industry are looked down upon.  I had read an article a few years ago from the perspective of a poor single mother who worked every day, lived paycheck to paycheck, and was on welfare.  She said that she didn’t mind being poor or being somebody who had to work a lot harder than everybody else and not really get ahead, but what mattered most was that people actually felt that she had value.  We shame and dehumanize a lot in this society.  Some people are not good people.  Some are lazy, racist, misogynistic, xenophobes, apathetic, selfish, but they are still human and we have to ask always, how did they get that way?  And if they are treated with kindness and humanity, is there a way in which we can make them a better person?  Cramer continues with:

It’s absolutely racist to think that black people don’t work as hard as white people. So what? We write off a huge chunk of the population as racist and therefore their concerns aren’t worth attending to?

How do we ever address racial injustice with that limited understanding?

Of course [some of this resentment] is about race, but it’s also very much about the actual lived conditions that people are experiencing. We do need to pay attention to both.

Great words.  The interviewer then asks about the idea of people not feeling like they are getting what they deserve:

“Part of where that comes from is just the overarching story that we tell ourselves in the U.S. One of the key stories in our political culture has been the American Dream — the sense that if you work hard, you will get ahead.

Well, holy cow, the people I encountered seem to me to be working extremely hard. I’m with them when they’re getting their coffee before they start their workday at 5:30 a.m. I can see the fatigue in their eyes. And I think the notion that they are not getting what they deserve, it comes from them feeling like they’re struggling. They feel like they’re doing what they were told they needed to do to get ahead. And somehow it’s not enough.

Oftentimes in some of these smaller communities, people are in the occupations their parents were in, they’re farmers and loggers. They sayit used to be the case that my dad could do this job and retire at a relatively decent age, and make a decent wage. We had a pretty good quality of life, the community was thriving. Now I’m doing what he did, but my life is really much more difficult.”

When I read this passage it really made me think that this is what a lot of Americans are facing, not just ones in rural areas.  I’ve seen many articles about how the millennial generation struggle compared to their parents simply with costs being much higher in comparison to wages.  Even with a professor wage I know I have less buying power per dollar than my parents did.  There are so many Americans facing the same struggle financially.  The theme continues and Bernie Sanders gets a mention:

         “It’s not inevitable that people should assume that the decline in their quality           of life is the fault of other population groups. In my book I talk about rural              folks resenting people in the city. In the presidential campaign, Trump is very          clear about saying: You’re right, you’re not getting your fair share, and look            at these other groups of people who are getting more than their fair share.                Immigrants. Muslims. Uppity women.

But here’s where having Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump running alongside one another for a while was so interesting. I think the support for Sanders represented a different interpretation of the problem. For Sanders supporters, the problem is not that other population groups are getting more than their fair share, but that the government isn’t doing enough to intervene here and right a ship that’s headed in the wrong direction.”

leaderI thought this was an interesting observation.  I too saw the excitement Bernie had been getting among more rural and working class voters.  Whether you agreed with his solutions are not, he was also resonating with those that were angry at the government, those that felt the government wasn’t serving their best interests.  Maybe he still wouldn’t have won the presidency, but I do think he at least took the right approach into reaching people and finding common ground among both urban and rural working class citizens.

So what is the way out of this all? Cramer had this to say:

“People for months now have been told they’re absolutely right to be angry at the federal government, and they should absolutely not trust this woman, she’s a liar and a cheat, and heaven forbid if she becomes president of the United States. Our political leaders have to model for us what it’s like to disagree, but also to not lose basic faith in the system. Unless our national leaders do that, I don’t think we should expect people to.”

As much as I’d like to believe that everybody can just pick themselves up by their bootstraps I know that it is really not possible.  I’ve felt for some time that it is our leadership who actually have to convince us that they serve us and not special interest groups.  They need be more vocal about us coming together.  Sadly I think many of them know that keeping us divided is a more effective way to keep power than to get us to unite.

In the end Cramer reminds us that empathy, that talking to each other face-to-face and listening are the most valuable tools we have as individuals:

“One of the very sad aspects of resentment is that it breeds more of itself. Now you have liberals saying, “There is no justification for these points of view, and why would I ever show respect for these points of view by spending time and listening to them?”

