Americans to Trump: Here's what you need to know

The oldest and youngest marchers in the Longville rally.
The oldest and youngest marchers in the rally in Longville, Minn., posed for a photo on Jan. 21, 2017. The march had 66 participants, in solidarity with the Women's March in Washington, DC.
Courtesy Lori Burks

"What do you want President Donald Trump to know about who you are and the life you lead?"

That was the question asked recently of Americans in Minnesota, Florida, Montana and several other states by "The Response," a program co-produced by the BBC and American Public Media.

Here's what some of them said.

'Do something for the working class'

Dave Merz, 35, lives in Fargo, N.D., and considers himself an "average joe."

"I wanted to pursue college but my parents never had any money saved up so it was never an option, so that's pretty much it I guess," Merz said.

While his family wasn't poor by any means, Merz said he had several jobs while trying to save up for college, saying he viewed those who did go on to higher education as "better people."

He now works in construction and says Trump did a good job marketing to the working class, though he's surprised so many people supported him.

"It would be great if (Trump) could do something for the working class in this country," Merz said. "And not cause to much trouble overseas with other countries."

Education 'not a business'

Monica Fabre's mother was only able to get an eighth grade education, because at the time that was the maximum amount of school an African-American was allowed, Fabre explained. Her father only made it to fifth grade because, like many other African-American men, he had to start working at a young age.

While working with her own son to find the right learning style, and watching him become an honor student after struggling at an early age, Fabre realized she had to become an advocate for all of the children who are not given the time and attention they need to succeed in school.

"I would like to tell the new president that he has to raise expectations, and that our education system is not a business. We cannot operate it like a business," the Louisiana woman said. "He needs to stop and allow experts in the fields of education, let them drive his decisions."

Trump also cannot be allowed to ignore the institutionalized racism still present in education, Fabre added.

Speak the truth

George Makrauer, like his father before him, doesn't tolerate doublespeak.

"If the issue was white it was white, if it was black it was black," the Florida businessman said of his father's philosophy.

During his college days, Makrauer worked summers as part of an industrial labor union. One day the foreman took Makrauer aside and told him to stop working so hard as he was making the rest of the workers look bad.

Makrauer saw this as a practice of political correctness at the expense of truth.

A little over 10 years ago, Makrauer decided neither Republicans nor Democrats spoke to his beliefs, but when Donald Trump announced his bid for president he hopped on the bandwagon right away.

"What I liked best first about Trump was his intolerance and rejection of political correction," Makrauer said. "His critics are naive and jealous in my opinion when they accuse his use of non-politically correct speech and his tweets as arrogance, ego or imperious disregard for other people."

To Makrauer, Trump only speaks the truth, and should continue to do so.

This program recorded at West Virginia Public Broadcasting. APM's Laurie Stern produced.

To listen to the entire program, click the audio player above.

Further reading

• Indivisible: A conversation about America in a time of change

• Presidency: 5 lessons (so far) from the Trump transition

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