Dolly is a retired waitress from Baltimore who currently lives in Pittsburgh. Although I normally don’t (and won’t) share my interviewees’ political leanings, I am doing so for two reasons in this case. First, Dolly was very open and enthusiastic about her candidate: Donald Trump. Second, I think much of what she says runs contrary to the image of Trump voters in left-leaning media. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
On why she’s a good citizen:
I support the Blue Line (her neighborhood). I support immigration and immigrants, so long as they follow the law. I am very patriotic, too; my son served in the military for nine years. My whole family has been in the military, and in general, I think the most important things are god, country, and family.
Her best moment of citizenship is right now:
I am putting together a music benefit right now for Hurricane Harvey. We have fourteen bands and PR people to get the news station. It’s going to be huge. We came up with this, just me and my two friends.
Her three keys to citizenship are:
Being Community Oriented. Being Patriotic. Helping other people.
On her mixed feelings about immigration and citizenship:
I don’t mind immigrants being here. This is a country of opportunity. I want people to be able to be here, but just with papers. Everyone here, with the exception of Native Americans, were immigrants. Slaves were brought here, but they still weren’t “American” just like immigrants. We’re a big melting pot, so anyone can come here and do well here. I just want immigrants to pay taxes, too.
Her initial response when asked whether liberals are good citizens and whether they think she is a good citizen was quite negative:
People of the opposite side wouldn’t say I’m a good citizen. I haven’t seen political turmoil like this since the 60’s.
I also don’t think they’re good citizens. It doesn’t bother me that liberals rally. But they don’t need to leave the trash out. They don’t need to wear the pink (p****) hats in front of kids. They don’t need to jump Trump supporters.
But then she identified what she thinks is the actual problem:
Actually, I think the extreme right – even in my own party – and the extreme left are the ones who aren’t good citizens. You never know what either will do. They might hurt someone. They really want to hurt each other. It’s not the average Democrat or the average Republican that’s a bad citizen. It the extremes.
On how young people can be taught to be better citizens:
I think for us to be better citizens, our young people need to learn about winning and losing. They need to learn they aren’t the greatest.
The thing she thinks we all need to understand about American history:
People need to know that a lot that sits in our history books isn’t the whole truth. We need to rewrite some of the history books. People don’t find out about what happened to Native Americans, how the Irish were treated. We can’t sugarcoat it to make it seem like our ancestors were the greatest thing since the sliced bread.
What being an American means to her:
This, to me, is the greatest country on earth. I just love this country so much. This is the country of freedom. You should be able to come here (with papers) and pursue your goals. If there’s one thing that’s American, though, it’s acceptance of people who look different than yourself, act different than yourself, and think different of yourself.
How we can all be better Americans:
We could look past religion and race and look at each other and say, “Hey, we all bleed red.”