So, Donald Trump is going to be our 45th president, which (almost) nobody predicted. Well, except for the millions of people who voted for him, I guess. We’re in an usual situation…it’s been almost a hundred years since the last time Republicans controlled all three branches of the U.S. government (which, incidentally, was not the cause of the Great Depression, despite absurd post-campaign claims). There are some interesting challenges ahead for Trump, along with the rest of the country.
My friends on the left generally believe Hitler was just elected President, although most are hesitant to say it out loud (some are…you know who you are!). My friends and family on the right (which is basically all of my family) think otherwise. Both are wrong…and right.
First I’ll rant at the Right a bit. You have an issue…there’s nobody to blame. The president, congress, and judiciary are all essentially on your side. While that won’t stop Mitch McConnell from making absurd accusations anyway, hopefully most rational people will see through the BS. To Republicans, this is your chance…your chance to prove, once and for all, that you have a good plan for America in the 21st century. Screw it up and you lose your scapegoat; you can’t blame the media, as you’ve already established you don’t give a crap what they say, and arguing that Trump or congress was influenced by it is meaningless, as you just won an election opposed to that same establishment. You have your movement. Now, you are going to have to move. And, like Trump, you are probably going to find some questions are a little more difficult to answer than you’d like.
I posted on Facebook one of my initial concerns. In Trump’s 100 day plan he says the following:
Additionally, on the first day, I will take the following five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:
* FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama
Sounds great, right? Well, one of those things is the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy established by Clinton (the one that actually became president) and repealed by Executive Order five years ago by Obama. So what?
Well, the religious right has a system of beliefs, and one of those beliefs is that homosexuality (not necessarily homosexuals, but these things are basically synonymous for most) is evil. Trump has spoken out against homosexual marriage, and is presumably following the anti-LGBT party line of this political group. Mike Pence is certainly on board.
Trump has to make a choice…will he repeal this Obama order, claiming it is unconstitutional, and put the DADT order back on the books? In 2010, it was estimated around 70,000 gays were active duty service members. Since the repeal of DADT, that number is likely much higher. If DADT returns, that means tens of thousands of men and women that have sword to defend our country, many of whom are veterans that fought for American values, will be fired from their jobs. According to the previous DADT policies, those who admitted to homosexuality in the military also lost all veteran’s benefits. Is this really what Americans want? Is “God’s will” more important than taking care of our veterans? This is just one of the uncomfortable clashes of values that Trump now faces, and I don’t envy him the decision.
Republicans face an uncomfortable situation. Trump made a nice victory speech, mostly consisting of awkward stares into the crowd looking for people he wanted to thank. There was one section which really stood out to me:
I mean that very sincerely. Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.
It is a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people — and serve the people it will.
Sounds great, right? Well the reality, Republicans, is that there are millions of people in our country right now legitimately afraid that this doesn’t include them. I count myself as one of those people, as this is a man that jokingly asked the crowd to exclude non-Christians from one of his rallies. I’m not a Christian, and will likely never be one again. So do I count as one of Trump’s Americans? And if I’m asking this question, as a straight white male who is also a veteran with nearly 10 years of military service, I can say with absolute certainty that there are many, many people that deeply love this country and yet are asking themselves this same question. You may think this is irrational, but it’s really not.
Here’s the reality. Only 70 years ago, in living memory of most of America’s grandparents, Japanese Americans were held in internment camps due to popular fears during World War II. And this was done via Executive Order by President Roosevelt (and liberals, I haven’t forgotten about you, note that this was done by a Democrat). So don’t tell people such things can’t happen, because it has happened, here, in the U.S., and there are people alive who remember it. You have a message of inclusion that has been driven to the top on a campaign of exclusion.