Thank God I was as naive as I was when I started. If I knew then what I know now about the level of resentment people have toward urban, professional elite women, would I walk into a gas station at 5:30 in the morning and say, “Hi! I’m Kathy from the University of Madison”?

I’d be scared to death after this presidential campaign! But thankfully I wasn’t aware of these views. So what happened to me is that, within three minutes, people knew I was a professor at UW-Madison, and they gave me an earful about the many ways in which that riled them up — and then we kept talking.

And then I would go back for a second visit, a third visit, a fourth, fifth and sixth. And we liked each other. Even at the end of my first visit, they would say, “You know, you’re the first professor from Madison I’ve ever met, and you’re actually kind of normal.” And we’d laugh. We got to know each other as human beings.

That’s partly about listening, and that’s partly about spending time with people from a different walk of life, from a different perspective. There’s nothing like it. You can’t achieve it through online communication. You can’t achieve it through having good intentions. It’s the act of being with other people that establishes the sense we actually are all in this together.

I’ve always grown in my life when I’ve gotten to know people from different walks of life and I need to continue.  Make an effort to do so.  It was easier growing up because I met so many people from other countries, with various levels of education and careers.  When one has a career themselves it gets a little harder.  I know pretty much other professors and students.  Maybe I need to help Kathy Cramer with her research. 🙂

rural__disenfranchised_voters_push_trump_0_6563315_ver1-0_640_360When it comes to terrorism and the issue of Syrian refugees I’ve spent a lot of time showing research and trying to explain to people the importance of compassion and how disenfranchising people who need our help is likely to increase the level of extremism and not reduce it.  It plays into ISIS’ hands.  And this is all true.  But what if, and I know it’s not all people who voted for Trump, but what is there are lot of disenfranchised white rural voters living in poverty?  Is it likely that they might start adopt more extreme views as well?  It’s an interesting pause for thought.

So in this post I maybe haven’t give a lot of love to all of us who are hurting right now, but I felt this part of the discussion is important.  In my next post, I will talk more about why I think many of us have cause for concern at the new government we face, and how the empathy that I have tried to build here for the Trump voter is not just a one way street.

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54 thoughts on “Post-Election Soul Searching: What We’ve Forgotten

  1. Obama was recently interviewed (before the election) by Bill Maher. The one thing that stuck with me from that interview was Obama saying that he felt if he could take the time to sit down in a room and talk to every single person in the country, he could find common ground with every one. I thought that was a beautiful sentiment, and inspiring.

