One thing that seems to be a constant theme this election is confusion over the appeal of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Many people seem to be wondering how could anyone support a man who consistently makes bigoted and misogynistic remarks, has never held elected office, has very vague stances on major issues and has frequently made false statements in public?
It's a fair question and one that reflects sentiments that are held by a wide array of individuals -- not just Hillary Clinton supporters.
There have been a number of articles written on this topic, with titles like, "Why Do People Support Donald Trump?", "Yes, decent people can support Donald Trump" and "Who Are All These Trump Supporters?".
A lot of Americans just don't seem to recognize their country right now.
Brad Pitt, one of the biggest stars on the planet, has some insightful opinions on why the real estate mogul has captured the support of certain segments of the US.
In a recent interview with Marlon James for T Magazine, the actor explained why he tries hard to understand where those he doesn't necessarily agree with are coming from.
Perhaps alluding to Trump's plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, Pitt said,
I can't bring myself to think that Trump will be in charge. In the simplest terms, what brings us together is good, and what separates us is bad.
To explain what he believes drives Trump supporters, Pitt shared a line from "The Big Short," the Oscar-winning film on the global financial crisis he starred in and produced,
When things are going wrong and we can't find the reason for it, we just start creating enemies.
This is pretty relevant when you think about the way Trump has made scapegoats out of undocumented immigrants and refugees, painting them as criminals, terrorists and leeches on the economy.
Pitt then touched on how if he hadn't become a movie star, he might've become a Trump supporter in another life. He said,
Coming from Oklahoma, southern Missouri, which leans more toward a Trump voice, I try to understand it. It seems that the people who suffer the most end up betting for the party that would hurt them. You gotta understand that it's also in our DNA. Most Americans don't have time to watch CNN and Fox and Al Jazeera. They're trying to make the rent, get the kids fed, they're tired when they get home and they want to forget about everything. And so suddenly when this voice comes in — and it doesn't have to be a voice of substance — saying he's fed up with all of this, that's the part that hooks into the DNA.
This is a pretty empathetic way to approach this topic, but that doesn't mean Pitt agrees with the perspectives of Trump supporters. In his words,
What I'm most hopeful about is that we're a global neighborhood now, and we start to understand each other more and more — and yet, you see this reactionary push for isolation and separation again. A Trump supporter is fighting against just about everything. What does he even mean, take our country back? Would someone please explain that to me? Where'd it go?
Pitt hit the nail on the head.
Trump has tapped into a portion of Americans who are uncomfortable with the increasingly interconnected nature of the world and the diversity that comes with it.
These individuals are deeply unsettled by the rapidly changing world around them.
When Trump says he wants to "make America great again," he fuels a desire among a primarily white population to make the US a more isolated and homogenous country.
Pitt is clearly not on board with this idea.
Regardless of whether or not you're on the Trump train, we could all probably benefit from following Pitt's example and make a stronger effort to understand what influences the mentality of those we disagree with politically.