A friend shared an article with me the other day that offered a simple-yet-conflated explanation for why so many Americans voted for President Trump again: essentially, they’re lazy, selfish, and racist.
The author spends a dozen pages explaining in strenuous detail that is true, dammit: we’re not who we say we are, but rather a lot of couch-potato has-beens snarfing junk food and buying cheap plastic stuff while talking about the good ol’ days.
Even if this is true, methinks the author doth protest too much. More than yelling at the reader to look at reality, I get a sense that she’s shocked, shocked to find that Americans are, on the whole, at least as lazy, selfish, and/or racist as any people to have walked the earth.
To admit that humanity has angels other than its better ones is not to excuse or enthuse over a blatantly venal, corrupt, and lying politics, though. That some are cynical enough to do so, given the choice, should not be a surprise — but it should remind the rest of us that presidential speech and actions matter.
We’re human, and no president can compel us to be more than that. But they can encourage us to be better to each other and the world beyond.