Friday January 19, 2018

Travels through Trump's America one year later

U.S President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as President on January 20, 2017 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

U.S President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as President on January 20, 2017 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Listen to Full Episode 54:00

It's been one year since Donald Trump's inauguration. His official swearing-in compelled many Americans reflect on what America actually is now, politically, socially and culturally. Contributor David Zane Mairowitz is originally from America, and has been living in Europe for over fifty years. He returned to the U.S. in the spring of 2017 to travel through six southern states, where he recorded his encounters with everyday people at restaurants, churches -- and gun shows. His aim: to gain insight into an America he's now struggling to comprehend.


Ideas God and Gun show - Cinema Church

Cinema-church in Pensacola, Florida. (David Zane Mairowitz)

"In Mississippi, we came to a town of 5,000 people which had 36 gas stations and 50 churches. Space was at a premium. So this cinema-church is probably the future of organised religion in a town like Pensacola, and fits perfectly into the improvised, Twitter-based historical moment we're now living in." – Radio Producer, David Zane Mairowitz

"Trump is a bad-assed president...Trump is a damn good president. He's like Reagan, y'know what I mean? I know Trump ain't no dope. I feel very secure with Trump as my president. Cause he's a strong man, y'know what I mean? Hell, he owns three, four casinos, y'know what I mean? He got more money than God, y'know what I mean? I like strong presidents. I don't like no weak ones." – Robert in Pensacola, Florida

Ideas - God & Gun show - Conceal Carry

If you have a 'conceal carry' permit for carrying a pistol, you get a discount on Wednesdays at "Just the Cook", a houseboat restaurant in St. Andrews, Florida. (David Zane Mairowitz)

"Do I have fear? No. I believe that God has always been in charge, he's still in charge and will always be in charge… And that's why I pray for this president. I don't agree with his policies, or the way he thinks on many issues, but I pray for him. I don't hate him. I pray that one day he will find a converted heart… And I pray for this president, and I pray for those who are around him, who are in policy-making positions. And I pray that they will understand that the Constitution and its preamble begins with 'We the People'." – Wanda in Montgomery, Alabama

"I have numerous friends within the law-enforcement community and they would tell you an armed society is a polite society. The more people who are armed, the easier it is for them. Law-abiding people." – Adam, gun expert


God and guns: wherever belief in these two things is strong, so is support for Donald Trump

This is the America that those not in it, or from it, often find very difficult to understand. And in the time since Donald Trump was inaugurated, America's endless culture wars have ratcheted up to white-knuckle intensity.

Ideas God and Gun show - David Zane Mairowitz & Malgorzata Zerwe

Radio producers, David Zane Mairowitz & Malgorzata Zerwe. (David Zane Mairowitz)

David Zane Mairowitz was born and raised in New York, but is now a French citizen. He'd never handled a gun in his life, and had never actually been to the South. So when he went with Polish radio producer Malgorzata Zerwe to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, he found himself in alien territory, a country he didn't recognize. In megachurches and gun shows, they met warm, friendly, decent people whose way of looking at the world stood completely at odds with their own. People who believe, for example, that Barack Obama gave free cell phones to people, who believe the Apocalypse is coming, but that the prospect to "Make America Great Again" is still possible.

Yet their meetings are never sneering or patronizing. They're direct encounters with people from all walks of life in staunchly conservative communities, where entire families are card-carrying members of the NRA.

** This episode was produced by David Zane Mairowitz and Malgorzata Zerwe, with Greg Kelly.