Bear with me…
I did not vote for Donald Trump. I do not believe him to possess the professional, political or moral skills necessary in effective leadership. I don’t trust him. I have questions regarding his integrity. I consider him neither brave nor kind.
My feelings about President Trump are strong. Though much of America agrees with them, debatably more of America thought otherwise. Tens of Millions of Americans voted for a man with, at best, questionable ethics. They were able to overlook examples of racism, sexism, bigotry and egotism. They continue to ignore his narcissistic tendencies and childish outbursts. Despite deficiencies in personal character and leadership capability, almost 62 million people voted Trump in November. Today, most of them remain hopeful.
A major component of Trump’s “Making America Great Again” campaign was his promise to forcefully vacate the land of all illegal immigrants. Deportation was to be followed by the construction of a great great wall, ensuring the inability of an unwanted reappearance. As that process begins, I can’t help but notice the irony in its action and support. To me, the immigrants and those calling for their extradition are coming from a very similar place.
Fundamentally speaking, both immigrants and Trump voters are honest, hardworking and fair. Obviously both have malicious outliers. There are immigrant criminals and raciest Trump allies. However, the majorities on both sides are neither. Together they make up a large portion of the United States’ labor and blue-collar work force.
According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the two most basic levels of need are physiological needs (food, water, shelter) and needs related to safety (law, order, stability). When these primary needs are in question, a person is unable to advance to higher levels of happiness related to love, esteem and self-actualization. They are instead stuck in survival mode – a stressful place filled with uncertainty and imbalance. It’s a prehistoric existence and precisely the place that most immigrants and many Trump supporters exist. Both face a changing world in which historic opportunities are declining. Scarcity prevails and desperation guides decision-making. As hope fades, instinct takes over and things like ethics, morality and even law lose influence.
Boiled down to the purely human level, devoid of political influence, all people ultimately have the same basic needs. Without the prerequisites met, character suffers, integrity wanes, empathy perishes and decision-making is compromised. In their place remain selfishness, intolerance, blame and hate. If you’ve ever missed breakfast, or fasted or tried the dreaded multi-day “cleanse,” you probably noticed (and other did too) a distinct change in attitude and mood. Now imagine that was your daily existence. Everyday meant confronting hunger or fear – not just your own but that of your family as well. How long could you persist until you began to compromise your morals or the law? When would you overlook a person’s character for a job or break the law to steal food? Would you stand the moral high ground, suffering alongside those you love? Some of you might. Most of us wouldn’t. So, if we can’t do it, why do we expect others to?
The bottom line is we shouldn’t. Rather than stubbornly persist in a state of protest and criticism, waiting for salvation from a mythical white horse, or wrongfully abusing a system for which you’ve not contributed, why not enjoy the enlightenment of a bigger picture perspective? Is it so hard to believe that we can’t win this together? The fact is that old jobs aren’t coming back and that free rides in the U.S. aren’t sustainable. However, a new economy is just over the horizon and immigrants will always be a vital part of economic stability.
Businesses dependent on immigrant work forces should be drafting policy allowing labor streams to exist for those willing to work and contribute their fair share as beneficiaries of a benevolent society. Citizenship should be a straightforward and achievable process. Rather than promise antiquated jobs in highly polluting professions, put coal miners, etc. to work on the other end of the cycle, harvesting Carbon Dioxide from the air to make, among other things, concrete for National infrastructure and overseas exportation. I realize I may be oversimplifying this but simple isn’t a bad place to start. There are better solutions to bickering and building walls.
In the end, I couldn’t vote for Trump. My political choice, however, does not define me as a person. My values do that. In that regard, I am doing the best I can. We all are. We’d do well to realize that of each other. Our differences are far fewer than our opportunities. The potential to provide basic human needs to everyone is there; simply doing so would free us from our survival state and propel us to the next level of the Hierarchy – Love. Wouldn’t that be nice?