It might be a good time to remember that many, many people who voted for Donald Trump also voted for Barack Obama… twice. We must reconcile this paradox. It’s going to be a tough 8 years if we can’t.
Frankly, I’m not spending every day for the next eight years incensed and indignant. The stress will kill me. It will kill you. There will be many occasions when outrage or hopelessness will overwhelm us. If we are determined to resist this presidency we must pick our battles judiciously. Yet, one of the first battles I’m having is with myself, how do I empathise with those who voted for President Trump? It’s a tough call. Last year I had to set aside my resentment and accept the decision made by the British people and members of my family who voted for Brexit.
A desperate need for change is not peculiar to the USA. All over the world people are expressing anti-establishment sentiments, electing anti-establishment leaders and pushing for anti-establishment solutions like Brexit and Trump. I’m less upset than curious, less sad… than prepared for a scrap.
President Trump’s inaugural speech astonishingly laid bare his distrust of a corrupt and self serving American government and by extension our distrust of a corrupt and self serving government. He audaciously described his contempt for the very people he shared the bipartisan stage. A truculent POTUS at odds with both democrats and republicans, the Intelligence Community and The Deep State might (I’m clutching at straws) turn out to be what we all need.
Part of me is still pissed that Bernie Sander’s fight for the presidency was scuppered by Clinton fanatics at the DNC as revealed by Wikileaks. Both Sanders and Trump energised the nations voters with the promise of revolution. They both understood what Clinton failed to grasp: voters were demanding radical change… at any cost.
Hillary Clinton and more of the same was never going to fly in 2016.
There’s no one group of voters to blame for the ascendency of narcissistic President Trump, so we must stop blaming the working poor for this distressing state of affairs. We must stop blocking them and de-friending them and berating them on social media. Fact: white working class men were joined by white women and brown people and LGBT folk to elect Trump.
Clinton supporters who didn’t want radical change lazily blame white male ignorance. My friends assure me poor white people have been hoodwinked by Trump. They smugly remind me the white working class were voting against their ‘own interests’.
Were they? Were poor white men hoodwinked by President Trump? No. They knew exactly what they wanted.
Voting against ones own interests is an elitist construct. It assumes the poor have interests and the lives lived by the poor are interesting enough for the poor to protect. Due to the banking crisis the poor have been left with nothing. They have no hope, no happiness, no health care and diminishing prospects. Nobody spoke better to the nihilistic poor than Trump who said: I’m going to punish those who ignore you, who look down at you… those who confused you with trans rest rooms; the affluent gays… no longer second class perverts. The angry blacks and First Nation people who remind you of your cruel heart. The women who emasculate you with feminism and equal wages.
When was America great? America was great when white men were allowed unfettered dreams of greatness as others suffered some indignity at their hands. This election had nothing to do with Obama-care, nothing to do with food stamps or undocumented workers… this election had everything to do with self-esteem and unrealistic expectations. White male self-esteem and expectations.
My friends balked when Trump promised to stop manufacturing from leaving the USA, how could anyone believe such nonsence? Nobody. It’s perfectly obvious to the white working class the jobs aren’t coming back and even if by some Trump miracle they did? The working poor know they wouldn’t get those jobs. They know jobs have been mechanised. They know a high school education excludes them from those jobs. What’s more they have no doubt the rich will get richer and lower corporation tax will further enrich the few… but at least they won’t have to question their own white supremacy. White men, voting Trump, are throwing themselves off the cliff into the abyss because they ran out of choices. Voting for Trump is poor white suicide, an honorable death, a samurai falling on his sword.
Poor white men have nothing and will certainly lose what little they have but Trump restores their white dignity before they die. If we fail to empathize with those who elected President Trump the pendulum will swing further to the right and our sticks and stones will not save us from full-blown fascism.