My friend voted for Trump. We do not talk politics in any exact way. Instead we circle it, wary of conflict, protective of something else, perhaps the companionability of our temperaments and our curiosity about the paths each life has taken to arrive here as friends.
We do talk about the present state of the country. He laments the loss of community, the sense that everyone seems to be retreating indoors and into bright screens and that neighbors may only know a few people on their road. He watches a winnowing of knowledge with a sense of mourning — how to make a bench, clean a gun, repair anything, walk quietly in woods, talk without cell phones intruding, make do. He hates consumer culture and its incessant pursuit of gear, stuff, useless things, and has no time for celebrities and their trappings. He works hard with his hands, his body, his crisp, efficient mind. He values self-reliance. He extends his hand to his neighbors.
He does not yearn for some old America, a stereotype about Trump voters that attempts to reduce them to doddering caricatures. He misses simplicity. He feels overwhelmed by the storm of cultural and technological change, by the blowing up of boundaries, by the endlessness of uncertainties. He thinks in terms of what is local, of family, of being left alone. When the broader world comes to his life, it rarely carries good news. He knows he cannot create a life separate from the mile-a-nanosecond pace of change. He would like to live outside history but knows he cannot. A part of him is very worried about health care and the changes he sees on his land because of more heat and mild winters. He misses snow.
He is a better man in every way than the sordid wretch for whom he voted.
And now, at the point of the spear arcing downwards is Trump, who will never help this man or his family or leave them alone. As you read this, all the facts acknowledge that he and his family actively sought out the help of the Russian government to swing a Presidential election. They sought out the help of Vladimir Putin, a man who orders his opponents murdered, who subverts democracies, who funds white supremacist, anti-immigrant and fascist groups all over the West. Trump and his people actively subverted democracy. The President rules by whim, by grudge, by rancor and by what may enrich him. He knows nothing except TV, not history, not literature, not human beings. He surrounds himself with sycophants and fanatics, anti-Semites and racists. He lies as often as he breathes. He is preparing to fire Special Counsel Mueller and set himself up as an American tyrant.
A catastrophe is hurtling towards us. The spear may have begun its downward arc. My friend who voted for him will suffer as will we all.