In the wake of the election of Donald Trump, I have seen a number of his supporters protesting the accusation that their choice to support him was about bigotry. “We’re not racists!” they say. “We’re not homophobes, xenophobes, anti-Semites, or religious bigots! This was about corruption, and an economy that has abandoned us to despair!” So… why does the left still say that you’re racists, for example?
Well, for one thing, the folks on the left aren’t the only ones who thinks you voted in favor of racism. So do these guys:
You recognize them, right? Do you deny that those guys are racist as fuck? Do you deny that their support for Trump has been vocal, visible, and courted by the Trump campaign?
Or what about the guys who did this?
Do you think they don’t believe you voted for anti-Semitism? How about the folks who did this?
Do you think those folks don’t think you voted for oppression of LGBTQ people?
Your own coalition thinks you’re racist. The difference between them and the anti-Trump folks is that they praise you for it. They see your endorsement of President Trump as endorsement of their values, as evidence that what they say out loud is what the majority of Americans really believe, and as permission from American society to act on it.
And is that fair to you? Does that mean you are a racist, or a misogynist, or a homophobe, or a religious bigot? Fuck, I don’t know. I’m at a loss.
I get that there are large segments of the country who feel abandoned. I know that many of you feel that Clinton, and really the political establishment in general, are irredeemably corrupt. I get that some of you see no future for you or your children in the economy that system has built. That’s a lot of despair to carry around, and those are weighty issues. And the fact of the matter is, nobody gets the perfect leader who agrees with them on everything. We all have to weigh the pros and the cons, and decide which prices we’re willing to pay to achieve which outcomes. And Trump was the only candidate promising you a radical change from the policies that got you to where you are. There was no “Radical, non-bigotted,” option in the general election. So you had to choose. Take common cause with the white supremacists, the misogynists, the homophobes, the xenophobes, and the religious bigots in a bid to change what you desperately believe needs to be changed. It’s a devil’s bargain, but maybe it really was the only one left to you. You chose to take it that bargain, and I didn’t. But I never felt that level of desperation – who’s to say that I wouldn’t have been voting alongside you if I did?
But it was a racist bargain. Racist, not in the sense that I believe everyone who made it feels genuine antipathy for those who are different, but in the sense that it will – in fact, already has – increase the exposure to oppression that those people will experience.
Part of the problem is that I don’t believe Trump can deliver the prosperity he promised you. I don’t believe the he even cares all that much if he does or not, so long as he can look like a winner. So it’s not a bargain I can see as worthwhile. It’s easy for me to see Trump’s election as a vote for bigotry for its own sake, because I don’t believe the benefits that price was supposed to purchase are likely to accrue. I hope I’m wrong about that part. I really do.
I’m seeing a lot of “I’m not a racist! I’m not a misogynist! I’m not a religious bigot!” I’m seeing a lot of “Ha ha! My side won!” I’m seeing a lot of “You’re irrational for being scared.” I’m not seeing a lot of “I disavow the white supremacists, religious bigots, and homophobes in the Trump coalition.” I’m not seeing a lot of “I promise to stand with you against them if and when those emboldened by my vote come for you.” I’m not seeing a lot of “You’re safe with me.” Please do that. If you genuinely, really voted for Trump as a Hail Mary against a corrupt system rather than in support of the bigotry and hate his campaign nurtured, please do that. You helped put genuine fear into a lot of people – please help to take it away.