    By the very nature of his job, however, the people Obama was sitting down with every day to make policies for our country were not the common citizens. He sat down with his advisers, politicians, foreign leaders, lobbyists, for the most part. And I believe he did find common ground with them – he ended up being very much a centrist president.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Very interesting, and certainly something to look at; but my question is: Do the numbers support the narrative of the poor disenfranchised white voter?
    I’ve been looking at figures since the day after the election, and I just don’t see it. In 1975 less than 50% of people could own a television. In that same year only 37% of people could have a home telephone. So in essence technology has transformed the world for all of us across the board. The idea a blue collar life was some sort of easy, great thing 30 or 40 years ago is very much a delusion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oops, I didn’t finish my point. Life is better today. Food represents considerably less of the percentage of people’s paychecks. Comfort levels have been transformed all together. Double glazing is now standard. Heating is more efficient. People on low incomes don’t spend 5 years paying for a sofa, they can go to Ikea.
      An argument can certainly be made that inequality is on the up, but so are living standards.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Talk to Victoria sometime about conditions in many rural counties in the south. It’s really much like a third world country. Such counties are scattered about the Midwest as well. It’s pretty bad. Some are doing okay but they really don’t see why they are paying taxes when very little of that money seems to benefit them.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I have another interesting number I want you to factor into this. A month before the election Republican voters were asked in a survey if they agreed without reservation that Barack Obama was born in the US. The number who agreed with that statement was under 30%. So poverty and lack of education may very well be factors, but so is propaganda – after all when put together those things make a very successful polygamist union 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            2. No question that there are a lot of factors confluencing here. I’ll have some more interesting articles in the next post. I think there is good evidence to support the idea that rural populations have been forgotten even in terms of quality education and when that happens being manipulated comes much easier.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I’m certainly not saying that racism wasn’t a factor, but I don’t think you can say that a good 50 million people are throw a noose over the tree and hang people of color racist. A lot of white people in rural areas have similar problems, and are bonded in many more ways than by racist attitudes. Most rural people are white. In the blog post of mine that I linked at the beginning of this one there is 10 minute video done by The Guardian where they interview people in McDowell county West Virginia. The poorest county in West Virginia. The conditions are deplorable. One of the people they interviewed who is as West Virginia back country looking as you can get, voted for Obama…twice. Which makes sense as they probably thought Obama was going to bring change and wasn’t more of the same Republicans (from McCain to Bush) and wasn’t like a Romney…a person so wealthy he couldn’t relate to the common citizen. So maybe there a little bit racist, but when it comes down to issues that are important to them, race isn’t the deciding factor, just as Trump’s racist comments weren’t the deciding factor here for a lot of folks. In the video the grand daughter of the guy who voted for Obama and is now voting for Trump tries to explain to him that Trump is lying and that coal jobs aren’t coming back. One of the other people interviewed has basically sort of given up and just figures they are completely forgotten and nothing will change. My whole point here is really to break apart the idea that there is some homogeneous Trump supporting population and look at how we might work to help people, have honest conversations, and not use divisive rhetoric to work people into an emotional froth to gain votes. It makes me sad that so many people have been duped, because I really do think that we need to listen to what these people are saying.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. I certainly never said it was the entire answer to Trump’s victory but there is good evidence, looking at the polling numbers by state, that it was the tipping point in US states that went to Obama in the last elections. And with many voters who voted for Obama in the last election. States like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. These rust belt states are all ones in which coal and/or manufacturing jobs have been filtering out over the past few decades. The population in rural areas is only 20% of the population, but in states like PA, the percentages are a bit higher. The median household income in rural areas is also $10,000 less at about $40,000 a year. I can tell you that as a household, with one child, if we were making that amount of money, we’d be struggling. We definitely wouldn’t be able to put any money away for the future. My job probably wouldn’t have great health care either.

              Clearly there are other types of Republicans out there. Some are rich and just don’t want to get taxed, some are just voting for Trump solely based on the party’s pro-life stance and want to get abortion overturned, and some of course are flat out racists, misogynists and/or xenophobes. Again, my point is not to say that racism or misogyny isn’t a problem in our society, but to simply point out that this isn’t always the dominating factor and that when, as the article says, we just say somebody as racist, as an excuse not to recognize what their needs as a human might be, it’s not acceptable. Just because someone doesn’t show the level of empathy that we think is important doesn’t mean they don’t deserve ours in return. I don’t see problems like racism, misogyny, and xenophobia solved by dehumanizing such people.

              Liked by 1 person

    2. I think it does support it at least in terms of swinging the number in Trump’s favor. Certainly not all Republicans. And I agree…. In one of the articles I linked here … it says clearly that the days of walking out of highschool into a factory job is gone…. and there is a level realism that they haven’t reached yet. Partly this is because they have constantly been misled and exploited by politicians for voting purposes. It’s all been lip service and this time is no different. This is something I planned to talk about in my next post.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. It doesn’t matter what the numbers say; what matters is how people perceive their situation. People many be doing better than previous generations in many ways, but if they don’t *feel* like they are, or they feel like they should be doing better, facts and figures are inconsequential.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I’d love it if politics were based on objective fact. Clearly, though, politics is very much based on the objective, relying on appeals to emotion and “gut instinct.” It’s the whole, “I want a president I can have a beer with,” mentality, and it’s why image and language are everything in political campaigns.

          Should it be that way? No. But human beings aren’t ruled exclusively by objectivity, and it seems like politics especially drags that wishy washy, subjective part of us out. So should I take someone who believes there’s a war on Christmas even if isn’t seriously? Unfortunately yes, because that person will vote based on that perception.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I agree with you Ryan. I think with things like this, you have to completely ignore it…hard to do in a society with a media looking for controversy…and so dealing with that false perception requires one to be very careful. You have to sort of approach it like I think you would approach a small child. You can’t just tell them they are stupid, but have to sympathize, listen, and then explain why there is no war on Christmas. The name calling just leads to them holding on to their beliefs even more!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Interesting. We learned sitting the campaign that many false stories were published by Macedonian teenagers wanting to make money. Forget about Russia messing with our election

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  3. The Chinese have a word for Chaos, Wei-Ji (if i remember the spelling?), composed of the characters for Danger and Opportunity.

