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Beckman: Trump Supporters are simply “Mad as Hell”



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By Hank Beckman - 

Leftists and Never Trump Republicans can’t quite get a handle on what motivates President Trump’s supporters.

Being politicians and pundits, they have their theories, of course.  Hillary Clinton notoriously pegged us as deplorable and irredeemable; Jonathon Chait sniffs that “to watch Donald Trump and see a qualified and plausible president, you probably have some kind of mental shortcoming”; others, like Thomas Frank, at least flirt with part of the truth, chalking it up to the failure of elites in both parties to respond of the changing world economy.

And there are always people like Rob Reiner to remind us what he and his Hollywood friends have been insisting ever since Trump rode down that elevator to announce his candidacy: we’re all racists. In the modern era, charges of bigotry are the preferred  tactic to be used by the Left against any formidable conservative or Republican. Its genius is that it works in any number of scenarios. Disagree with a person of color, a Muslim, a woman, an illegal alien, or a gay person, and the “hater” label becomes the Left’s default argument.

But we’re not stupid, we’re not bigots, and the causalities of the global economy are only part of the explanation.

What we really are is Howard Beale.

Beale, protagonist of the 1975 movie “Network,” distraught from the death of his wife and the pending cancellation of his nightly news show due to falling ratings, finally snaps and tells his audience that he is going to kill himself.

The suits at his network were initially horrified and searched for ways to explain his actions, but when his ratings went through the roof, they decided to set aside a time slot where Beale and assorted other eccentrics—Sybil the Soothsayer was a regular—could entertain the audience with their wacky brand of infotainment.

On one show, Beale admitted that he didn’t know what to do about the ongoing societal chaos, but famously advised his audience that the first step toward fixing things was for everyone to go to their windows, open them and shout to the world “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

So they do, and Beale becomes a national phenomena, one who ultimately crashes and burns, but not before screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky weaves a tale that foreshadows the freak show that modern television has become.

Some of what frosted Beale and his listeners—rising crime rates, inflation, the twin shocks of Watergate and the debacle in Vietnam—were issues specific to the mid-seventies.

But his rants about multinational corporations, the malign influence of the Arab world and its petrodollars, and the general inability of our leaders to cope with a world that seems to be spinning out of control, should be familiar to the modern observer.

Trump supporters are no less ticked off in the new millennium than Beale and his viewers were several decades ago.

Only now we’re also mad because millions of people are essentially invading our country and overwhelming our border security. The Southern border—and our national sovereignty—is a mere suggestion and our government has essentially given up on enforcing laws against foreign nationals who overstay their visas.

We’re mad because our children are fighting endless wars that we were promised were necessary to make life better for distant peoples who we were told needed our help and only wanted the freedoms we enjoy. That way they would be brought into the world community and stop engaging in terrorism.

But whether we’re attempting to transform Iraqis into Jeffersonian Democrats or lecturing the dictator in Syria about WMD but looking away when he uses them, it turns out that many of these people hate our guts anyway, and our children are dying for nothing.

We’re also unhappy that a few decades ago elites in both political parties decided to outsource our manufacturing and open our economy to imports and immigrants—legal and illegal—from every nation on earth. This was supposed to benefit us all, with cheaper consumer goods and Americans moving into skilled jobs in the new “information economy.”

But while we enjoy those goods made in developing nations around the world, our real wages have barely budged in decades and our once-great industrial cities make up a “rust belt.” Urban and rural enclaves rivaling the Third World for crime, drug abuse, government dependance/corruption, and the absence of anything resembling hope have developed.

We weren’t wildly enthusiastic about the Paris Climate Accords, a pact that promised to undercut our economy while not holding the rest of the world to anything like the standards it imposed on the U.S.

In social policy, we’re definitely uneasy with changing the meaning of marriage—a change made not by all 50 state legislatures, but by five Supreme Court justices. We’re not at all comfortable with forcing people to violate their religious principles when two same sex partners can simply go on to the next baker/photographer/wedding site to facilitate their wedding vows. And the thought of transgender men sharing locker rooms or bathroom facilities with our female children is positively infuriating.

And if there’s one thing that aggravates Trump supporters the most it’s the habit—almost a reflex—leftists have of labeling everyone who disagrees with their policies as a bigot.

Here’s a news flash for the Left: people aren’t bigots because they are in favor of stronger border security. (Or do they think of Blacks and Hispanics in favor of tougher immigration enforcement as bigoted?) They are not haters because they happen to believe marriage is reserved for a man and a woman. It’s perfectly normal for working class people to be despondent because globalization has rendered them poverty-stricken. And if Leftists think there is something hateful about people not wanting their female children to share locker rooms with male transvestites, they are beyond hope and beneath contempt.

And incidentally, we are not going away—because we’re mad as hell.


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