When asked by Express-News reporter Jabari Young how he was feeling about this week's election, Pop said, "I don't think my voice is that important," right before proving just how untrue that is.
By Friday night, outlets from the New York Times to USA Today were highlighting Pop's comments. And that's because, yet again, he's expertly articulated what so many people are feeling right now. It's not necessarily about politics. He makes sure to stress that this has "nothing to do with the environment and Obamacare and all that other stuff," and he even goes out of his way to say he has "great respect for people like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, John Kasich," all of whom unequivocally condemned Trump as a sign of something much larger and much more troubling than routine divisive politics – someone willing to stomp on and demonize entire groups of people for political expediency.
What's so gut-punch troubling about the whole thing, what's left Popovich feeling nauseous, is the feeling that half this country is either fine with that brand of politics or is entirely willing to overlook it, to condone it.
"I live in a country where half the country ignored all that to elect someone," he says. "That's the scariest part of the whole thing to me."
Some people have called it a diatribe or a tirade. Really, it just sounds like the kind of emotional word vomit coming out of a lot of confused, frightened and deeply wounded people these days:
"I get it, of course we want him (Trump) to be successful. We’re all gonna say that. Everybody wants him to be successful. It’s our country. We don’t want it to go down the drain. Any reasonable person would come to that conclusion, but that does not take away the fact that he used that fear-mongering and all the comments from day one. The race baiting with trying to make Barack Obama, our first black president, illegitimate. It leaves me wondering where I’ve been living and with whom I’m living.
“The fact that people can just gloss that over and start talking about the transition team, and we’re all gonna be Kumbaya now and try to make the country good without talking about about any of those things. Now we see that he’s already backing off on immigration and Obamacare and other things, so was it a big fake? Which makes you feel even more disgusting and cynical that somebody would use that to get the base that fired up to get elected.
“What gets lost in the process are African-Americans and Hispanics and women and the gay population, not to mention the eighth grade developmental stage exhibited by him when he made fun of the handicapped person. I mean, come on. That’s what a seventh-grade, eighth-grade bully does, and he was elected president of the United States. We would’ve scolded our kids, we would’ve have discussions and talked until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things, and he is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.”
Popovich wraps it up by saying his real fear, "what gives me so much pause and makes me feel so badly," is that many more people than he realized lack "the empathy that’s necessary to understand" other groups of people.
“I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person, how disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it’s just beyond my comprehension how they ignore all that."
And since this is Pop, there's some flourish at the end: "My final conclusion is — my big fear is — we are Rome.”