I read with interest and concern the March 9 columns by David Brooks (“Still time to find Door 3”) and J. Peder Zane (“Why Trump is just a symptom”) on the appeal, impact and context of Donald Trump’s candidacy for president.
Zane did a particularly good job of reminding us of the plight of economically displaced working-class white men, who find it increasingly difficult to provide for themselves and their families, roles that anchor most men in a sense of worth, value and purpose. The physical and emotional toll, and the anger, shame and disillusionment that result from this displacement, cannot be overstated. From this place, the journey to despair and violence, to self or others, is not a long one.
Trump’s success in giving voice to this suffering without offering any meaningful solutions is amazing.
Now, we are invited to remember a grand past or imagine future greatness, and depending on the candidate, given slogans to aspire to or scapegoats to blame. Neither repairs or strengthens the fabric of our democracy.
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I’m waiting for a candidate to acknowledge the predicament of displaced workers, help the nation accept the consequences of the fundamental changes in our economic structure and mobilize us to create real solutions for those who suffer most.