My Thoughts Episode IV: A New Hype (final edit)
(edit: added a rebuttal to another talking point near the bottom of the page.
Also, please keep your criticism constructive. Otherwise you’re just proving my main point at the bottom.)
Attention: I will no longer be updating this page or replying to comments. Only two people attempted to provide any constructive criticism. The rest of the comments were just drama. In hindsight, my response could’ve been better. And I apologize for my unintended antagonism. My poor choice of words are on me. But dammit, I was trying to keep things impersonal. This has been an unexpected, unintended, and ugly way to prove my point about how political polarization blinds us all. I almost unpublished this page, but I decided that felt like lying.
I don’t remember the last time I felt this stressed by an online argument. Not even when I debated in YouTube comments against a dog-pile of idiots who insisted Resident Evil 5 somehow wasn’t racist. I dunno why that is. I’m in no state to introspect clearly, but off-hand I’m guessing I expected better of this community than to take out their anger at Trump’s election on me over minor slights. We’re all trying to figure out what went wrong. That I have different opinions on this subject doesn’t make me your enemy.
I get that lots of people will be far worse off than me under Trump’s administration. I get that there is a great deal of justified fear and resentment. But I’m not Trump. I’m not one of the hate groups that endorsed him. I didn’t vote for him.
Regardless of who you blame for Trump’s election, or for the drama in this page’s comments, ask yourselves this: if this is how well we handle disagreements among ourselves, how effectively can we hope to organize against Trump in the coming years?
I had believed that my previous page regarding my post-election thoughts would be my last. That I had laid-out and refined everything I had to say. But now I feel the need to elaborate more on political polarization among us liberals. I won’t name anybody. And I’ll be paraphrasing some of the arguments I’ve heard, since I’ve heard more than variant of each.
There are plenty of us who are bitter, which is understandable, but not at all helpful. And there are a number of us, even here on LGF, who aren’t earnestly trying to understand what went wrong. They tell themselves that they are, but all they’re doing is trying to rationalize their preconceptions and demonize “the other,” while accusing them of doing just that. Which brings me to my first point:
1 - “Wait! What are you talking about? Trump has been saying racist, xenophobia things. And white supremacists endorsed him. How dare you equate me with that!”
Racism isn’t the only form of prejudice. It’s easy to assume everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. But that’s just wrong. The majority of registered voters in this country are unaffiliated. That means they’re not registered as a republican, nor as a democrat. If you assume everybody who didn’t vote your way has a borg-like hive-mind, you might just be projecting.
“But, but…” Hold on a sec. Let’s stay on format.
2 - Okay, you were saying? “But how can they just ignore what a horrible monster Trump is? Aren’t they clearly condoning his racism and sexism?”
I dunno, how can we just ignore civilians killed by drone strikes? How can we ignore the legally questionable expansion of NSA surveillance? Does that mean we condone these things? Whichever way you answer that last question, that still puts us inside a glass house with an armful of stones. We all ignore the faults of “our guy” for the sake of “the greater good.” We’re all guilty of this kind of bias. The majority of Trump voters are no different in this regard. How can we ignore that economic recovery efforts only benefit cities while rural communities which lost their manufacturing economic backbones have been left to rot?
3 - “There’s no bringing back manufacturing jobs. They should just accept it, shut up and suffer in silence, and vote for our candidates anyway for the greater goo… Oh, don’t give me that look.”
Its far easier to preach sacrifice for the greater good when it’s someone else paying the price. When it’s someone else whose suffering instead of you. Also, this is false. Read my previous page, linked up at top.
4 - “They selfishly put their own needs over those of discriminated minorities.”
What did I say a minute ago about drone strikes? Quit throwing stones already.
We could’ve prevented this from happening. We could’ve peered outside our bubble, took note of people’s complaints, and tried to do something to help them. Instead, we blocked it out, and focused on only the good things that happened on Obama’s watch. We assumed conservatives were making up the stagnation of rural America to tar Obama and rile-up their base.
Our fanatical partisanship forced them to choose between their own needs and that of distant strangers. It wasn’t either/or until we helped make it so. Besides, as I’ve said twice before, we have no right to preach altruism. Whatever happens to minorities under Trump’s watch, they’re just drone strike victims as far as rural America is concerned. Tragic to hear in the abstract, but we’ve got our own
I might edit this page for additions as I either hear new arguments, or get reminded of arguments that I forgot.
Edit 1 - “The majority of Trump supporters are middle-class or at least well above the poverty line.”
This talking-point is based on a pre-election poll. And we’ve just seen that there were alot of people the pollsters didn’t account for. This is why the scientific method requires peer review and duplicate studies.
Most who voted for Trump live in rural communities, and the middle-class is almost non-existent there. Even taking into account that the majority of Americans didn’t show-up on election day, how is it mathematically possible for the majority of Trump voters to be so well off?
(subject to possible change) - “Hillary Clinton wasn’t ignoring rural communities. She had ideas to help them.”
Like what? Infrastructure, small businesses, and green energy? That’s all I heard, and I’ve been in the same liberal bubble as you. I even subjected myself (understatement) to watching the debates. If Clinton had other ideas, she didn’t communicate them for beans. It might’ve gotten lost in all the attention paid to Trump’s racism, sexism, and ridiculously bad business practices. (I mean, srsly? Who loses nearly a billion dollars in one year running casinos?)
If HRC had better ideas for rural America than an echo of President Obama’s economic plan, and I missed them, how well do you think they’ve been conveyed to Trump country?
If you want, blame the Clinton campaign for bad messaging. Or blame the media. Or even blame ourselves collectively. But who’s to blame hardly matters, compared to the results. Clinton sounded like four more years of Obama, and rural communities hit hard with high rates of unemployment, addiction, and suicide, decided on a changing of the guard.
Edit 3 - “Back in the primaries, Trump called Mexicans rapists, and shot up to the top of the tracking polls.”
Party primaries have a far lower turnout than the general election. They tend to draw the more passionate, fanatical, or just plain whack. It’s a very skewed sample from which to draw wider conclusions. I never said there are no racists among Trump voters. I said that we’ve tarred them all with the same brush, and that is a mistake.
My point is that if you make arguments similar to the ones above, then you’re probably more interested in defending your narrative than genuinely seeking to understand. The solution is to engage in open-minded conversations with people in Trump country with the goal of understanding their POV instead of shaming them.
Remember, the people who supported racial segregation by law didn’t all die off. They were convinced. That takes engagements, not mockery and demonizing. All the later has ever accomplished was pushing each of us to seek solace in our respective echo-chambers. Besides, you might learn something too.
(edit: again, I remind you to keep your criticism constructive. Otherwise you’re proving my point above)