This is the third in a three-part series on Trump and his supporters.
It has been a snowy winter thus far in many parts of the county with my hometown of Philadelphia being no exception. Part of the newly found joys of home ownership is shoveling the driveway and sidewalk by the house. About an hour into my labor the other day, the thought occurred to me, "Has Donald Trump ever shoveled snow?" Perhaps this is an indication of how much this man has gotten into my mind, in that he finds his way even into the most mundane parts of my existence. I contemplated this question as I scraped snow into my shovel in this monotonous routine of winter.
I imagine most Trump voters are like me, at least when it comes to shoveling snow. We reckon as to when will be the best time to go out in the cold. Is this enough snow for more than one run or should we wait until the storm passes? We head out, perhaps with our kids and partners, perhaps not. The kids help for a little while, but quickly get distracted by a snowball fight and the sheer joy of playing in the winter landscape. We put our heads down and keep shoveling without complaint.
The neighbors are out shoveling their driveways as well. We might wave to the neighbor across the street, jealous of that new snowblower humming that is making quicker work than our shovel. Perhaps we strike up a conversation about the weather with our next door neighbor. Each of us shovels our sidewalks so that folks can walk their dogs or the kids can get to the bus stop. There's a sense of responsibility and duty to this community that we live in. There's admittedly a bit of peer pressure created by this collective effort. I'm not going to be that guy who disrespects his neighbors by not taking care of his own sidewalk. Some of us might go down shovel out the older widow who couldn't possibly shovel themselves. Such community is vital as we may someday rely on our neighbors to perform a similar service when we are too old or infirm to do so ourselves.
We wait expectantly for the snow ploughs from our city or town to come by. All this work we do individually to clear our driveways and as a community to make the sidewalks passable, won't be useful unless those ploughs, driven by government employees paid for with our tax dollars, come and plough us out and plough all the thoroughfares and interstates as well. If they don't come by we'll call the city and raise holy hell. Such a herculean effort requires the collective, organized effort of municipal services that makes a decent society.
That's what living in a community and being part of a government is all about. We all must take care of the basics and help those who can't. We all have a role to play in making our communities better. Government though is an essential ingredient to take on the large scale projects such as snow removal from every street in the city.
Satisfied with our work for now, we enter into the warmth of our homes. We doff our wet clothes and take a cup of cocoa or coffee. These are the rituals of winter, the rituals of life. Given his wealth and privilege, I bet Donald Trump really doesn't participate in these rituals. He has not shoveled snow in quite sometime, perhaps ever in his life. As a result, he missed some really important lessons about personal responsibility, living within a community, and the necessity of collective effort expressed in those snow ploughs and the tough people who drive those trucks all night so that everyone else can get to school and work safely in the morning.
More directly, most Americans have a lot more in common than not. The exception very clearly to me are the small amount of very wealthy folks at the top who don't shovel snow, but rather have someone else de-ice their private plane so they can get away from it all. My hope is that an increasing number of Trump voters realize how disconnected Trump and his ilk are from the basic functioning of American life as you and I know it. I really don't believe he cares about you. He's golfing in Florida while we are up here shoveling ourselves so we can get to work today.
And when we realize that Trump is truly disconnectedness from our basic realities, it becomes clear why he acts like he does. Whether its truly vulgar language, petty fights and name calling with other Republicans, or a near constant concern with himself as opposed to the country's pressing issues, we begin to see the man for what he is. He doesn't shovel snow. He never has and never will. He's never built a sense of personal responsibility, let alone feelings of obligation to his community. We have though. We might not have high-rises or planes with our names on them, but we have our decency. We know the value of hard work. We try to be good neighbors and help those in our community in need. We pay our taxes with the expectation that the ploughs will come on this and every snow day.
Because of our shared experience, we have a wisdom and sense of ourselves that far surpasses anything that Donald Trump's wealth does for him. And to my Trump voter friends and family, let us not sacrifice our sense of decency and responsibility on a man who so often demonstrates he has so little of either. Let us not cheapen our love of country and our values on a man who understands so little about what makes this country great and has no desire to truly know this American way of life.
We are better than this. You are better than this. I see it every time we shovel ourselves out from under the latest snowstorm.