It has changed the way I view many of my friends, my government, and my country… all for the worse.
A partial list of what shocked me:
- Friends on Facebook who defended confederate statues and claim that slavery “wasn’t so bad,” and that it’s not about fighting to keep people in chains, but instead about “southern pride and heroism!” Pride in what? Fighting a war to keep people enslaved? Seceding from the US to do so? And yet, people defend keeping statues of confederate Generals in areas now populated with African-Americans and are shocked that this would be an issue to them.
- Several of my friends think that anyone who wants to emigrate to the US from south of the border is a criminal. All are just waiting to join MS-13, sell drugs, and kill people. Keep in mind, the only illegals they know have helped them with housework, fixing their homes, cooking their food… all at very reasonable prices. They seem to forget about these people. Oddly enough, they feel very differently about “other” immigrants. Someone wants to immigrate from say… Norway? Oh, well “that’s different.”
- It shocked me to learn that several of my friends thought it was perfectly OK to take away children from their parents because they were, “criminals.” Zero empathy for either the kids or the parents. They equated people seeking refuge from certain death to drunk drivers, drug dealers and murderers. When I argued that there’s no way you can make that ridiculous comparison, I got dozens of responses calling me a variety of names I don’t care to repeat, and then blocked by a handful of these Facebook “friends.”
- People are just generally meaner and angrier now. Disagree with someone and often you get someone in your face, spitting with their face turning red, threatening you. On social media, I get angry and insulting responses delivered in all caps if I offer an opposing opinion in a respectful manner.
- The press has been undermined. Trump has made it OK for millions to call anything that they disagree with, “fake news from the lame-stream liberal media.” It used to be if you had a fact, you could at least get acknowledgment that maybe they were wrong or the information they were working from had been discredited (think Pizzagate). Not anymore. Many people now only believe what Fox News, InfoWars and Rush Limbaugh tell them.
- Science in the US is now mocked as a “liberal plot” by tens of millions of people, largely due to it being disparaged by these same news sources. 1,000 plus scientists agree on something? “Nah, that’s just the liberal scientific community’s agenda”—don’t fall for those “Deep State” lies. The US likely has fewer citizens that believe in hard data and science than any other country on the planet.
- The people who lead the government are clearly working on behalf of only the top .01% and not even attempting to hide it. Think Betsy DeVos getting rid of student loan protections, The EPA’s Scott Pruitt (who sued to get rid of it) gutting it so that corporations and polluters can do just about whatever they want. Mick Mulvaney, the head of the CFPB (who also wants to eliminate it) gutting much of its powers to protect citizens from predatory business practices. Think offshore drilling approved anywhere off the US coast, except near Trump properties. Think coal being pushed as an energy source, despite there being little demand for it and it being a huge contributor to climate change. Try to tell some people this and they will tell you they are just taking back our government from the “Deep State.”
- We’re now pawns of Russia. Russia managed to influence our elections and continues to do their best to incite a US civil war via social media. And about 40% of America is fine with it because it helped their guy win. A war fought without bullets, but with information that’s tearing apart the fabric of the country, pitting friends and relatives against each other. Putin got exactly what he wanted from a Trump election, and is now sitting back waiting for the house divided against itself to collapse and lose it’s world influence. If this happens, it will allow Russia to dramatically increase their power over Europe and the world. And what is our President doing about it? Praising him. Oh, and the same for Kim Jung Un, who US Intelligence sources claim is lying about his intention to denuclearize North Korea.
- There is so much more, but I don’t want to make this answer too long for people to read. In short, the US is being exploited by a con man who knows how to manipulate the kind of people who don’t care if facts check out as long as they agree with them.
Unfortunately, the election of Trump revealed what many people were hiding under a thin veneer of fake civility. It exposed a lot of people’s inner racist and the seething anger they had been hiding in more civil times. Trump managed to empower these people… and now they now feel quite comfortable being open about it.
Mob mentality reveals character; people feel much more comfortable doing things as a group that they would never do as individuals.
We’re now seeing the equivalent of an angry racist, xenophobic, fascist mob in America.
And it’s sad to see it from people you had thought were your friends.
Errol Greene studied at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he is the author of "Get Over Your Ex NOW", living i Atlanta, GA. In his own words: "I did all the dumb stuff so you don't have to."
Originally published on Quora as one of over a hundred answers in the thread What is it like to live in the United States under Donald Trump? Check for more...