One thing that J. Peder Zane said in his July 6 column “Casting Trump backers as ignorant animals” is correct: It’s a dangerous time for democracy. But while mocking “the elites” and experts for calling both “Brexit” and the rise of Donald Trump wrong, he misses the point: the reason they got it wrong.
The problem is there are millions of ignorant, racist, xenophobic people in this country, and most of them vote. The Founding Fathers knew the importance of an informed citizenry. These people are not that.
They are, rather, the tangible result of a half century of decline, neglect and misplaced priorities (failed schools, failed families, failed or absent government) combined with the meteoric rise of the alternative: escapism in the form of drugs, entertainment or consumerism.
Donald Trump’s core supporters don’t care that he has no experience, expresses his prejudice proudly and lies 60 percent of the time. He’s a show; he makes them feel good.
Similarly, the experts had reasons to expect the British electorate would reject Brexit, but the voters who showed up had feelings they could not be reasoned out of.
We are indeed in perilous times. “We the People” are no longer the infallible weather vane the Founding Fathers counted on.