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” (Paul Atreidies, Dune)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Hi Swarn,

    I could be wrong but I think one of the differences between the rural and the urban mindset is one of those inevitable things that happens as numbers increase. I may have a romantic version of rural life, but I think that in general there may be less room in a rural community for succeeding at portraying or selling an image of yourself that is inconsistent with your real values. I just don’t think the numbers support it. It’s like at a small school where everyone knows a little bit about everyone else. You are who you are, and I think you are known for who you are. You depend on the people around you, and you see them with greater regularity, and you really can’t afford to just turn your back on them.

    I also think, again perhaps mistakenly, that in smaller communities you find yourself meeting the needs of the community alongside of the same faces. Even if you have radically different views and work ethics and opinions, there really is something of a fabric there.

    But you look at politics and urban centers in particular, and you are lost in the swarm. You can lead double lives. If you have the dough, you can pick out a state on the map, move there, and run for office. You can say one thing and mean another with considerably more ease, and it is certainly easier to hide your unspoken agenda. Opinion can be manipulated by outlets like the media, whether intentional or not. So I think it makes some sense there would be a distrust by rural persons of those who are in the center of the storm, so to speak. There’s a difference between a person you see periodically at the counter, or the gas pump, or the ag store, or the small engine shop, and someone who is an image, and whose image is the product of thousands of voices.

    Not that this explains the Trump phenomenon per se, or that I even mean for it to do so. But I think he probably struck people as at least being direct, like it or not, and perhaps that played into the appeal…

    Michael

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Welcome Michael and thank you for your comment. I don’t think you’re wrong at all. I think rural areas do have that village, tribal mentality, and yes people pull together more than perhaps in the city. But I do think it’s a mis-perception to some degree. Many urban people have similar challenges and are in the same boat as many in rural areas. And urban people have their communities too…it’s just that there are many other communities conglomerated together in a small area. But I think that’s the point of talking to people of different walks of life and actually hearing their story and what they are saying. People seemed to have a much more positive view of this UW-Madison professor after talking to her, just as her attitudes towards them also changed by getting to know them. I know myself have let’s say become so focused on racial issues in inner cities, that I literally haven’t paid much attention to all to impoverished counties where factories and mining have all dried up…and I live in one! To me that’s a problem.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Swarn,

        I didn’t mean to suggest there aren’t communities in urban environments, but your points are well-taken, and of course I agree completely with the central point of your piece regarding the need for communication, empathy, and listening.

        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Swarn, thanks for your heartfelt post. Here’s my take. Rural voters only accounted for 17% of the vote. That’s not to say that they didn’t have some valid points, but here’s what I think, based on my own research and numbers I’ve found — it wasn’t the poor or those disgruntled about the economy who had the loudest voice in this election, and were responsible for Trump’s win. It was white evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics — basically — bible literates.

    Most white evangelicals, as well as the RRC, do not believe a women should be allowed to hold a position of power over men, and most certainly, they do not believe a woman should hold the most power seat in the world.

    One in four of the votes cast were white evangelicals. The only demographics that broke for Trump more than white evangelicals were Republican men (90%), Republican women (89%), and conservatives (81%) according to Christianity Today.

    It was the largest turnout of evangelicals in modern history, around 83%. I’ve been watching this movement grow right under the radar for several years now. I posted about it back in March of 2014.

    In The American Prospect, they published an article titled Tomorrow, the World, on October 22, 2007:

    ““And as evangelical Christianity and other conservative religious movements gain force in Europe, the American right is finding more allies on the Continent. Cumulatively, their victories may be changing the global climate on some of the biggest social issues of our time. “We have a conservative period now in history — a substantial movement to the right around the world,” says James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum in New York and a prominent thinker on the globalization of the Christian right.”

    Another article from the Christian Monitor, titled US evangelicals aim to influence European law wrote:

    Why are American groups going to such lengths to shape the laws in other countries?

