by Dr. Denise R. Ames
Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my forthcoming book (January 2020), Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.
Join me in this 7 part blog series in discovering how I came to studying, researching, teaching, and writing about the divide. See the divide play out in your life as well!
Experiencing the Cultural Divide: My Story, Part 2
I was appalled at Trump’s scandals. But in my family, scandal was part of the colorful stories we told. Since so many of us made mistakes and exhibited scandalous behavior at one time or another, it was largely considered part of life. We didn’t judge these behaviors as reason for rejection of the accused from the extended family, since few (if any) of us escaped inappropriate behavior. I was not surprised that Trump’s scandals were condemned by the voters, but they still voted for him.
I was also appalled at Trump’s treatment of women. Although our family followed the typical social practices of “men in charge” of their families, it was plain to see that my grandmother was the real matriarch. I was lucky to learn from many “strong” women in the family. Even though many male members of my family talked about “ruling the roast,” women, in their quiet and non-confrontational way, acknowledged these proud but empty declarations of male supremacy, all the while knowing who really was “ruling the roast” behind the scenes.
Our extended family was tribal. We stuck together, helped each other, and distrusted outsiders. As a youngster, my friends were my cousins, and I didn’t venture outside that cocoon until high school. Trump was able to create a virtual family with his bright red baseball caps and assorted political paraphernalia proclaiming tribal allegiance and membership in the Trump family.
Many pundits were perplexed about why Trump, who was a New York billionaire, resonated with white working class people. My family admired those who made lots of money but were “still one of them.” One of my cousins, a multi-millionaire, comes to funerals and family reunions and is greeted with comments such as “see, he is still family.”
Trump wore expensive suits, but still fit in. His language and demeanor didn’t have an air of elitism, which resonated with his “common man” supporters. It was a validation that they were worthy and part of his community: wealth, glamour, prestige, and accomplishment. They were part of “Trumpland.”
About the Author:
Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.
For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95