‘I got tired of lying lawyers’
Pete Buchanan (70)
On the main drag in the tiny rural town of Boonsboro in Maryland, 90 minutes away from Washington, DC, is Pete Buchanan’s barber shop, where clients can get a trim for $11 (R158).
A few months ago, he put up a banner at his shop next to the town hall: “We want our country back.”
At first, people paid no attention. Now that the elections are over, everyone is remarking on it, Buchanan says.
On Tuesday, he voted Republican for the first time, as did most people in this community. Donald Trump’s support base came from older white voters like him.
“I have been independent all my life. I am an independent businessman,” says Buchanan.
But when no independent was standing, he opted for Trump. “I got tired of lying lawyers running our country. I wanted someone who was either a military man or a businessman.”
Trump’s promises to limit the terms of congressmen appealed to him. “Politics wasn’t intended to be a career,” he says. On the back wall of his shop is a framed piece of text in fancy writing. It is the Mayflower Compact of 1620, a document signed by settlers on the ship Mayflower. Known as the founding fathers, they travelled to the US from Britain, Ireland and France to advance Christian values in their new land. Buchanan defines these values as “you work, you save, you obey the laws”.
“That has always been our foundation to keep us together. Now they have changed that and say it’s for personal interpretation. It has never been like this for me. People are moving away from the original faith.”
He says Muslims do not adhere to the same principles, and changing from the Christian foundation would mean the country would stop working – “just like if you changed an engine over the years from its original form”.
Buchanan, whose wife died three years ago, has a married son and three grandchildren. He has done missionary work in Uganda, Kenya and Puerto Rico, but his dream is to go to Scotland to find his roots.
He claims to be a descendant of the 15th US president, James Buchanan.
Did reports about Trump’s bad behaviour towards women bother him? “I think it was true, it is everywhere,” he says. “Trump said being famous meant women allowed you to do these things – and then they say it is sexual harassment. Much of it happened 11 years ago and it’s unfair to hold Trump to that.”
Buchanan believes Trump treats the women in his family and in his businesses as equals.
His daughter-in-law, who works for him, chips in from behind a client: “Over in West Virginia, there are strip clubs. It is part of society – women who take their clothes off for money.” Did he have a problem with Trump not paying taxes? “Tax reduction is the law. If I could get one, I would take it too!” he says. What will life be like under Trump? “I don’t know, but we survived eight years with Obama, who is a Muslim in a Christian country,” he says.
He does not intend retiring soon. “I really don’t know how to do anything else. I enjoy working. In the old days it used to be you work, you retire, everything is stable – with no drastic changes like in the past few years,” he says.
FOR TRUMP Pete Buchanan outside his barber shop