You Never Know What You Don’t Know

I’m from a bubble, as far as the eye can see. I am. I grew up in upper-middle class conservative white-and-only-white Ohio. I could count the number of people of color on one hand in my graduating class. I didn’t really have friends of color- not because I was against them, but because in my world they didn’t exist. It wasn’t until I got to college, and moved back to Columbus, Ohio, that I found diversity in my life.

I was surprised when Donald Trump won. It took me off-guard, although it really shouldn’t have. Just a couple of weeks before I had gone home for the first time in months, only to find Trump signs scattered in yards up and down the streets of my hometown. I hadn’t been expecting it, but I left with a weird feeling in my stomach. “This is why I left,” I said. “I really just don’t belong there.” When I spoke to people from home, I was taken back by anger. The establishment. The economy. Recovering from 2008. But most of all I was struck by what people didn’t know and didn’t care about. People didn’t know the history of ISIS and couldn’t place Iraq or Syria on a map. People couldn’t tell me who the Secretary of State was or what Trump’s tax plan even entailed. “What do you think of Trump’s feelings on climate change?” Most people I spoke to from home didn’t care. To be honest, to these people, none of that mattered. Growing up there, I should have realized that. All of these issues- like climate change and Syria, and maybe even taxes, don’t matter to these people. The only thing that matters is that Dad still can’t get a job and Mom has trouble paying taxes. They don’t care what Trump says about disabled people. They care about being able to pay for Christmas presents. When people do economically well- like in the fast paced economies of the cities- they have more time to care about what someone says about the LGBT community and minorities. They don’t feel as threatened by people coming to “take their jobs.” When people are stuck, they don’t care about the possibility of human rights violations. They care about if they can afford a new car. People want to drain the swamp, replace the establishment, and get in new laws- ignorant of the fact that unemployment is only 4.7%. (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/03/charts-whats-the-real-unemployment-rate.html). But that doesn’t matter. Because things are bad, aren’t they? I mean, Trump says that they are. So they must be. When I lived in that little bubble in northern Ohio, I might have thought that things were bad too if I never turned on another news channel other than CNN or FOX. People are overwhelmed by bad news on Facebook, Twitter, and popular news media without stepping back and realizing that the world isn’t ending, and things have actually gotten better economically since 2008. People in these towns don’t understand ISIS or Russia, and honestly nether did I. But their ignorance defines who they vote for. In some cases, people are ignorant of their privilege. Today, social media makes the problem worse. In an article for the Guardian published in October comparing Brexit to the rise of Trump, the article says, “Facebook’s news feed is designed to deliver information that users are more inclined to “like””. (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/05/trump-brexit-education-gap-tearing-politics-apart) This is true. Once again, people live in bubbles, ignorant of the rest of the world’s opinions. This article makes the point that the educated says the non educated know nothing, and the uneducated don’t want to be ruled by the elite. The class struggle is suddenly very real. The truth is, that I will never understand the reasoning of some of these people, but that’s because I haven’t lived their lives. I will never know what I don’t know, and I don’t know what they do know. But I also know that they don’t know what I know- and they won’t vote for that and don’t really care. That’s the scary part.

photo from: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-answer-tell-me-about-a-time-when-interview-que-1676084331

 

 

 

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