While Trump Won York County, Pa., Republican Cal Weary Backed Clinton
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And now let's revisit an American voter in York, Pa. We met voters in that city in 2008. We talked for hours back then about race as Barack Obama was elected president. We returned to York, Pa., after this year's very different election, and the four voters we found again included Cal Weary.
We're just across from the Central Market House, this huge Victorian brick building with green wooden doors and Christmas wreaths. And here we are at the Pennsylvania Arts Experience. And here's our man. Hey there.
CAL WEARY: Hey, how are you doing?
INSKEEP: Great, good to see you.
WEARY: Good to see you. Sorry, I'm...
INSKEEP: It's OK. Just go ahead. Don't mind us.
Cal Weary was on the phone when we arrived and gestured us in out of the cold. He looked about the same as in 2008. Back then, he was 34, a high school performing arts teacher. Today, he's in a different job running this private gallery and performing arts space. When we visited, his 15-year-old son was using one room to practice.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN I'M ALONE")
ELI ZACHEUS: (Singing) Tell me you love me. Tell me you need me.
INSKEEP: He's one of Weary's three kids, all of them mixed race. Cal Weary is black. His wife is white. The last time we met, he suggested that Obama's election might encourage greater acceptance of people like him.
WEARY: It opens it up to it being all right, to that melting, that changing, where people are like, well, he's the president, so that's all right for my daughter to date a black guy, and that's all right for us to cross these other lines.
INSKEEP: He was a registered Republican who crossed party lines to vote for Obama. At the same time, Weary asserted back in 2008 any black advance causes some white people to feel like something is torn away from them. Today, at age 42, Cal Weary showed us paintings people have hung on the wall of the gallery.
WEARY: Yeah, you got to take a look at that one.
INSKEEP: That is a painting of...
WEARY: It's intense.
INSKEEP: ...Hundreds of people in what look like Klan hoods.
INSKEEP: We moved a little closer to the print.
Oh, I'm seeing someone speaking to all the Klan hoods with familiar-looking hair.
INSKEEP: Is this what I think it is?
WEARY: Oh, it's definitely what do you think it is.
INSKEEP: So this is Donald Trump addressing a Klan rally.
WEARY: Donald Trump addressing many of his constituents.
INSKEEP: Now, York County voted for Donald Trump, and Cal Weary has seen people walk past that painting and cringe.
WEARY: They are trying to block out the fact that they have an affiliation with some people who they would never affiliate with in their homes, in their social circles.
INSKEEP: He means an affiliation with white supremacists who passionately backed the Republican even if other Trump voters did not feel they were racist.
Do you think that people who voted for Trump are enabling racism?
WEARY: I think that they definitely are saying that it's not that big a deal to them. And so in that case, yes. You know, yeah, there's some racism there, but hasn't there always been? These are the kind of things you hear.
INSKEEP: And Cal Weary does hear them because his mixed-race family includes people who voted for Donald Trump.
WEARY: And one of my close family members that I love dearly, that I spend time with, made a comment about how voting for Donald Trump was going to make America a better place for his kids. And he's right. By what is being said, it will make things better for his...
INSKEEP: White kids.
WEARY: His white kids. But for his biracial nephew and nieces, how does that fare for them?
INSKEEP: Well, what is this election going to do for your kids?
WEARY: I don't necessarily see where the benefits lie for them.
INSKEEP: To be clear, President-elect Trump has promised more jobs for African-Americans. But Trump's questioning of Obama's birth certificate, his talk about illegal immigrants and other people of color left Weary deeply uncertain about the views of people who would support Trump.
WEARY: The worst thing for me after the election, I grew up - predominantly white school. I mean, I was, like, the only black kid there for a number of years. But I never really felt myself walking around always wondering in most places if this white person was racist against me or if that one was. And the day after that election - and I kind of hate myself a little bit for it - every time I would come across, especially middle-age to elderly white male, I kind of just wondered.
INSKEEP: It's an especially strange feeling for Cal Weary because of his Republican views. He voted for Hillary Clinton this time. Yet, he thinks the country was ready for a shift away from President Obama.
WEARY: It actually made sense for what - it sounds crazy for me to say it, but what happened made sense. If it would have gone the other way, it wouldn't have made sense.
INSKEEP: Maybe Cal Weary is philosophical because of his health. Shortly before the election, he suffered a heart attack. He's feeling much better now, but he's come to see that event as a metaphor.
WEARY: You could kind of look at what just happened to us was like a heart attack. It was like we were all breathing really hard to see what would happen and then it happened. And even the people who were for it happening were kind of taken aback. Then you always have the guy who said I saw you eating those cheese curds for years. I knew you were going to have a heart attack. And now we've got an answer that came back to us. And it's (imitating heart beat) that heart attack just happened. So now we're at a point of, I mean, do we have another one or do we start therapy?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN I'M ALONE")
ZACHEUS: (Singing) I'm not the man I was. I'm not the man I was anymore.
INSKEEP: Cal Weary runs a performing arts space in York, Pa. We've returned to voters who first talked with us about race in America as Barack Obama was elected in 2008.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.