The Trump supporters feed on the chaos. They love how it affects the less devoted around them. It feeds fears, makes people lash out, even if it is to prepare without knowing what to do.
First published in March 2020.
About three weeks back, I took a trip to Trader Joe’s, a popular and relatively cheap supermarket chain in America that isn’t prone to stocking non-perishables and k rations. What I saw when I went in was common to what many others had seen and later reported online. This was in Brookline, a neighboring town to Boston. I’ve known this Trader Joe’s location for having truck deliveries and restockings in the early evening before closing. Even with that, they couldn’t keep up, and the place was stripped of nearly everything.
Unlike the suburbs, most people in the area don’t have access to more than one refrigerator. Everything in the produce and milk aisles was out. How much food was going to go bad if people were still going to work at that point?
I saw more signs of panic while heading home. In the local convenience near my South Boston home, people were spending twenty or thirty bucks, filling out hand carriages with items that were mostly junk food. One women bought bags of soda and chips, something you’d buy for a child having friends over, not an extended stay indoors.
It was ridiculous. It was buying out of fear. It was focused hysteria. It was exactly what Trump wanted.
Everyone was acting with the same uncertainty regularly seen in Trump supporters who chime in for some imagined returned to greatness while preparing to watch anarchy from their back yards. It was barely a month ago you could hear contradicting phrases like “No worse than the flu” and “Be careful and wash your hands” almost in a single sentence as they kept on repeating phrases from Trump’s press conferences like “the best doctors” without any backing as to why they said they weren’t worried but still preparing like it was Y2K all over again.
The Trump supporters feed on the chaos. They love how it affects the less devoted around them. The ones who aren’t Trump sycophants are aware we are in a crisis and know our leaders can’t afford to bother knowing or caring what to do. It feeds fears, makes people lash out, even if it’s to prepare without knowing what to do.
Bottom line: Everyone buys. The so-called great economy based on lies keeps going a little further, maybe just before November, maybe not. It’s worth the risk.
President Donald Trump participates in a virtual Fox News Town Hall, 24 March 2020. / Flickr - The White House
I walked out of Trader Joe’s with a box of frozen vegan breakfast sausage. Not even enough for more than half a meal. I knew it and didn’t care. I had to get something. I’ve gone back since, to there and other stores, stocking up on what I can, trying to make sure it’s food that is not all going to perish in a week, food that we can eat months down the road. But here I am, part of the fear system.