Conciliation & Unity Must Be Mutual

Otherwise, it is just capitulation

I’m hearing a lot of talk about how the left has lessons to learn — and we undoubtedly do. We have downplayed and ignored the plight of rural areas and the working class for too long. This was unjust. We need to fix that. Trump won in large part by tapping into the entirely understandable pain that these voters felt at being left out in the cold. They felt — however inaccurately — that he heard them, and this mattered to them so much that they voted him into office in spite of clear evidence that he is, if not outright a bigot, fraudster and misogynist, then dangerously sympathetic to them.

I’m hearing a lot of calls from a lot of people for the left to try to understand Trump voters. “Trump voters are not ignorant and racist!”, they cry. They are just misunderstood. We need to “come together” as Americans now. The left needs to reach out to Trump voters in a “spirit of contrition” so everything can be ok again.

And I agree that the left needs to learn some things about anti- rural elitism, and paying attention to the plight of rural America. We ignored the reality of their lives, and that was wrong. But Trump supporters seem to be exempting themselves from the need to “join together”. In fact, they seem not to want America to come together so much as they want dissenters to just shut up.

You know what? 1) That isn’t going to happen. That isn’t the way America works. That isn’t the way people work. 2) Fuck you for denigrating my concerns. If it was wrong when the left did it to you, what makes it right when you do it to us?

You saw — among other things — that he was an anti-Muslim bigot and voted for him anyway. You heard him advocate grabbing women by the genitals. You saw more than ten women accuse Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior. And you downplayed it, or rationalized it, or forgave it enough to look past it all and vote for him. And when you did that, you told us that we didn’t matter. As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar so eloquently put it, “ How can we hope that this man understands or cares about us?” And given that Trump voters rewarded Trump’s “outrageous racism, misogyny, xenophobia and religious intolerance” with more power, how can we trust you?

Trump voters may have made the bed, but we all have to lay in it. And now Trump’s people are talking about quashing protests — which is a profoundly un-American position. Trump has chosen a white nationalist to be one of his senior advisers, and congressional Republicans are playing dumb. Hate crimes are soaring. Trump voters may not all be bigots and misogynists, but from what I am seeing, they seem to be disturbingly ok that Trump and his people are bigoted and misogynistic. What am I supposed to think about your vote for Trump combined with your silence about who he is appointing to help him run the country? I need a reason to want to reach out right now, and all I am seeing is the promise of a slap in the face. If you really want Americans to “come together”, I need to see that you are willing to move, too.

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