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Regardless who wins in November, there will be many lasting lessons from this extraordinary presidential election. One is the complex ways that individual Americans define citizenship. A remarkable article in the most recent issue of the New Yorker confronts the question head on, where Larissa MacFarquhar observes the following:
"[Hillary] Clinton’s America, the nation that welcomes everyone from everywhere, can sound abstract: more of a political idea or a moral position than a physical place—bloodless, in ways both good and bad."
MacFarquhar then notes that Clinton's "universalist abstraction" may not feel right to many people — people for whom "citizenship feels thicker than an idea."
Citizenship that feels thicker than an idea. That is what pulled Dianna Ploss into politics. She quit her job, was a delegate at the Republican National Convention, and now volunteers full-time for Donald Trump's campaign in Massachusetts.
On Why She Changed Her Party
"I was living in Cambridge, one street over from the marathon bombers, and probably less than a half mile from where Officer [Sean] Collier was executed ... he was literally executed right. He was sitting in his car. And even now just talking about it, I have chills. I remember that night when the helicopters were overhead. I didn't know what was going on, and I remember that. And I was playing sports at the same time with a younger crowd, 20s, 20-somethings, and I started to hear a lot of anti-American sentiment, which struck me as odd, because that's not how I grew up. ... Just they weren't pro-America. They weren't patriotic. It wasn't important to them."
On 'Coming Out' As A Republican
"I was a little nervous about it. I was a little embarrassed and uncomfortable about it. Because growing up, it seemed like anything associated with being a Republican was a bad thing. So I kept it to myself for a very long time, because I was living in Cambridge, and I was doing a cable TV show at CCTV, on health and fitness. From my experience, of living there for 13, 14 years, if you have an alternative opinion, it seems like it's not as welcomed. I feel like I came out [as a Republican] in Cambridge, and once I did, people didn't even talk to me anymore."
On Trump's Respect For Women
"I have been thinking about this. I don't feel like he disrespected women having a private conversation with another guy. And let me tell you why: I am over 50, and I have heard men talk like that worse my whole adult life... Bill Clinton did what he did in the White House. JFK did what he did in the White House. You're going to tell me that because they're not talking about it, they're not doing it? These are all alpha males, there is no way that these people are not doing it. People voted for Ted Kennedy, he put a woman in the water! Left her there! These people want power, some of these people want power, they don't care who they hurt in the process."
On Hillary Clinton
"Maybe this is just symbolic, but when [Clinton] was at the debate the other night, she didn't have a flag pin on. And that really is bothersome to me. She's not about teams, that's not her M.O. People don't like that, they want to be individuals. I think you need to be the team, and then you need to be the individuals on the team. Without that, it's not good. It just doesn't work."
Could Trump Lose Her Vote?
"I'm going to vote for Donald Trump, I'm voting early. Honestly, there is nothing [that he could do to lose my vote], because I feel like I'm fighting for America. I'm not fighting for Donald Trump, he's the conduit. So in a sense, I am. But he is fighting for America, so that's why I'm going to cast my vote for him."
Diana Ploss, a volunteer with the Trump campaign in Massachusetts.
This segment aired on October 12, 2016.
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