Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Benton County Neighbors Vote for Trump

Back in November of 2015, when the prospect of a Trump Presidency seemed a nightmare fantasy, I watched video of one of his rallies in which, holding his right hand at an awkward angle, he jerked and gyrated in an hideous mockery of a disabled reporter, Serge Kovaleski. I was disgusted, repulsed; the idea that any decent human being, let alone a candidate for President of the United States of America, would do this was unbelievable. I was frankly incredulous.

Kovaleski, a Pulitzer Prize winner, who has arthrogryposis, had the audacity to contradict Trump’s charge that “thousands and thousands” of people cheered in Jersey City as the Twin Towers collapsed. Like so many of Mr. Trump’s incendiary claims about immigrants and minorities, that claim was unequivocally false.

Over the course of his campaign, Trump demonstrated over and over again that he was untrustworthy and intellectually and temperamentally unfit to hold the highest office in the land. He continues to do that to this day.

So much has already been written about why Donald Trump won the election, from the decline of the Middle Class, to the xenophobia created by Trump and his allies. But what I question, and what distresses me most — besides the prospect of a Trump Presidency— is why almost 60% of my neighbors here in Benton County voted for Trump. As I've written previously, "The Mid-Columbia is of and by the government."

We here in Benton County, like the rest of Eastern Washington, survive and thrive as a result of massive government spending on water projects, the agriculture that's possible as a result, bomb making and the cleaning up of the mess made doing it, and the funding of leading edge science by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The election of Donald Trump is a repudiation of all that government has done for us -- it is like killing the goose that laid those golden eggs, but in this case, we are the geese.

How to explain it? Surely my neighbors cannot be so ignorant of our government's largess and how we benefit from it. I know for a fact that my friends in agriculture realize the benefits of Eastern Washington's vast network of government-funded dams and waterways. I am less sure that they understand the leading edge climate science performed at PNNL -- republicans seem either immune to, or in stark denial of science in general, and especially climate science.

So I have to ask myself, were we so afraid of “others” that we willingly abandoned our values and entrusted our Nation to such an odious demagogue? If so, shame on us.

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