The enduring oddness of Trump supporter

I’m feeling more and more like we’re leaving Trump behind and I think that’s a good thing. Without him on social media, his voice is much quieter than before. The onslaught of social media posts supporting him and his crazy ideas seem to have faded somewhat. I don’t know if they’re lurking in the shadows or if they’re really fading away. I’ve posted several times on Facebook that years from now I expect to hear plenty of “I never really liked him” or “he wasn’t even close to my favorite” from folks who were the most vocal in their support of him over the past few years. And while I’m ready to move on, I still can’t help being puzzled at support for him and, more broadly, the kind of thinking that goes on in the heads of those who do support him. Lately, it’s the vaccines that have me puzzled the most.

The development of vaccines was a promise made by Trump repeatedly. It was one of the few promises he made that was at least partially kept. He promised we’d have it sooner than we have, but I still think it’s unfair to not give the administration credit on the vaccine front. Of course I’m not saying that the administration made the vaccines, or is even responsible for the amazing scientific advancements that were needed in order to develop the vaccine, but of all the things the administration did with respect to COVID, I believe that the support of vaccine development was close to the top of the good list. At the very least, the administration didn’t do anything that prevented the vaccines from being brought to market, and sometimes, especially with the Trump administration, that’s the best we can hope for.

But that was then and this is now. Now we near the point where vaccine hesitancy outweighs vaccine desire. We’re not there yet. We currently have far more demand for vaccine than we have vaccine to give. Appointments in New York State are very hard to get and I consider myself very fortunate to have been included in phase 1b (as a college professor with in-person teaching responsibilities) and perhaps even more fortunate to snag one of the limited number of appointments earlier this week. But there will come a time, likely soon, when this will shift, and we will have more vaccine than people who are willing to be vaccinated.

There are lots of reasons that somebody would avoid vaccination. Some are good, others not so much. But here’s the point of this whole post: it seems to me that the people who are most likely to reject vaccination against COVID are the most likely to vocally support Trump, but were also the most likely have given him credit for bringing the vaccine to market. Some went as far as saying that we should call it the Trump vaccine. Tangentially, that alone is strange. Vaccines are commonly referred to by the bad thing that they prevent: flu vaccine, chicken pox vaccine, shingles vaccine. Thus, a Trump vaccine would prevent us from Trump. If only that was possible. Although, lots of us talk about the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine or the J&J vaccine. Still, that tangent aside, it seems very strange to me that somebody would praise Trump for making the vaccine, and then turn around and say there’s no way they’re taking that crap. I’m sure there’s a way to make sense of it in their heads, but I can’t see it. To me, it’s just another example of the complete lack of logic and consistency in Trump support. Much of the other lack of logic and consistency I can explain away with misinformation. Trump supporters who like him and hate Obama because Trump is anti-abortion and Obama is supportive of abortion rights don’t know that abortion rates decreased precipitously under Obama and likely wouldn’t care if abortion rates increased under Trump (we don’t yet know what happened to abortion rates under Trump because there’s a long delay in abortion reporting and statistics, but preliminary data suggest a slight rise in a majority of states). Trump supporters who like him because he supports law enforcement don’t know anything about police budgets under Trump and also were pretty hostile to any law enforcement that showed interest in enforcing laws that Trump might have broken. Watching the “blue lives matter” types scream in the faces of police that were guarding the Michigan capitol building or the US Capitol was surreal. But this isn’t a misinformation thing. They simultaneously seem to think that Trump did a great thing by getting the vaccine for us and also refuse to take it because it’s bad. I just can’t wrap my brain around that at all.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I mention Trump on this site, but I hope to have other things that get me excited enough to write about (in a good way) before the next Trump post. Fingers crossed.

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