Just to get this out of the way up front, I abhor Donald Trump.
I am angry and anxious all the time because of his rhetoric. He triggers my ex-husband and bully former boss PTSD. The sexual assault survivor inside me weeps. I said, “Me too” during the Kavanaugh debacle. I am so tired of mean people, of violence, of racism, of misogyny, of hate, and Donald Trump seems to bring all of these out in people.
Because it is summer vacation, I’ve had time to engage in Facebook conversations that I am too exhausted and overwhelmed to during the school year. If you Facebook, here is a link to what I posted on this blog’s FB page … it started a heck of a battle on my personal page which ended in some people creating a #TeamKatie hashtag and others sharing highly inappropriate right wing memes on my page.
There was a time in my life when I was angry and vocal with that hate. It didn’t do anything but tick people off.
I’ve become a lot more reflective in recent months, partly because of the standard aging process, but even more so because I have taken the time to listen and think about the people that I disagree with politically. If I want them to listen and think about what I am saying, I have to be willing to do the same.
It has been my experience that most people are not nasty with me (or even on my threads) because I am not nasty to them. I will counterpoint their arguments, with every attempt made to find facts to back myself up, but I try to always be respectful.
Observation: When vitriol is spewed by Trump supporters, it is almost always matched in kind by people angry with, disgusted by, fearful of, and otherwise metaphorically beaten down by Trump.
Further observation: This doesn’t help anyone. It ends in people being more angry, more hate-filled, and they double down on the “I’m right” line. On both sides. Then it turns into name calling, blocking, and drama that sometimes gets very personal.
It is so unnecessary.
I think there are two categories of Trump Supporters.
Type As find Trump morally reprehensible, but they by and large agree with his politics. They are disgusted by and ashamed of his rhetoric, but they cannot bring themselves to vote for the other candidate, often because of a single issue that is a hard no for them (as an example, I have a friend who is extremely caring and kind. She was adopted as a child and, as an adult, had several miscarriages and eventually a baby born at 20-something weeks that she was encouraged to abort because doctors told her it could not live. She did not abort. Her baby survived. All of those things have led to her believing that any abortion, ever, no matter the circumstances, is wrong. She would never vote for a pro-choice candidate).
And then, there are the Type Bs. These are the MAGA screamers, the ones that have allowed their inner racist, misogynist, and hater out in direct response to Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
It is very difficult to debate with a Type A Trump supporter because they understand the cost to them, yet they are firmly unwilling to waver from their policy opinions. They will defend Trump’s policies but admit to being disgusted, or at least bothered by, the man himself. It’s kind of how I feel about Bill Clinton at this point in my life. I mean, I kind of get it, if from the other direction.
And trying to reason with a Type B Trump supporter is like banging your head into a wall. They are proud of their support for Trump, believes he is “telling it like it is”, and are empowered to speak and act and Tweet the way he has made acceptable. They are largely ignorant of his policies (I’m pretty sure some of them think there is actually a wall being built right now on the Mexican border). Few of them know where Benghazi is, never mind what actually happened there.
They fail to see that the El Paso shooter used Trump’s own words. According to journalist Meti Hasan:
[The shooter’s] manifesto declares the imminent attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion,” accuses Democrats of “pandering to the Hispanic voting bloc,” rails against “traitors,” and condemns “race mixing” and “interracial unions.” “Yet another reason to send them back,” it says.
Sound familiar? The president of the United States — who condemned the El Paso attack on Twitter — has repeatedly referred to an “invasion” at the southern border; condemned Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and Syrian refugees as “snakes”; accused his critics of treason on at least two dozen occasions; and told four elected women of color to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.”
Their arguments consist of snowflake shouting, sharing memes that are made from utter falsehoods, and parading their list of Obama’s perceived sins, or even worse, saying, “But it was okay when your sweetheart Hillary did (fill in the blank).”
This is what I call the four-year-old argument, and it drives me crazy. I am as disgusted by Bill Clinton’s treatment of women as I am Donald Trump’s. Trump defenders try to use this all the time to defend this pussy-grabbing wonder. It was wrong when Clinton has treated women horrifically … it does not make it okay for Trump to do the same. Clinton’s bad behavior should not give Trump a free pass.
We, the Liberals of America, will never change the opinions of either Type A or Type B Trump supporters. It’s just not possible.
What we need to do is talk to what I call “Sane Republicans” who are disturbed enough by Trump not to vote for him, Libertarians, and independents about their options. They can look at what Bill Weld is offering, for example, or they can find another person of courage and integrity willing to run against Trump and speak these truths. They can hope that a centrist Democrat candidate emerges (speaking for myself, this is a hope for me as well). They can, at the very least, make the choice not to vote for Trump the way many chose not to vote for Hillary Clinton.