    “We realized that if we didn’t try to mold precedents abroad, they could come back to hurt us, and that the American legal system as we know might change,” says Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for the ADF (Alliance Defense Fund also known as Alliance Defending Freedom ).

    Who are they? https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/emails-show-outside-groups-influence-on-mississippis-religious-freedom-bill/2016/07/21/e836f064-4f4f-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html

    As noted in the article, that House Bill 1523 passed the senate and was signed by our governor, but it was struck down by a Mississippi supreme court judge (U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves), but it was overturned just before it was struck down by a supreme court judge. However our governor is asking a federal appeals court to uphold a state law letting merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex. The law will also discrimination against girls and women. Pharmacies and deny women and girls birth control, and banks and renters can deny housing for women who’ve had children out of wedlock. coupleshttp://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2016/10/31/mississippi-hb1523-appeal/93070122/

    As the Mississippi article notes, the Mississippi law was supported by Baptist and Pentecostal groups in the state, and the Washington-based Family Research Council gave Bryant an award for signing it.

    On March, 23, 2005, U.S. Representative Christopher Shays, a republican from Connecticut stated: “This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy.”

    How do we find common ground with people who believe that the bible is the word of god, and that “family values” means that a woman should know her place; that woman was made for man, but not the man for the woman (quoting scripture), that the husband has the rule over the wife as the bible states; that the same rights that apply to heterosexuals don’t apply to homosexuals. How do you find common ground and empathize with those who sincerely believe that a woman doesn’t have a right over her own body.

    They (conservatives that were studied) have fear and disgust of the Other, as noted in fMRI studies, when looking at images of faces from a different race. It’s and “Us vs Them” mentality, “spiritual warfare”, and the way they are indoctrinated, the Other is a threat to their religious freedom. The Other is of Satan. This is why they had no problem electing Trump. He spoke their language.

    Now, they are in a position to get what they want, and by everything that I’ve read and seen so far, there is a good probability that it’s going to happen.

    I am really struggling here to find empathy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There is no question about what you’re describing…this has been the Republican base in the last few elections, and that base is something to worry about. But if this group of evangelicals were the reason for Trump’s win, then why so many states not vote for Ted Cruz who was the clear Dominionist in the primaries? Trump never ran on any Christian principles at all and still won all the southern states, PA, and Michigan. Why wouldn’t Cruz be their main drive? Establishment Republicans would have gotten behind him as well. I mean if the evangelicals aren’t large enough to get Cruz the nomination from the primaries, how were they large enough to get Trump the general election? Is it because they didn’t think they had a shot at winning the executive branch until the end?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah the hyper-masculinity thing makes some sense…his lack of political correctness was I’m sure cathartic for many of those “good Christians”. I’ve decided to refuse to call them Christians though, they are the least Christ-like people. I was wondering if there is an equivalent to Daesch for these “Christians”.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. As you know, Swarn, I left Christianity in 2000. I know there are some really caring Christians, but evangelicals are extremely tribal, are highly stratified, and authoritarian. Trump was the perfect match for them.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I need to make a correction. I wrote: “As noted in the article, that house bill passed the senate and was signed by our government, but it was overturned just before it was struck down by a supreme court judge.”

    I meant to write that House Bill 1523 passed the senate and was signed by our governor, but it was struck down by a Mississippi supreme court judge (U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves).

    If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind correcting that for me?

    I also wanted to leave this video from April discussing Wisconsin and how evangelicals factor in.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/how-evangelical-voters-factor-into-wisconsin-658043971870

    If you had a change to watch John Oliver’s latest show, he presented clips of Ted Cruz first claiming to be against Trump, but then fully endorsed him, so much so that he made calls to the citizens of Wisconsin asking to support Trump.

    Seems they will do anything, or vote for anyone, to get their way. sigh.

