In July, 2015, when Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States, there were jeers, laughter, jokes and no one took him serious. After fighting through the Republican primary and emerging as the Republican nominee, Trump was still looked upon as a “no chance candidate.” Not only was Trump fighting the Democratic Party, he was also entangled in efforts by the Republican establishment to sabotage his campaign for the Presidency.
I was one of the alleged “uneducated and deplorables” who supported Trump from day one. In fact, I was one of the few that actually believed from the beginning of his campaign that he actually had a chance to win the Presidency. What I saw in Trump was a message that really hit home in North Alabama. You see, since NAFTA and other bad trade deals, I have watched rural northwest Alabama simply fade away. I have watched manufacturing jobs leave our communities and be sent to Mexico, China, Vietnam and other Asian countries. I have watched the middle class in our region evaporate over the last 15 years. I have also paid particular attention to small businesses that no longer can sustain themselves because of lower paying wages and the loss of the middle class.
Just take a trip to many communities in Northwest Alabama and the Western Black Belt region and you can see first hand the effects of the loss of the garment industry and other manufacturing jobs that were caused by the failed policies of the establishment Republicans and Democrats over the last two administrations. These policies have produced a breeding ground for cheap oversees goods to be imported which benefit the likes of Wal-Mart and other big box retailers yet are detrimental to our small town businesses and retailers.
So for those of us who live in these downtrodden parts of American, when Donald J. Trump who announced his candidacy for President and had a simple and direct message “Let’s Make American Great Again” that resonated with rural America. Trump’s message was not only one of hope but a call to action for all Americans who were basically stuck on the “Island of Misfit Toys” and had been all but forgotten by their senators and representatives at the state and federal levels. You see we the “deplorable” and “uneducated” did not matter in the eyes of the establishment politicians. Our votes did not matter because they honestly believed that they had beaten us into submission to believe we did not have any real choice. How wrong they were! Trump’s message resonated not only with rural American but also mainstream America.
Well, what a long strange trip it has been over these past 15 months. On November 8, 2016, there was a revolutionary call to action by the American people to cast their vote and send a message that they wanted real change. After analyzing the national voting maps and seeing the results on the county level in each state, it was ever so clear that the rural American voter made the difference in this election. And for that I am extremely proud that the “little man” finally had enough and delivered victory to the first non-establishment candidate in American history. The rural American voter sent the message that they were fed up with failed Obama policies, both foreign and domestic; with an overreaching federal government trying to run every aspect of their lives; with representatives who seem to represent big money donors, with wealthy celebrities looking down on them and calling them bigots and haters just for having religious beliefs, morals, patriotism, pride in their traditions and a belief that laws should be respected; and with an unequal system of justice that gives the well-connected a free pass for infractions that send regular citizens to prison.
Americans simply wanted their country back from the establishment phonies and were not going to be told to elect a lying, cheating, stealing and untrustworthy, Hillary Clinton. We the American people were tired of being called bigots, racists, rednecks, deplorable and uneducated. We were told that women would vote for Hillary Clinton just because she was a woman. We were told that African Americans would vote for Hillary simply because she was a Democrat. We were told that Hispanics would vote for Hillary because Trump was a racist and vowed to build a wall. Mainstream media basically made these predictions to try and shape peoples decisions to vote for Hillary Clinton. What they did not bank on was good old common sense. “You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig.” The American voters, particularly those of us in rural America, have a strong faith in God, Church, Family and Community. We are all on the same team and we knew that the only way our voices could be heard was from the voting booth.
So, where do we go from here? I predict we will see dramatic economic revitalization right here in Northwest Alabama. This election proved that what Americans have in common is much greater than our differences. All our differences aside, most of us love and want to preserve the things that made America great: the Constitution, the rule of law, the American Dream that our children will live better lives than we did, equality, fairness, opportunity to succeed for all who are willing to work hard, and a government that serves the people, not the other way around. Our communities are blessed with great leaders in our municipal governments, school systems that consistently perform above national averages, exceptional recreation opportunities, a reliable and skilled work force, low rates of crime, and God fearing men and women who continue to put God first in their places of employment and their homes on a daily basis. I truly believe that Donald J. Trump will succeed in “Making America Great Again” and his leadership during his presidency will provide opportunities once again right here in Northwest Alabama.
God Bless America and God Bless Northwest Alabama.