After a rally in Newton, Iowa, I stopped briefly at a hole-in-the-wall bar, and started talking to an older man about politics.
He was a Trump supporter.
He’d lost three wives.
He’d gone to war.
He was the definition of anti-vogue (in demeanour, not necessarily ideology).
He sorta liked Bernie, and he liked Medicare-for-All, but he would NEVER vote for a Democrat, because he believed they wanted to violently murder the Second Amendment (which was something I heard a lot while at bars in Iowa).
He told me that he thought the government should make a 3-year military service compulsory for all American citizens, like they do in Sweden.
“In Sweden,” he said, “it’s mandatory to serve your country for three years, and when you leave the military, you are allowed to keep your weapons.”
Then, he told me a story.
Apparently, once upon a time in Sweden, some guy saw a home invasion happen across the street from his house.
He called the police frantically, looking for help. However, when he relayed the information, the police told him that they likely wouldn’t be able to make it to the house in time.
“What should I do then?” the man asked.
“Do you still have your weapon from the Army?” the police replied.
“Yes,” said the man.
“Well then go get it and defend your neighbour!”
So the man went to his basement, grabbed his rocket launcher, ran upstairs, pointed it at his neighbours house, and pulled the trigger. The house exploded into a million, beautiful, distinct little pieces.
He had got the bad guys.
I looked at this older guy trying to discern what the moral of the story was. He began to smile, “He got those crooked robbers.” I laughed because what the fuck else was I supposed to do. But I also laughed because I got it. I had come to Iowa trying to understand this America I didn’t ever really relate to. But that story made it click. It perfectly summarized how people who had voted for Trump felt. “Fuck it, burn the whole place down as long as it kills a couple bad guys, as long as I can keep my guns, as long as I can keep my rights.”