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    1. What I find interesting about these numbers is that there is a missing 3%…did they go to Johnson? If so when you compare this to last election the numbers aren’t all that different. 81% compared 79%…Clinton did 4% worse with evangelicals, but at least 3% as I said must have gone independent. Of course since these are in percentages it’s quite possible that that there are more evangelicals in the U.S. today, thus making a significant difference, but since Hillary won the popular vote, it seems that the evangelical gains would have to be more specific to state demographics. Which is possible as you said on the phone that there has been growth in the north. What’s also very interesting is that when you look at past elections, catholics have favored democrats. In the past two elections Catholics favored Obama. Trump gained 4% points there from Romney in 2012. And Irish, Italian and Polish Catholics according to a demographic map of Catholics, have high populations in Wisconsin and PA, two states that Trump won, that went blue last time. Either way there is a lot of religious conservatism in this country.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Swarn, yeah I had already seen those stats from 2012. So it wasn’t just evangelicals, it was conservative Christians in general, but evangelicals screamed the loudest about reversing the progress achieved on social issues.

        “For many, it came down to a few major issues, such as abortion and Supreme Court appointments. They also were swayed by party loyalty and fear of a government under Hillary Clinton.

        And something more basic: Trump courted them.

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/11/10/conservative-christians-boorish-trump/93572474/

        As I told you on the phone, I read an article showing that evangelicals played a key role in the battleground states. This is from Christianity Today:

        “Trump spent much of the months leading up to Election Day directly courting evangelical support. Those voters—particularly in battleground states such as Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida—proved to be one of his strongest support bases.

        Exit polls also indicated that Trump swung the Catholic vote back to the GOP by a 52 percent to 45 percent margin, after a majority of Catholics sided with Obama in the previous two elections.”

        Pope Frances recently stated that no way, no how are women ever going to be priests in the church, end of story. That sends a strong message about women in positions of power. The RCC is also strongly anti-choice.

        Another point I’d like to make (and I discussed this a little with you on the phone) is this:

        “This research leaves some mysteries unsolved. Something is afflicting the places where Trump’s supporters live, but Trump’s supporters do not exhibit more severe economic distress than do those who view him unfavorably.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/08/12/a-massive-new-study-debunks-a-widespread-theory-for-donald-trumps-success/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Pope Francis also expressed disappointment in Christianity in America.

          I don’t believe that Trump supporters are the only ones in great economic distress. It’s really a combination of things, such as isolation, and like many poor people, feeling like you don’t have a voice. I still believe that empathy, regardless of religious belief is strengthened by talking and listening to each other. Ultimately when we even generalize all evangelicals I think it does harm. I know several people who consider themselves evangelicals but would not vote for Trump.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. If anyone should have empathy, it should be me. You know I’ve experienced significant hardships. If anyone really understands what it’s like to be very poor, it’s me. If anyone understands the evangelical community (they have a mission), it’s me. If anyone should understand what it’s like to not have a voice, it’s me.

            While I agree with you that we should be talking to one another, I can assure you that those I’ve talked and listened to already are not interested in listening to me, both online and off. I will also mention what I told you on the phone — from my perspective, there’s simply no excuse to sell out (shake things up at the expense of others) like the American people did when they voted for Trump.

            Where we go from here, who knows. These are dark times.

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        2. Also I think anybody who voted for Trump solely on the issue of abortion doesn’t really value life. It’s the height of delusional. They cause more human suffering from that myopic decision and it’s extremely upsetting to me.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The abortion issue in the U.S. is political.

            “When Roe was first decided, most of the Southern evangelicals who today make up the backbone of the anti-abortion movement believed that abortion was a deeply personal issue in which government shouldn’t play a role. Some were hesitant to take a position on abortion because they saw it as a “Catholic issue,” and worried about the influence of Catholic teachings on American religious observance.

            Shortly after the decision was handed down, The Baptist Press, a wire service run by the Southern Baptist Convention — the biggest Evangelical organization in the US — ran an op-ed praising the ruling. “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision,” read the January 31, 1973, piece by W. Barry Garrett, The Baptist Press’s Washington bureau chief.”

            http://billmoyers.com/2014/07/17/when-southern-baptists-were-pro-choice/

            You don’t work night and day to undermine pro-choice, all the while electing officials whose goal is to significantly cut the social safety net. Such people are not pro-life. They are pro-birth. As the World Health Organization said:

            “Access to safe, legal abortion is a fundamental right of women, irrespective of where they live. The underlying causes of morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion today are not blood loss and infection but, rather, apathy and disdain toward women.

            http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/general/lancet_4.pdf

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