I’ve been watching some of the president’s rallies; listening to the troublesome rhetoric. I hear the chants of “lock her up” as if were a broken record or a CD that has a scratch embedded in it. I hear the leader of the free world stirring up fear, anger and hatred to get his supporters to go out and cast their votes for his party…which is not the socially and fiscally conservative party that it had at one time proclaimed themselves to be.
And as much as I don’t want to give attention to the rallies, I had to understand what the draw is to Trump that keeps his base in lock step and completely loyal to him. I realize that it doesn’t matter what he says or does, they will follow and support him. It doesn’t matter that he lies constantly. It doesn’t matter how many investigations he’s under. It doesn’t matter that he refuses to show his taxes like he promised and never did. It doesn’t matter what his moral character is. It doesn’t matter who he insults, denigrates or belittles and they don’t seem to mind who he pledges his allegiance to.
His core supporters are loyal to him and they will give him a pass for every single questionable thing that he says and does…and I keep asking myself why.
One of the things I noticed is that he uses the term “we” frequently when he addresses his audience. It’s a simple pronoun but when used correctly, it is a powerful tool. I call this the “We” Factor. The “We” Factor is a very effective tool because it endears the speaker to his audience. When used, it bonds the audience to the presenter, making it appear that the speaker is one of them. It’s a useful tool and the president wields it brilliantly. He will use the term to address his base, and then skillfully direct the attendees to become angry with anyone that he deems a threat to his policies and subsequently, his presidency.
When he assumed the role of the commander in chief, he addressed his followers by saying “we” won. When he addresses them now, he says that the press is “our” enemy. He will say that the democrats will take away “your” healthcare even though it was common knowledge that he was doing everything in his power to dismantle Obamacare without having a replacement. When he uses the pronoun “your” he is directing the anger of the crowd to a designated group. And after he uses the pronouns “yours” and “we” he then begins to systematically attack the people that he deems his enemies.
And his base will cheer and applaud him which in turn feeds his ego. His attendees at the rallies don’t stop to think that he has dedicated weeks of his time to whip them up into a frenzy in the hopes of getting them to vote and to become angry at imaginary foes.
He will say “us” to pull in his base and then direct them at anyone that he deems a foe to himself.
The attendees have never stopped to think that he is spending more time campaigning than governing even if that governing is for them and them alone.
Mr. Trump does not have the capacity to govern or institute policies that will lift the nation in its entirety. He needs to have a base to placate his ego. He needs to hear the cheers of the crowd, even if the cheers are for the wrong reasons.
He has successfully polarized the nation into people that support him versus people that do not. And indeed, it is sad that we are witnessing the division of a nation.
We are in desperate need of someone that will lead us; someone that will bring us together instead of pitting us against one another. We need someone that will embrace every single citizen of the United States instead of a third of the country. We need someone to bring a sense of humility and pride to the oval office.
Mr. Trump has masterfully shown us that the moral fabric of our country is somewhat weak and that some of us lack the capacity and possibly the humanity to care for others. He has skillfully taken us to a place that no great country should have ever gone.
And with that being said, the “We” Factor is a powerful and useful tool.
But instead of using it to divide, it can also be used to unite. The “We” Factor can be used to unite all of us that feel as if we have been left behind. We can be united in compassion for individuals that are in need while simultaneously maintaining the safety that our nation requires.
We can be united behind candidates that are running to make this country great for all of us and not a designated few.
We all can enjoy the fruits of this land and rejoice in its rich diversity. We can lift each other up because when one of us falls, we all fall.
We can protect the rights of women and provide affordable healthcare for everyone. We can protect our land from the effects of climate change to ensure that we have a world for our children and their children.
We can be a nation of inclusiveness which is what made this country great from the beginning. Our country never needed to be made great again because we already were. But admittedly, we can be better.
“We” is a powerful pronoun.
But “We” can bring about unity…or “We” can sow division.
So what kind of country do you want us to be?
~ J.L. Whitehead