Friday, December 2, 2016

Dishers and Takers: what do Trumpeters expect?

            “ You better worry, because that wave of truth and anger will come, and you, other so called progressives, and your immigrant neighbours will be the first to be washed away.”
            - F. Stevens, Hamilton
Letter to the Editor,
Hamilton Spectator,
November 11, 2016

            And people wonder why I’m depressed by a Trump victory?

            Like termites, these bigots have come swarming out of the rotten woodwork, into the letters pages, the radio-call in shows, and the Facebook echo chambers. They’re feeling vindicated now, as if their hatred of Mexicans, Muslims and scientists was somehow right all along. They’re feeling emboldened – their prejudices are official policy now. They’re excited by the purges to come. They’ve been baying for blood for months now, and yet wonder why “mainstream media” won’t respect them.

            What do they want? A gold star for their insight? A pat on the head for the deep understanding of issues?  

            Distain from the “liberal elites” was a common refrain among the Trumpeters’ many grievances. It struck me as a little thin-skinned coming from a group that supposedly admires toughness so much.  But then it’s always struck me how those who reserve the right to hold ridiculous ideas also feel entitled to immunity from scrutiny.

            To be sure, human beings deserve respect. But ideas are open to both criticism and ridicule When a politician offers up a program that’s unrealistic, unworkable, and downright dangerous, how much respect is it entitled to?  Just as when I’m confronted by a creationist, a 9-11 or an anti-vaxer, I’m not going to pretend that Donald Trump is a beacon of enlightenment. His policies aren’t just unworkable, but downright dangerous, and if that results in a little disdain for the people that empowered him, well. . . life sucks.

            Perhaps I should ask of the Trumpeters directly: what do you expect?

            Don’t like liberal condescension? Your guy is a climate change denier, and made a young earth creationist his running mate. What do you expect?

            Resent charges of racism? Your guy is openly endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan! His signature issue is attacking ethnic and religious minorities. What do you expect?

            Resent accusations of callousness? Well, you seem quite ready to abandon a million Syrian refugees to their fate. You do know a lot of those people are going to die, don’t you? Just making sure.

            Resent charges of sexism? Your guy groped and openly bragged about groping women. What do you expect? Besides, have you seen some of the folks showing up to your rallies? The T-shirts and signs? What do you want, the Gruber Prize?

            Think Hillary was out of touch? And Donald Trump, with his penthouses and private jets and mansions was just a regular good ol’ boy wasn’t he?

              Think Hillary was a war monger? And Donald “bomb the shit out of them and take their oil” is just such a dove!

            Think Hillary was mean? Oh come on! Like Donald was a model of civility at the podium!

            Think liberal commentators were mean? Like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are such paragons of decorum!

            Think I’m being hysterical? Well, you’ve read the letter above. When your fellow travellers write letters like that, what do you expect?