Seeing the same things differently - Keith Roulston editorial
As American voters prepare for election day next Tuesday, I can’t help thinking of the family member we used to speak about as being “wired” differently. If 10 people witnessed the same thing, we said, nine of them would come to the same conclusions, but this guy would see something entirely different.
It seems that about 40 per cent of American voters are like the guy mentioned above.
They look at the antics of U.S. President Donald Trump and see something entirely different than most of us. How else can you explain that, after four years of bending the rules, fanning divisions and mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still scenarios that give him a chance of winning this election. Polls have shown Democratic candidate Joe Biden with a consistent 10-12 per cent lead, but the biggest surprise is that it isn’t a 25-40 per cent lead, given the behavior of the President.
It’s safe to say that disgust at Donald Trump unites Canadians more than just about any other issue. Even here, though, there are
those who can look at the same Trump behaviour and see something entirely different from the majority. Recently Tom More, who describes himself as a Canadian observer of American politics, wrote an opinion piece for Farmers’ Forum, an Ontario-based farm newspaper praising Trump.
“His accomplishments . . . are nothing short of amazing,” More said of the President, crediting him for enticing U.S. manufacturers to bring factories home from abroad, slashing drug prices, cutting regulations and taxes which in turn led to record level jobs for Blacks and Latinos, and bringing peace to the Middle East.
Yet More takes up the President’s complaint that critics are unfair. “President Trump is the most maligned, defamed and lied-about man of our time. Few people could last one week in the face of the abuse he gets. Imagine going to bed each night knowing there will be new lies about you in the morning. Your enemies have even encouraged people to kill you. Knowing this, would you be willing to stand up in front of thousands of people for two hours? That’s gutsy.”
And More shares Trump’s claim that the Democrats are working hand in hand with the devil to ruin the U.S.
“While Trump is the champion of the little guy (he’s pro-family, pro-worker, pro-life) the Democratic Party has lurched toward socialism (end to freedom) and extreme environmentalism, while maintaining strong ties to big media, big China, and big companies that squeeze the competition.
“The Democratic Party has abandoned life-long Democrats and now the only thing standing between the Western World and a socialist hell is Donald J. Trump.” (At least he didn’t pick up the Qanon conspiracy theory that Democrats are part of a plot of pedophiles.)
I try to make it a habit to read or listen to the guys who are wired differently like More. We need to challenge our comfortable positions by listening to people who see things differently, Now, as never before, thanks to social media, it’s relatively easy to isolate yourself among people with whom you agree.
Ironically, this is a habit that often leaves Trump supporters in a world where he is beyond criticism. If he should lose this election, many Trump supporters will be shocked. Getting their news, as they do, from Fox News, the website Breitbart News or like-minded friends on social media, many probably have no idea that he’s behind in most polls.
And like many of us, Trump supporters tend to take what they like from his record and ignore what they’d rather he not have done. In his entire 800-word article, for instance, More never once mentioned the greatest threat to America today – the COVID-19 pandemic. This despite the fact, as a Canadian, he has evidence all around him of the difference made by active efforts of Canadian governments to combat the plague versus the “ignore it and it will go away” approach of Trump.
American experts have pointed out that if their governments had followed the Canadian protocols, the American death toll from COVID-19 would be about 85,000, not hurtling toward a quarter-million.
It’s valuable to have out-of-step thinkers among us. Nearly all the developers of valuable inventions like Alexander Graham Bell or Thomas Edison were ridiculed by their colleagues when they started. However, outliers in politics are often more contentious, numbering many authoritarians among them.
If you’re a Trump fan, you’ll love More’s conclusion. “The good news is that he likely will win in November. The bad news is that the Democratic Party didn’t accept the election results in 2016. They’re not about to now.”
But hasn’t it been Trump suggesting he won’t accept results if he loses?