Whenever we meet people for the first time, consciously and subconsciously, we instantly begin to form an opinion of that person. Based on a criteria of our own choosing: How they talk, their clothes,body language, looks, colour of their skin, hair, eye contact. Also our opinion is based on how we are feeling at the time, what thoughts are running through our head. Everything about us at that moment affects our opinion of that person.
Since Donald Trump was elected President I`ve been witnessing something quite odd, amusing and worrying. It relates to the whole presidential election circus and almost exclusively, Americans. I`ve seen this happen numerous times.
I`m talking about when Americans meet for the first time and a new factor they are now using to form an opinion of each other. Politics surfaces in the conversation very quickly and once it does – the stinger – “Hey what about this Trump guy?” The answer to that question now seems crucial in forming an opinion about the person you`ve only just met.If your answer is along the lines of “Yeah! What a guy! About time” This doesn`t just mean you voted Republican anymore. It means you`re a potential bigot, racist, white trash, gun totting, ill educated all American guy.
“He`s crazy!” If you`re answer is along those lines, you`re not just a Democrat. Potentially you`re a wishy-washy Liberal, free hand out, unpatriotic, immigrant loving leftie.
“So, what do you think to Donald Trump?”
It would be wrong to say everyone uses that criteria to judge but I`ve see many instances where it is. The `I like Trump / I hate Trump` viewpoint is often used to completely sum up a stranger.
Two golfing buddies of mine have never played or spoken since their one and only discussion about Trump & Clinton. “Leftie loving commie” one said to me. “Typical Texas bigot” the other said to me. Knowing both men as I do, neither assumption was right.
Whilst in hospital recently, an American lady came to see me at the same time as a long-term friend was visiting me. They`d never met. Sure enough, Trump popped up quicker than you could say `How you doing Mick?. One `for`, the other `against`. What do you know? A chill came over the air as I reached for a scalpel to cut the atmosphere. One was a kindly God faring person. The other? – a kindly God faring person. They had that and more in common. But any chance of forming a friendship ended right there.
I find it funny in some ways because you can see it coming a mile away in the conversation. Then…. BOOM! But I also find it a little worrying in that we can stereotype someone so quickly. Often unfairly and incorrectly. Where`s the tolerance? Where`s the open-mindedness? Maybe it reflects the divisiveness in America that surrounded the two candidates.
Me? I`m English, leave me out, I`m just an observer. Anyway, we`ve got Corbyn or May to side with!
We`re English!….so on the fence!
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