I was up early and walking down a remote beach as dawn arrived. I meandered, dodging the incoming tide. It was coming on fast, but I felt no sense of urgency. All of that is gone from my life.
I found a wonderful piece of beaverwood and carried it like a staff.
Some writing in the sand caught my eye. The surf was lapping at its edges.
I suspected it was the usual beach writing fare: sweet horny math.
I adjusted my route to read the writing.
There it was: “Trump 2020.”
The reality of this statement instantly cohered to me: a Trump supporter had beat me to the beach in the early morning and left behind his or her terse political conviction that practically no one else would see before the tide washed it away. Incredible! What a battle cry for the sole benefit of the believer! What was going on in the person’s mind at that particular moment at the ocean’s edge? There you are, on the beach, at dawn, a new day and you think of…Trump?
I’ve read millions of words from studies and commentaries why people voted for Trump and continue to support him. Anger. Fear. Racism. Fox News. Bad food and reality TV for 20 years. Declining white and male status. Economic dislocation. Jingoism. Democratic Party ineptitude. Hillary. Pills.
Nothing seems to definitely answer the question. It might be unanswerable. It may take a century when historians get a crack at it with the perspective that comes with time.
I had the beaverwood in hand and could have easily scratched out Trump 2020. Or I could have written a pithy or profane retort. I could have expressed my main political conviction: “workers of the world unite.”
That’s not the paradigm I’m into, however. It gets us nowhere. We’re there now and seemingly on the brink.
I wanted to meet the writer in the act of writing, right there on the beach, and talk, listen, ask.
I walked past the statement and reengaged with the ocean and not sociology.
An hour later I returned, and the statement was gone. The tide has erased it.
There was something in that, I think.