For those who meet this demographic, great, you have nothing to worry about. The rest of us do. If you really want to make America great again, don’t forget about the rest of us. You have some legitimate grievances against the left, and I’m going to get into those soon. Don’t let your anger at being marginalized by people out-of-touch with reality, and your lives, be justification for destroying the lives of others. Be the bigger people, and show them just how misplaced their fears were. If you don’t, you’re no better than those regressive leftists demanding reparations for every perceived slight that happened in the past.
Now, for the Left. I’ve saved the best for last, because I’ve been frankly disgusted by this political ideology. You have some soul-searching to do, and some journalists are starting to get it. You have lived in a fantasy world echo chamber for the last 8 years and are now surprised that someone as repulsive as Donald Trump has jolted you awake. You have pretended to stand up for “everyone” for years while neglecting an entire category of people, smugly deriding their concerns as meaningless, their problems as imaginary, and you have the gall to be shocked when those people respond.
You want an example? Here’s one. It’s an article titled “Dear White Friends: Stop Saying Everything Is Going To Be Ok”. This article embodies everything that sickens your white friends about the Left. It’s a blatantly racist article masquerading as sensitivity training. The sad part about it is those who are surrounded by such rhetoric don’t even realize how this appears to those on the Right, or heck, even those of us in the middle. Take this section:
And the results showed that an overwhelming part of America does not want minorities here. This isn’t just another cyclical political party swing. It’s a loud and resounding message from white people telling minorities that we shouldn’t get too comfortable here. So yeah, we’re scared. And if you’re white, you don’t have to be. But please stop telling us that everything is going to be okay, because all signs point to “not okay.”
Translation: “If you’re white, don’t talk to me, because white people don’t give a shit about minorities, because if you did you would have voted for Clinton.” Wow. And you claim that Trump is divisive? Talk about drawing a line in the sand, with “fuck whitey” on the other side.
If this was an isolated Cracked article, that would be one thing. But thousands of Americans are rioting, defacing public property with graffiti, burning flags and threatening to kill Trump. What was the worse that happened during Obama’s elections? A University of Mississippi campus protest that had a few students arrested for shouting racial slurs. The Left has no leg to stand on when it comes to claims of being the rational, non-violent ones. If you want to prove that Republicans are wrong to fear minority violence and criminal action, well, going around being violent and damaging public property will surely prove them wrong! /sarcasm.
This steady hypocrisy over the past decade has pushed people. The Left appears, even to educated people, to be completely out of touch with reality. From the absurd claim that ISIS is not Islamic by Obama, to the claim that all white people are racist (somehow said without irony, although I’m not sure what kind of cognitive dissonance allows such a thing), to claiming that all whites have systematic privilege…the list of things that simply do not correspond to the reality that the majority of our country lives with every day is astounding. And this isn’t even touching on “genderfluid ze, sie, hir”, multiculuralist nonsense, and Social Justice Warrior sponsored safe spaces, microaggressions, and other entitled whining. To the “average American” the Left has skin thinner than wet paper and is dangerously delusional. In trying to validate the issues of every possible minority, they’ve invalidated the concerns of the majority of Americans, including straight up rejecting their opinions based purely on their race.
Is it any wonder that these people are sick of it? Is it any wonder that Trump’s gaffes, which, let’s be honest, were widely exaggerated by the media (for the most part), appealed to the Right’s perception of liberals as whiny crybabies that can’t handle honest discourse? The fact that Trump has said more blatantly untrue statements than virtually any other presidential candidate in the last few decades is irrelevant; the Left’s reaction to “politically incorrect” statements validated the Right’s image of you. For example, Trump said:
“They’re [Mexico] sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
This statement has some problems, of course, the first of which is the assumption that Mexico is “sending” people at all. But rather than focus on the factual problems, the media reported it as if Trump had said “all Mexicans are rapists”. This simply isn’t true. That’s not what he said. And if the difference seems irrelevant to you, it’s not irrelevant to those who suspect you are spinning them a tall tale, and trying to paint Trump in the worst light possible. Then, when Trump says something that is truly concerning, such as his insane suggestion to take the oil in Iraq, any criticism appears to be another “Mexicans are rapists” exaggeration. You’ve cried wolf too many times, and now those who don’t share your desire to take offence at every possible thing you can aren’t able to discern between a real problem and an imaginary “politically correct” attempt to shut down the conversation.
