Trumpgrets, sure, but can we also regret all the apologizing we’ve been doing for the white working class?
There’s a tumblr now called Trumpgrets (https://trumpgrets.tumblr.com). The creator of the page fully admits that she’s taking some sort of schaudenfreude-like relief from seeing Trump supporters regret their vote for him on Twitter. And on one level, I get that, but mostly it makes me sad.
And not for the reasons you’d think. Not because I feel sympathy for them, because their stupidity in not realizing what a crooked liar Voldemort was (ps — what I plan to call him for the next four years, if I can get away with it, I have no interest in bothering with his damn name) while condemning Hillary for being a crooked liar in the same breath, they fucked us all over. Nor do I believe in sympathy for people who condoned racism and misogeny by voting for a racist misogynist, because condoning racism and misogeny, or remaining apathetic to them, is its own form of racism, and its own form of misogeny.
We’ve all been hearing A LOT about the white working class and how the Dems left the white working class behind. I find this to be really annoying. Hillary said it best during one of her best-worst moments of the campaign )(to me, at least) when she called half of Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables” even if it cost her votes; for a woman hated for her (supposed) tendency to prioritize politically-friendly soundbites over the truth, she called them out for what we all should be calling them out for. Trump/Pence supporters are deplorable, whether they’re openly racist and misogynist or implicitly so, especially the ones who are unwilling to face their own racism and misogyny. But this sympathy for the white working class is especially insidious, especially if it means the Democratic party starts kowtowing to them in favor of bringing them back to the party to get their votes. It belies the problematic way white liberals have mythologized the specifically white working class while historically ignoring the people of color in working class America, who have lived paycheck to paycheck for years, the majority of whom did vote for Clinton.
Why do we excuse white people for responding so deplorably to what they saw as the gov’t elites ignoring their plight, when non-whites didn’t? Why is the common image of working class America a white man standing on a farm (or in his factory uniform) under an American flag, surrounded by his white wife (ahem) and white children? Why do they get a break?
We talk about white guilt a lot, but there is also white affluent guilt that turns us into hemming and hawing apologizers ignoring the problematic, racist things our poorer white brethren have said about “entitlement programs” (read: “A less qualified non-white person or woman took my job and it’s not fair!”), people who take so-called advantage of welfare (read, “Lazy non-white people who don’t want to work and are taking my hard earned and paid taxes!” — the majority of whom are actually white women, by the way), complaints about reparation, thoughts and language policing (someone, I forget who, said that PC should stand for personal civility and I agree), etc.
Here’s why we give white working class people a break — it’s because they’re white. By spending so much time talking about them, excusing them for a lack of education or for having lost their jobs, what we’re really doing is prioritizing, once again, the white man (and woman’s, which yes, still smarts) needs over a person of color’s. We’re supporting an ongoing system of white supremacy, and that, ladies and gentleman, is also its own breed of racism.
Furthermore, in doing so—excusing them, in some manner, or wanting to understand more where they’re coming from or figuring out how to bring them back into the Democratic fold, we’re also excusing and enabling their racist, misogynist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic (and yes anti-Semitic; am I allowed to point out anti-Semitism or am I ‘just another Jew being overly sensitive?’) choice. We do it by saying they feel unheard, they’re less educated so can’t tell the difference between real and fake news, etc. which also infantalizes them. Stupid is stupid, regardless of whether you have a college education or not, or if you’re mad at Obama for messing with your embarrassed millionaire fantasies or not… even if you’re having a hard time putting food on the table. And stupid isn’t just stupid—it’s dangerous. Their stupid choice endangered all of us.
And to Trump’s supporters who might now be regretting your choice: I regret your choice too. And now we all have to pay.