Holly Springs, Mississippi
The next morning, I wake up in a small, sleepy Mississippi town. I head out for breakfast, and it isn’t long before I find a diner. Inside, I’m one of a few men sitting around in silence. The music plays softly in the background, interrupted by chatterGeplapperchatter from the kitchen. The door swings open, and the waitress comes through carrying plates of scrambled eggs and pancakes.
A smiling young woman pours me some tea. “What are you doing in town, sweetie?” she asks. “I’m a reporter, just passing through,” I say. “Well, welcome to Holly Springs, and if you need anything else, you just to give a holler (ifml.)Bescheid sagengive me a holler,” she says in a beautiful Southern accent. If anything, I’ve definitely experienced that famous Southern hospitalityGastfreundlichkeithospitality during this trip, something you don’t take for grantedselbstverständlichgranted when you’re so far from home.
As I sit there, looking out the window, I think about the female voters I’ve spoken to on my journey, and how they seem to justify, to gloss overschönfärbengloss over — or really just don’t care about — the way President Trump has talked about their gender in the past. It was one of the most contentiousumstritten, kontroverscontentious issues of his campaign. Today, close to two years later, it continues to fuel protests that fill the streets.
After my breakfast, I ask the owner of the diner about it outside. Samuel Cooper is a large man wearing a colorful shirt and tight suspenders (N. Am.)Hosenträgersuspenders. His explanation is simple, but accurately reflects what so many here seem to believe.
“I think he loves women, just as I love women,” he says. “It’s what God made for us, for our helpmeetGefährte, Gefährtinhelpmeet. It’s hard to do with them, and it’s hard to do without them.”
“Do you feel like Trump represents your voice and your values?” I ask.
“Yes, sir. Yes, I do,” he replies, while holding out the suspenders from his shirt.
When I ask him what the biggest issue for him is, he doesn’t to miss a beatzögernmiss a beat: “Immigration! It’s not right for us to have to take care of the illegals, while the veterans do without. There are a lot of people here who need financial help, and we’re taking care of the immigrant kids and families, and we shouldn’t have to.”
Standing by his pickup truck close by and looking over at us is Nicholas Jones, an African-American man wearing a veteran’s cap. I put the question to him: if he felt Trump was looking after the veterans. “He’s a joke! I don’t care nothing about him, and he don’t care nothing about me,” he says. When I ask him if Trump is representing his values and his views, he says: “No! He’s that ‘one percent.’ He’s a billionaire. I’m a poor man. Plus I’m a veteran — he don’t care nothing about me.”
He’s that ‘one percent.’ He’s a billionaire. I’m a poor man
The final leg of my journey has brought me to the city of Montgomery, Alabama, a city to put sth. on the mapetw. bekannt machenput on the map in 1955 when Rosa Parks, an African-American, refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. So for a city that fought so hard to obtain civil rights, I’m curious to hear what its people think of a president who is constantly criticized for the comments he’s made about immigrant groups.
There are lovely smells coming from a hot-dog cartWagencart on the main street. In shorts, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap, Mickey Owen is the man at the grill. I ask him how his president is doing in the White House.
“I think he’s doing pretty good,” he says. “I’ve yet to see anybody who people hate as much as him. Obama, I think, everyone wanted him to do a good job, whether you voted for him or not. But I think that the tolerant left are very tolerant just as long as you agree with them.”
I spot an African-American woman walking by, shaking her head as she overhears our conversation. Her name is Maureen Williams. I swing my microphone around to her. “What do you think?” I ask.
“He’s bringing more division than anyone ever has,” she says. “He’s using bad language in the office. You can’t let your children listen to him. I mean it’s degradingentwürdigenddegrading. He’s brought this country down, and other countries are not respecting us.” I can see in her eyes that her anger toward this president is real. “I think he’s a racist. I really do,” she says.
Sundown in the South
That evening, I’m treated to a beautiful sunset over Montgomery. Sitting on a restaurant terrace, I have time to reflect on my 2,500-mile journey across the fascinating Southern United States. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful countryside and met genuinely warm and well-meaning people, hearing their stories and talking to them about Trump. In some respects, it’s been an eye-opener for me — and in others, it hasn’t.
I've met genuinely warm and well-meaning people
The reasons people vote for a person or party are complex. But it’s obvious that many in these states feel a disconnect from the urban centers of America, from the corridors of power, from where the “lefty” mass media broadcast, and where many people’s values are not represented.
They see Trump as one of their own. In their minds, I’d say, he’s a regular hardworking American, who, just like them, has flawFehler, Schwächeflaws. In my view, this is a masterful illusion; he’s nothing like them. He flies around in a private jet, his Fifth Avenue apartment in New York is famously adorneddekoriert, verziertadorned with gold, he has hundreds of millions, if not billionMilliarde(n)billions, of dollars to his name. But he has to tap into sth.sich etw. nutzbar machentapped into the psychePsyche, Seelepsyche of middle America, and to win sb./sth. overjmdn. überzeugen, jmdn./etw. für sich gewinnenwon it over. He doesn’t think like these people, but he knows how they think. As long as he does that, his political future is bright.