And yes, that is exactly what over-sensitive political correctness has done to our national discourse…we’re so concerned with how people “feel” about things that we are using it to shut down any sort of argument that disagrees with our narrative. You want an example? Watch this video of a the Bill Maher show where Sam Harris, a moderate liberal, and Bill Maher, a far left liberal, are literally shouted down by Ben Affleck for even suggesting that Islam has some anti-Western values. We can’t even have a conversation on a clearly Leftist show among liberals about Islam without “racist” and “bigoted” being thrown around for even suggesting an alternate point of view.
So where does this leave us? The country is divided. It’s not as bad as the Civil War, whatever your silly Facebook friends post, but it’s pretty bad. I said the Left needs to take a serious look at themselves, and I meant it. For the past 8 years, the “White Man” has been the media equivalent of the French; anyone can make fun of them. It’s been justified on the assumption that white men have it all; their lives are perfect because the system is designed for them. Well, guess what? Eighteen million whites are living in poverty in the U.S., which accounts for about 40% of all those living in poverty in the country, and more than any individual minority group. Life isn’t perfect for whites, and rich men and women in the media, many of whom are minorities, laughing at their “privilege” doesn’t reflect what these people have to deal with. Not only that, by invalidating their struggle based purely on their race and gender, the Left appears like massive hypocrites…because that’s exactly what they are. And guess what? Even suggesting that whites also have issues is seen as a minimization of the problems of racism, of bringing “first world problems” into the lives of those who truly have it bad.
Not only this, but you derided them as stupid, foolish, and treated them like children. You arrogantly claimed to know what’s best for everyone, while simultaneously preaching a false equality. Trump spoke to these people, in crude, direct language…a language they understand. You didn’t. And this lost you the election. Well, that and picking an awful candidate to run against him, as Hillary Clinton represented everything these people hate about politics.
And now that I’ve really upset you, let me explain why I think this matters. It matters because Trump is dangerous. I’m not just saying this; his attitudes towards science and facts, as if they don’t matter, and his willingness to endorse others who don’t care is a very real problem. We live in a world that may be literally destroyed by climate change, if not for our children, for our grandchildren or their children, and Trump (and the Republican party) have taken the ostrich approach to the problem, doubling down on oil and coal, apparently on a “fuck it, I’ll be dead anyway” methodology. They are more than happy to destroy U.S. innovation by filling our next generation’s heads with absurd nonsense like creationism and anti-vaccination worries. They are more concerned with the marriage practices of consenting adults, the reproductive decisions of women, and walls in Texas, than with real problems like ISIS/Islamic extremism, North Korea, poverty, liberty, and climate change. This is a very real danger, and while I suspect the Republicans truly believe they are doing the right thing, many of these beliefs are based on faith, half-truths, and outright lies. Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons is still the wrong thing.
For the Republicans, this is your time to prove the Left wrong. Show them you can be reasonable, show them you care about the truth, show them that when Trump says “all Americans” that includes them. The campaign is over, you won. Some of the concerns on both sides have just been rhetoric, akin to claims Obama was going to give the country over to the Muslims and abandon Israel (news flash, he didn’t) or that Bush was going to create a new Christian theocracy (also didn’t happen). Now is the time to reassure the half of America that voted the other way that your way is truly better, and not just a way for you to exclude them. Otherwise, the idea of “civil war” may not be as far-fetched as you think, and there are too many problems in the world, and I love this country too much, to let sectarian politics tear our country apart. If you truly love America, don’t forget that America is just a bunch of dirt containing the people who live there. Without those people, without ALL Americans, you will have truly betrayed what our founding fathers believed in.