“We Want Our Country Back”

As I’ve said, I’m reading the post-election analysis selectively. I’m not much interested in articles that attempt to figure out what Trump will actually do. There are only two constants with Donald: his need to be adored, and his zeal for maximizing his family’s wealth.  Anything else is up for grabs, depending on whose support he wants to buy at the moment. You can’t even predict based on past decisions — there will be no “Trump Doctrine”. Just as he regularly flip flopped during the campaign, he will do that during his presidency. He’ll go one way today to satisfy an interest group, and make a completely diametrically opposed policy decision at a future point when he’s trying to win points with someone else.

But I do read the articles that attempt to explain the thinking of Trump voters. In one, I read that his angry white blue collar supporters think their forebears built this country, and they want it back from non-white Americans whom they view as usurpers.

My mind instantly recalled an episode of the hit HBO mob drama, The Sopranos. Tony drags his snarky adolescent son AJ to  Newark neighborhood that once belonged to Italian immigrants, but is now filled with blacks and Latinos. Crime back in the day was mob-related: shake downs and protection money, prostitution, wars between different factions of the prominent mob families. Crime in the new era is drug-related. In the middle of the neighborhood is an old parish church, a beautiful structure with stained glass windows and soaring marble arches. Inside, Tony tries to get AJ to focus on the craftsmanship, the design, the execution in difficult-to-handle materials like marble. Your grandfather built this place, he says passionately to AJ. He and his guys were skilled carvers and stonemasons. They worked with their hands. They knew how to do things. They had a sense of pride. Nobody could build this today.

AJ fixes his father with a bored stare. “Yeah? So.”

Neither Trump voters nor Tony Soprano want to hear “Yeah? So.” in response to their longing for a return to the past.  Trump voters went all in for a return to the 1950’s, and even Tony Soprano wasn’t as foolish or gullible as that.

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