Trump, Ignorance and VW Bugs

Before the election the establishment and elites bombarded us with the notion that Trump supporters were non-educated (= not college graduates) white working class and rural.  As the post-mortem on actual voting continues, more of the E and E narrative falls apart.  Trump out performed not only Hillary in the general, he beat Romney’s numbers among basically every demographic he was supposed to lose.  Twice as many Muslims supported Trump as Romney.  He won more of the black vote and the Latino vote than Romney, and he held even with Romney with women.  

When you consider both the intensity of the assault on Trump mounted by the E and E’s and the serious character flaws Trump presented to the electorate… well to say the numbers don’t add up is an understatement.  This election will give plenty of people plenty of material to study for a long time.  In fact the “educated” part of the electorate have already begun to deconstruct the results and to explain them to the rest of us.  I want to offer my own bit of semi-educated commentary.  I figure I’ve got as much insight into the result as the E and E’s.  I may even change the mantra of the power structure and culture shapers going forward because as I think about it, this was really part of the pivot that just happened in our culture.  The people in power, the ones I call the Establishment and the Elites, the ones who believe they know better than the majority of the country – how we should think, talk, eat, live, and behave; these people are all “educated.”  They are also the ones who looked out on the country and declared Trump’s candidacy Dead on Arrival.  And they were dead wrong on every prediction they made.  

As with most “educated” people they are reeling at the revelation of how much they don’t know.  The particular pride and pitfall of being “educated” is the belief that one knows either everything or every important thing and therefore can’t be shocked by anything. Trump is a shock to their system like no other because he is their ignorance incarnate. 

When I was a teenager I started dating a redneck girl.  I came from very smart, college educated folks, and even though I grew up in the country I grew up believing we were smarter than the average yokel in our county.  I don’t really know where this feeling came from; it certainly wasn’t something my mom and dad taught me.  I think it was just the atmosphere of my home.  We loved books and learning and went to museums and talked about important things like World War II and current events when the extended family got together for holidays.  We were college graduates and the kids were all on their way to college too. Somehow in my mind this translated into “smarter” and made the leap from there to “better.” Then I met Tina and her family. 

They laughed at my vocabulary. They poked fun at my historical/cultural references. I maintained my inner conviction that, while they may have produced a hot daughter that was all they had on me. I was still smarter and therefore better. But that all changed one day when they asked me to do a relatively easy automotive maintenance task. There was a car in the driveway and it needed coolant. Would I go and put some water in it?  I knew this was a test and I knew I wanted to please them and prove myself worthy of the hot daughter so I grabbed a pitcher of water and headed outside. 

The car was a VW bug. I assumed the game of “stump the chump” was set up to catch me not knowing the engine was in the rear so I went straight to the back and opened the hatch – I’ll show you you bunch o’ rednecks – And then I was undone. I looked up and down and side to side and there was no place to pour in the coolant. I wasn’t going to give up. I knew they were watching and laughing. I searched every crack and crevice of that engine looking for a place to pour in the water. It was a good half hour before I conceded defeat and admitted I didn’t know where to put coolant in the car. Then they laughed at me. VW Bug engines are air cooled they said. No water. No radiator. Everybody with any sense knows that!  Dumb educated boy. It didn’t help one bit for me to tell them that that piece of information was not common sense but specialized and acquired information. They just laughed more. 

Finding out what I didn’t know humbled me and changed my relationship with my eventual in-laws. I found out that there were probably a lot of important things I didn’t know; things that might prove vital if I was going to keep a car and/or my life running. It showed me that there was just as much to learn in a redneck’s dirt driveway in the hills as there was to learn on a chalkboard under flourescent lights in a classroom. It’s a lesson that’s served me well over a lifetime. I think about it every time I see a VW Bug. They aren’t pretty cars but they remind me to stay humble and open minded.  Maybe Trump will do the same for our nation and the E, E and E’s.