During a March Trump Rally, Trump-supporters forcibly removed Nate Terani, a Muslim U.S. Navy veteran, for displaying a sign that read, “Stop Hate Speech Against Muslims!” According to reports, the crowd also yelled at him to “get a job,” which in light of the honorable work Mr. Terani does, should be a humiliation to everyone who was quick to profile him.
First, let’s take a closer look at the psychology behind the average Trump-supporter because for many, it’s absolutely perplexing that anyone would vote for a man who is so blatantly racist and misogynistic, and known to lie on nearly a daily basis. One’s first reaction is to refer to these individuals as “stupid,” but that is neither accurate nor fair. “Ignorant” perhaps (this is according to various psychologists), but ignorance is different from stupidity.
Trump-supporters, like Sanders-supporters, are sick of the establishment-government, and like Sanders-supporters, they’re clearly able to see that the “American dream,” whatever your idea of it may be, has been in jeopardy for some, and shattered for others, for quite a while now. Unfortunately, in many cases Trump-supporters are individuals who have just woken up to this fact, and without knowing what’s truly going on in the world, they support the candidate who says all the brazen things the other candidates won’t; who cares if it’s realistic, politically correct, or whether or not there’s truth behind it.
Trump, having little understanding of politics, is appealing to citizens who also have little understanding of politics. After interviewing various psychologists on the matter, the Washington Post broke down Trump’s appeal thusly:
We like people who talk big.
We like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve, even when they aren’t.
And we don’t like people who don’t look like us.
While many people share at least some of these personality traits, according to the Washington Post’s report, they are apparently prevalent in Trump-supporters. There are other complex factors that go into his appeal as well, such as the “nostalgia” he invokes, as the Washington Post put it, which was described in better detail by Gregg Henriques Ph.D. at Psychology Today.
According to Dr. Henriques, Trump “embodies a narcissistic fantasy and defense against anxiety that is present in Traditional Christian White Males (TCWM), especially those who are disaffected (i.e., who have lower than average socio-economic status).” Since the 1960s, TCWM’s have experienced a loss in power and dominance, especially at the level of what is considered as socially justifiable.
…For the Founding Fathers, the idea of “equality” between the races or sexes was such an anathema as to not even be worthy of serious consideration.
Over the past 50-years or more, females, African-Americans, various other minorities, those in the LGBT community, and those in secular/nonreligious movements, have been slowly gaining the same amount of rights and power as TCWM’s (though it’s obviously still a struggle). This has resulted in increased anxiety and resentment within the TCWM population, especially among those who are disaffected.
Trump mostly seems to appeal to angry white men, and considering his candidacy is not driven by a clear ideology, he is much better described as a “cult of personality.” Trump represents what TCWM’s want—money, power, access to beautiful women—and by supporting Trump, they live vicariously through him. His simple outlook on life, which is that failure means you are weak and stupid, is easy for TCWM’s to understand, and allows them to disregard empathy when considering the plights of others.
Click the link above for Dr. Henriques’ full report at Psychology Today. It’s actually quite interesting.
Knowing this information doesn’t exactly make it easy to accept, however it does explain how a crowd of Trump-supporters might justify to themselves the removal of a US veteran from a Trump rally by force because he was spreading a message of non-violence. While Trump and his followers tout their support for the men and women who’ve risked their lives for America, this support apparently only applies to Christian soldiers.
After looking at Mr. Terani’s record, it’s safe to say he has most likely done more for the United States and its veterans than the majority of the Trump supporters who self-righteously removed him from their presence when they didn’t approve of his ideas. According to Colin Taylor of Occupy Democrats:
“He [Terani] served his country for over ten years as the Special Assistant to the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, a member of the Presidential Honor Guard, and worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency before hanging up his uniform in 2006.
“After he served his country, he dedicated his life to the men and women he served with. He is the Veterans Coordinator at an Arizona nonprofit called Soldier’s Best Friend, which provides and trains service and therapeutic dogs to our warriors who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.”
You cannot call yourself a true patriot and supporter of the military, such as Trump-supporters do, without holding respect for a man like Nate Terani, and yet he was treated with callous disrespect due to ignorant profiling that was the result of Terani’s plea for reason. At the same time, as previously mentioned, the qualities described by the Washington Post and Dr. Henriques are prevalent among Trump-supporters, meaning not all will fit the descriptions above, and to claim that they do is also profiling, however it provides a better understanding of the mentalities that drive the actions we’ve begun to see all too often at Trump Rallies.
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