So, you request a lyft and when the driver pulls up, you notice a blue and white “Trump” sticker on the left side of his back window. On the right side of the back window is a Pittsburgh Steelers sticker. Well, this guy has made at least two poor choices in life. Let’s focus on the first one. That Trump sticker…in my mind, I was gonna tell this man “I’m black as hell, I can’t ride in this car” and chuck up the “retro spectro” peace sign. My right foot was stepping back as I was leaning forward to put my duffle bag in his trunk so I was clearly conflicted. Why did I decide to go through with the lyft ride? Well, to have a conversation.
Politics did not come up during the ride. That was intentional. Rather, we discussed his car and how he just had it cleaned earlier in the day. I told him it smelled good. He took it as a compliment because he had a fear that the scent would be too strong. Jon Bon Jovi was playing from his radio. He apologized and turned it down, to which I told him “it’s fine.” He then told me it’s refreshing to see that there are young people into classic rock. Before starting his night, he had dinner with his wife. Overall, his day was productive. As I mentioned before, not once did politics come up.
When we got to my destination, he got out of the car and made sure that I got help with my baggage if I needed it. I didn’t need help. I actually didn’t want the help. The last thing we spoke about was State College and how tranquil it is. In this topic, I got the information I needed in order to determine why THIS person supported Trump. This man was raised and lived his whole life 20 minutes away from State College. For those of you unfamiliar with State College, this area is basically in the center of Pennsylvania; four hours away from any major cities.
I understood. Now, with that being said, he can still kick rocks, with no shoes or socks for supporting Trump. What he doesn’t know is that every decision that affects me in this administration will affect him because to the 1%, blue collar and black is practically the same thing; useless. BUT I understand why he has the position he has. I fully believe that in order to succeed the opposition, you must understand the opposition. Interacting with a middle aged white man from The Middle of Nowhere, PA, you can’t get any closer to the Trump voter standard (unless this person is a white woman but that’s a different story).
I guess a part of me hopes that this interaction will linger in his mind enough to create a change in his political thought process. That’s what exposure does to people and the success of my type of activism relies heavily on that. I know there are some people reading this like “yea, that takes way too much patience that I don’t need to have. It couldn’t have been me.” Honestly, I didn’t think it could be me either and not everyone needs to take that path. But, as much as we need the people who boo and turn their backs, we also need the people willing to engage in dialogue. That ride cemented which type of person I am. I’m not 100% sure that I like it, but I can work with it.