Saturday, June 25, 2016
A postcard from "Flyover Country"
That's not what this lifelong Midwestern blogger has been experiencing.
Here are two conversations overhead on the el just this past workweek. The first was Wednesday morning, the second was Thursday evening. For the record, I've never heard anyone on the train say anything at all about Trump -- pro or con -- until this week.
Wednesday: Four young (between 13 and 15) black girls head to Michigan Avenue for a day of fun. As the train rounded Wabash and Trump Tower came into view, one of the girls announced, "Come November they're gonna change that to HILLARY TOWER!" Her friends laughed and applauded in agreement. There was a "girl power" pride to their swagger that made me as happy as my 16-year-old nephew's passion for Bernie Sanders. I love it when politics is relevant to the young.
Thursday: A white family (Mom, Dad, Uncle and two very little girls) are riding home to the suburbs from a day in the city. The girls are very tired -- the younger one is dozing off on her mom's shoulder, the older sister is staring blankly out the window as dad rubs her shoulders. A rather noisy man boards the train and speaks loudly into his phone. When he's done with his conversation, he apologizes to his fellow commuters and when he reaches his stop, he announces, "Don't vote for Trump!"
The little sister sits bolt upright and says to her mother, "You won't vote for Trump, will you?" Mom shakes her head "no," and Dad tells both daughters, "Don't worry. Trump is not going to be President."
The older sister is not about to let this drop. "What if it's close? What if it's a tie?"
Uncle speaks for the first time, explaining about the 2000 Florida recount. This lasts until I reach my stop. At that point, Dad began to explain the role of The House of Representatives in the event of a tie. The little sister has checked out of the conversations by now, but the older girl seems to enjoy being spoken to like a grown up.
But here's the thing: both girls acted as though the spectre of Trump as President was tantamount to Freddy Krueger moving into their basement.
I'm not unsophisticated about the electoral map. I know that Ohio is in play, and that Missouri and Kentucky and likely to go to Trump.
But I also know that Illinois -- which has more voters than Missouri and Kentucky combined -- is going to stay blue. I'm willing to bet a week's pay that Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan will, too.
Yours from Flyover Country,