So like a lot of people, I've watched with amazement at Donald Trump's lead in the Republican primaries.
What's surprised — and scared — me is the level of anger his supporters feel, as well as their embrace of the solutions Mr. Trump offers.
You can't just attribute this to celebrity appeal. It's more than that.
This article by Amanda Taub from the website Vox does an interesting job of looking at the psychology of not just Trump's supporters, but at a broader trend in American politics.
In a way, it's a look at a significant part of our nation's soul. I think it oversimplifies at times, but it gets to the heart of some real issues.
The main one is fear. What's interesting is that Mr. Trump's supporters are more afraid of ISIS than they are of car accidents. And I'm guessing you know which one is more likely to kill you on U.S. soil.
What I found most telling is that what seems like racism is really a fear of anything that threatens. And so much feels threatening to the white what-used-to-be-middle-class.
There are gay people getting married. Black people are standing up to police brutality. Immigrants want to come here. Jobs are moving overseas.
And the people who aren't afraid of those same things have been frankly doing a terrible job of talking to the people who are.
They — we — call names: homophobic, racist, privileged, xenophobic.
It's easy to call names. Then we can look past each other and keep yelling slogans that the "other" won't hear.
And while I may think those fears have no rationality behind them, so what?
Fear isn't rational, and we have to stop talking to people who are afraid as if they're thinking with anything but their heart.
These are people who see everything they have valued or relied on slipping away. If I felt that way, who knows what I'd do? It probably wouldn't be pretty.
So here's the idea I really want you to steal:
Someone with different resources than I have needs to start a media campaign that can help us look at the "other" as being like us.
Maybe a black screen with a woman talking about how she worries about violence on TV and its effects on her kids. And then, slowly, we see that the woman talking is wearing a hajib.
Maybe it's a gay man talking about how hard divorce is on kids.
Or a black activist who worries about finding a job.
Essentially it would be a whole slew of people with common dreams and common problems. For no other reason than to make the "other" into "us."
The thing is, these have to be real people, and their talk can't be scripted. And they can't be seen until the message has already been taken in. If it feels fake, no one will connect.
I've never been a meme girl, but the rest of this Lent — and maybe beyond — I'll be looking to figure out how to create some memes on social media that can do this.
But if you know someone who can take this farther, please do.
This isn't about an election. It's about our future as a country. Because if fear wins, it won't be a place any of us want to live.