So, it was close to a year ago that I went to a fourth of July outdoor concert and walked around the lake with my friend, Al. Al was the first person in my circle who was an admitted Trump supporter. As we circled the lake Al outlined his reasons for supporting Trump and opposing Hillary.
Al is a former Navy seal and he began he rationale for supporting Trump because of his intense dislike of Hillary Clinton as a result of her inaction in the Benghazi debacle. As a military man, Al could not forgive Hillary for leaving our people in the embassy unsupported. Al had other reasons for not supporting Hillary, but my sense was that they began and ended with military matters. Likewise, Al supported Trump because he was a successful business man in the toughest real estate market in the United States. Al is a business man, first and foremost, so that makes sense.
I don’t see Al all that often, but I ran into him this week and I congratulated him on his candidate winning the presidency, and asked him what his assessment was after the first six months. Al was impressed with Trump’s toughness under unrelenting pressure from the leftish press. He commented that Trump had passed lots of legislation, and done several executive orders that helped free up business from regulation. I agree with the second part of that sentence, but I don’t think gutting regulation to help business is in our long term best interest, but that is another debate.
So I walk away from my conversation with Al and I wonder, how is it we live in the same place, yet see the world so differently. His facts seem to be completely different for the set I use to form my opinions. And here is the heart of the matter. There is a whole segment of our society that I never cross paths with, and with which I have little contact, yet these are the people who look at Trump and see a hounded hero doing his best to transform our dysfunctional government.
Cut to yesterday, Friday, 16 June in the middle of the afternoon as I drive to take a friend to the airport. MPR announces that the jury in the Jeronimo Perez trial has come back. After a pregnant pause, the announce says that the jury has found officer Perez “not guilty”. After a brief burst of low informal English I am at a complete state of disbelief. I can’t possibly see how the jury reached that verdict.
During the trial I heard that the defense said that Philando Castile was high on marijuana and not following directions. What bullshit. If Castile could drive a car, he certainly was not “tuned up” enough to not follow the directions of an officer. No, for me the real issue is that it seems to be an acceptable defense to say, “I was afraid for my life,” and because it is an African American man – that is an acceptable defense. No part of this story makes sense to me. I am so disappointed, frustrated, and profoundly apologetic.
So, this is my year of living outside of the reality that the rest of the community. I appear to be the Stranger in a Strange land. Not good.