I knew I was taking a chance of disrupting our yearly neighborhood gathering. It's always so nice to block off the street and get everyone to show up with some salad or a desert and stand around the grill talking about the way we all get along on our little strip of Oakland. I decided that, if I was ever going to ask a Trump supporter about his views, I would make it the guy on the corner who happens to be the only other Bronco fan I know in this city. Maybe he's got a thing for orange, who knows? I decided to find out.
"So who do you like in November?" was my opening volley.
He grinned a little, and replied, "You're not gonna like it."
I gave him credit for knowing his audience, but I assured him that I was not looking for a debate, just curious.
"I'm a Trump guy," he confirmed.
"Do you mind if I ask why?"
"Well, Hillary Clinton is a politician. And all these other guys who have messed everything up over the past however long are politicians."
I could not argue with that assertion, necessarily.
"Donald Trump is not a politician."
And that was his line of reasoning. Politicians had messed everything up, and it would take someone who was not a politician to straighten them out. It made as much sense as anything that had come out of the Trump campaign for its entirety. I chose not to ask him what particular portion of the Trump plan was going to put things right. I promised him that I wasn't looking for a debate.
Not twenty-four hours later, I found myself back at my school site doing some early prep work for the coming year and ran into a fellow teacher who was busily putting things back into order in her room. We made a little chit-chat before she volunteered that she was still not quite over losing her chance to vote for Bernie. "I don't know what I'm going to do," she complained.
I suggested that she could vote for Hillary Clinton. That suggestion was met with a polite death stare that was followed by her assurance that she could "never trust her." She said she would never vote for Trump, but in her mind, there was no lesser of two evils. In this particular corner of the universe, there was no distinction between what Hillary was and did and what Donald J Framp and said.
I remembered standing in the glow of the streetlight the night before and my promise not to debate. I looked for what might have become common ground. Without pointing to events or utterances that I found personally objectionable, I looked for a way to resolve this vision of the world. I suppose I might have had more success arguing the existence of God, or at least the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And we have three more months to wait this one out. In the meantime, how about those Mets?