What we cannot do is go down the road that many anti-Trump folk seem determined to travel: violent protests, responding to Trump’s hate and anger with hate and anger of our own, idiotic boycotts, and so on.
Once again, for those in the back, you will not change Trump supporters, either Type A or B. You will not.
And this type of behavior will alienate “Sane Republicans”, Libertarians, and independents. They will be disgusted by you, and perhaps their disgust for you will be less than their disgust for Trump, but it is more likely that they will choose to sit out the election or stick with voting on policy even if they have to hold their noses to do it.
This post has been very hard for me to write, in large part because my “Trumpxiety” has given me tremendous writer’s block for a long time. I made the decision to write it following the reaction of some of my liberal Facebook friends to a post I made today. (I posted originally on my personal FB page but added it to the Philosophy of KLo page as I knew that I would be writing about it)
To make a long story short, you may have heard that Donald Trump is visiting New Hampshire tomorrow.
From Manchester’s Union Leader (which is, incidentally, anti-Union and very much a conservative publication):
[A spokeswoman from] the American Friends Service Committee took to social media this week urging like-minded liberal activists and Trump opponents to flood the arena management with phone calls, as well as the arena’s sponsors — Digital Federal Credit Union, Coca-Cola, Auto Fair and Southern New Hampshire University.
“We can’t stop him from coming, but we can let the SNHU Arena know that New Hampshire people do not want Trump’s message of racism and violence in our communities,” [the spokeswoman] wrote on Facebook. “Call the SNHU Arena and any of their sponsors.”’
I made a post saying that it is wrong to hold an event location and its sponsors responsible and to boycott in ways that could ignite violence (like I said, the “He’s a monster so it’s okay for us to act monstrous” is a four-year-old argument that disillusions me, to say the least), and the responses really made me think.
Also worth noting is that, according to the Boston Herald, SNHU has “no control over the arena’s bookings” and at least one of the sponsors, Digital Federal Credit Union, issued a statement saying, “We have sponsorships at a number of arenas and event venues across New England”, concluding with, “We do not control or endorse the specific events that are held or booked at these venues.”
Point #1: Trump seems to call for boycotts all the time.
Me: I would like to think we’re better than him. The high road isn’t easy, but it gives you a lot of moral credence when judging others.
Also, I was less angry about the boycotts (although SNHU Arena is an event locale and it needs to sustain … there are actually a lot of liberal politics that come out of SNHU itself) and more about harassing employees. It is not their fault, and making their job more difficult is a dick move.
I can hate politicians and their monstrousness (in the case of Trump), but why hurt innocent people in the process? It’s a slippery slope, too … so we’re going to boycott Coke, a SNHU sponsor, and if we’re really going to do this, we’d better boycott every store that sells Coke because, you know, association. So small stores will suffer for carrying Coke, which sponsors SNHU, which took a huge fee that will pay thousands of employees? Does not make sense to me.
Point #2: They’re calling for peaceful protests. I don’t see an issue with this.
Me: They are talking about making the employees get stuck on phone lines by calling nonstop (which will result in employees getting in trouble for not doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is hugely unfair) and other such obnoxious behavior. Totally wrong to crap on employees.
Point #3: Boycotting a company for making money from racism is completely acceptable.
(I did not respond to this one on FB, because it got me so tangled up inside, but here are my thoughts on the matter)
I completely agree that boycotting a company for making money from racism is acceptable. I would never go into a Chick Fil A because of their treatment of LGBTQ. Much as I love Moons over My Hammy, I avoid Denny’s because of their history of documented racism against African-Americans. Walmart. Cracker Barrel. General Electric.
The racism, bigotry, and hate is tied directly to the company. Boycott away.
The situation where people are talking about boycotting SNHU Arena, an event location, for hosting an event is not SNHU embracing racism. SNHU’s sponsors are not speaking out in support of Trump and, as noted above, made it very clear that events hosted there do not represent their opinions. SNHU, the credit union, et cetera did not donate money to the Trump campaign … why should they suffer?
When we react to Trump’s evil in inappropriate, hate-filled ways, we are making his supporters very happy.
Make no mistake, Donald J. Trump’s ideology is racist, misogynistic, hate-filled, and evil. Even if we wanted to stretch really hard and say he, himself, is not these things, he very intentionally plays to those of his supporters that are.
I’ve been disillusioned with the Democratic party for awhile now (cue “Baby, it’s Cold Outside”, when liberals got offended just to get offended instead of taking the two minutes to actually research the song’s meaning).
I know my right wing friends are going to be angry that I wrote a piece slamming Trump and his world of hate. I know my left wing friends are going to be angry that I wrote a piece slamming retaliating by bringing even more hate into the world.
But I also know that I had to say all of this, for myself.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Please, stop the hate. It doesn’t matter who hated first or who hated harder.
Trump will not be president forever, but our friends and neighbors that we disagree with will still be here.
Try for love.