During the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign I began to sense that Hillary Clinton had failed to establish empathy with the blue-collar workers and other rank-and-file voters. The winning Obama coalition, successful in 2008 and 2012, was still there but she couldn’t seem to connect with it.

But I will never understand how a person like Donald Trump could gain the support of Southern evangelicals and fundamentalists who claim to value moral rectitude over political expediency. At no time in his life has Trump ever even pretended to espouse a value-based code of morals or conduct.

A thrice-married serial adulterer who arrogantly brags about his sexual exploits, Trump’s apologists counter with tales of Bill Clinton’s philandering ways. But Slick Willy at least expressed repentance and remorse, albeit probably hypocritically.

But when the tape of Trump’s graphic instructions on how and where to grab women for the best results was aired on national TV, he didn’t even attempt to deny or explain it, he simply ignored it. And, apparently, so did his voters. Does this make a statement about what we’ve become?

My mother taught me that no matter how hopeless things might seem at the time, something good can eventually come of it all. And this philosophy has sustained me through some pretty tough times. And I have also learned through wise counsel and personal trials that for things to get better they must sometimes get worse first; we must “hit bottom,” so to speak. I’ve seen this process work in both individual and collective situations. And I think we might almost be there now; near the bottom, I mean.

One of Trump’s early campaign promises was to replace Obamacare with an alternative plan that would give everyone access to better health care. But he failed to mention that the illusive commodity “access” is available only to those who can afford it. As Bernie Sanders explained, we all have access to $10 million mansions, but who can afford one? And after almost three years Obamacare remains essentially intact.

The powerful health care lobby, already punch-drunk on dollars from the health insurance companies, will never allow a health care plan affordable to lower- and middle-income people or those with preexisting health conditions to ever come to a vote. A lot of innocent people will probably have to needlessly die before we accept the moral imperative to provide universal, affordable health care as every American’s right as every other developed country has done long ago.

Trump’s preemptive rejection of the Paris agreement on the reduction of fossil fuel usage could mark the beginning of an apocalyptic journey for us all. After inundation by the melting polar ice cap — and it will happen if something isn’t done soon — we could all wind up together in the happy hunting ground, free from all toil, pain and care. Isn’t this promised in the words of the good old Gospel song “What a day, glorious day, that will be?” In Genesis God promised He wouldn’t destroy the earth by flood again. But He didn’t say He wouldn’t allow us to inundate it ourselves through our own arrogance and pigheadedness.

The cause(s) might be debatable, but global warming is inescapable. 97% of earth scientists say it’s for real. Ever wonder what the other 3% have been smoking?

George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at reed1600@bellsouth.net.

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