The Collapse of the American Family & The Rise of Trumpism: They ARE Connected!

By Shlomo Maital

   From Wikipedia:   “Trumpism is a term for the political ideologies, social emotions, style of governance,[9] political movement and set of mechanisms for acquiring and keeping power that are associated with Donald Trump and his political base.  …Some commentators have rejected the populist designation for Trumpism and instead view it as part of a trend towards a new form of fascism, with some referring to it as explicitly fascist and others as authoritarian and illiberal.   Others have more mildly identified it as akin to fascism.

 For a very long time now, I’ve been trying to understand how 74 million people (!) voted for Trump, this evil ignorant self-seeking kleptocrat.  Finally, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrives with some help.

   Brooks notes, in his July 29 column, “what’s ripping American families apart?”,  that at least 27 per cent of Americans are estranged from a member of their own family, and about 40 per cent of Americans (two in five) have experienced estrangement at some point.  Most commonly – estrangement between adult children and one or both parents, usually initiated by the child.  Brooks quotes one woman as saying “I did not get the mother I deserve!”

   Why?  Joshua Coleman, a psychologist, explains that in our individualistic culture, “it’s all about me!”, family has become a launchpad for personal fulfillment, where once it was a bond of mutual duty and obligation.

    It must be quite terrible to lose the love and support of a family.  It leaves a vacuum, a large empty ache.  And hence – enter politics.  Joining a tribe of Trumpers can replace a ravaged family.  And it has nothing to do with the behavior or views of the terrible individual at the center of it.  It is about the other Trumpers, who become a united family, join rallies, join social media, buy in to conspiracies, reject masks and vaccines.  THEY become family, in lieu of genetic ones. 

  And here is the basic problem.  Trumpism will not go away.  The disastrous failure of Trump to manage his country is irrelevant.  As long as Trumpers have their ‘family’,  it is here to stay.  Brooks quotes a Franciscan friar, who said, “if we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”   Trump supporters have pain.  White people see their supremacy fading.  Poorly educated see their jobs taken by immigrants.  Religious Christians see their faith threatened by ‘separation of church and state’.  They have pain.  And indeed, they will assuredly transmit that pain, (stop the steal!), and will continue to do so,  when the pain cannot be transformed.

  When political affiliation replaces (to some degree) family affiliation,  emotion dominates.  And when emotion dominates, policies, achievements, competence, all become irrelevant.  It’s all about our ‘tribe’.  This is a massive threat to American democracy, and to democracy elsewhere (because Trumpism is being replicated in Brazil, Hungary, and elsewhere).