Shortly after Tuesday's election, I had a long heart-to-heart with someone I consider not only a good friend, but a good being.
Matt (not his real name) is a white male in his mid-40s. He is also a father and gearhead extraordinaire. The "hombre" is absolutely gifted with his hands and otherworldly mechanical aptitude.
Simply looking at him and knowing his background, one would conclude that he is indeed one of the many "angry non-college educated white male" that supported Donald Trump's run for the presidency. You'd be forgiven for thinking that he is one of the so-called "deplorables" that in the words of a FB friend and former elementary schoolmate, "just wanted someone to believe in" and in Donald J. Trump, found that someone.
That would be as far from the truth and inaccurate as it gets.
Yes, Matt is white. He is also male. He is blue-collared to the hilt. He did not graduate from college. Loves his gun though he talks about taking periodic lessons from his buddy -- an ex-Marine -- to refresh his handling and caring skills of a contraption whose raison d'etre is to kill -- efficiently.
Matt respects the police to the nth degree but has also been harassed by the men in blue. During an exchange on the subject, Matt talked about the twin perils of failing to heed police commands -- DUMB! -- and failing to "default to our common humanity" (my characterization of his words) once law enforcement had a situation under control -- SERIOUSLY? Like most fair-minded and peace-loving Americans, Matt does not believe that respecting law enforcement and holding them accountable when necessary are mutually exclusive. It is what we all tell our children: To be accountable for their actions.
Every so often Matt would complain about government (FAA) regulations albeit in the then-nascent drone market. Frankly as someone who was at the forefront of the industry 3 years ago, he was the perfect individual regulators would have wanted to hear from during the public hearing phase of the policy formulation. I am yet to ask him whether he submitted any questions, ideas or opinions to his congressman or on the FAA's website.
After several years as a Master Mechanic specializing in high-end German cars, Matt was burnt out.
Fortunately for him, the gearhead that he is, he had been flying model planes as a hobby for quite some time. This soon morphed into flying and racing drones where he became active in the various chatrooms/forums frequented by fans of the sport. During that time, Matt mastered the mechanical intricacies of drones not to mention their aerodynamics so much that one of the leading suppliers of drones and drone-related accessories and components IN THE WORLD asked him to help them with tech support thanks to his larger than life presence in the chatrooms!
Leading up to the Customer Tech Support opportunity (that was over three years in the making) were numerous discussions between us. Matt was indeed frustrated with his boss at the shop where he worked. He also realized the drawbacks of not having a college degree. Matt took it upon himself to read up on the drone industry and ask questions -- copious amounts of questions.
He asked about the regulatory process and how regulations were formulated. Matt asked about validation of engineering/technical ideas. He asked about writing instructions and technical manuals. He wanted to know how to parlay his extensive and stellar experience as an auto mechanic into a different less strenuous but fast-burgeoning field/profession. In short, Matt took responsibility for his career growth -- by effectively re-inventing himself!
All the while, Matt "slaved away for the man" to pay his mortgage, put food on the table and clothes on his children's back. He never felt sorry for himself nor did he blame China, Japan, Mexico or India for "taking away 'his' job or manipulating their respective currencies". Ironically, most of Matt's neighbors and very close friends in the middle-class neighborhood where we all lived were from Africa, Asia and Latin America: Kenya, Nigeria, Korea, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, China, Mexico and India etc.!
His children's school/classmates and besties were a ready-made and ever-present United Colors Of Benetton ad!
Ever the team player and purveyor of good customer service, Matt liaised well with China in resolving drone-related customer complaints.
Due to an extremely personal and painful experience, Matt cheered President Obama for implementing "Obamacare" that included coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
In summary, Matt, the supposedly "angry white non-college educated male; the forgotten silent voice from the heartland who just wanted someone to believe in" did not buy into the rhetoric that supposedly won the elections. To the contrary, he heeded the very advise the "angry white non-college educated male from the heartland" had hitherto been offering the mostly African-American inhabitants of the inner cities:
"Quit whining and waiting for government handouts, paid for by 'our' taxes! Pull yourself by the bootstrap and make something of yourself."
Oh, and Matt and his African-American wife supported and voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
By Washington Osiro | firstname.lastname@example.org