|We’re on fire right now.|
Proceed at your own risk…
The other day on Facebook I rather succinctly explained how much I despise Florida. There were a lot of F-bombs thrown. The only thing good about Florida, I said, is the wildlife (excluding roaches!). I was so worked up, the only bad things I could think about, besides the racists, were the heat and the sweat. I was bitterly disappointed with the way the election had turned out–Florida, yet again in the suffocating red–that I couldn’t think straight. (Granted, the November heat of this gods-forsaken place could have had something to do with it. Seriously, it’s November already. Where’s the cold? There is no cold. There won’t be any cold.)
I’m still not a Democrat. I have no party affiliation. I used to think that meant I was a thinking person. But apparently crazy right-wing whackos can claim NPA, too. I learned that shortly before the election when I encountered one. He claimed he didn’t read any news (because I accused him of being a FOXNews idiot) and yet he parroted a bunch of right-wing conspiracy theories that he must have gotten from somewhere. Or do these ideas travel from dimwit to dimwit via some sort of bigot meme highway?
Anyway, I say I’m not a Democrat, just so you don’t think I’ve been staunchly liberal my entire life and am just pissed that “my side” didn’t win. Nope. I’ve always been–before now–one of those people who votes for whomever she thinks is best.* Well, not anymore. I will never vote for a Republican again.
Only recently my brother decided to “come out” on Facebook to all of his racist, right-wing, Trump supporting high school friends (and hence, people I also know) as a Democrat. It did not go well. I’d already unfriended most of them, but there were a few that now needed the extra thump of blocking. One woman even said “FAKE NEWS!” In all caps, just like that. Crazy.
[No, really, this needs more…I called Donald Trump a bigot (among other things) and she asked for proof. So I linked to an article that listed things he’s done, mostly with his business, that are racist. And naturally, she couldn’t accept it, because it wasn’t FOXNews. Jesus H. Christ, this is madness.]
Anyway, politically speaking (and no doubt in many other ways), Florida, thus far, proves itself once again the flaccid penis of the country. DeSantis? Rick Scott? Are you kidding me?
So, you get that I’ve been angry, right? And today, I had the pleasure of reading an essay by social worker Michelle Martin, “Explaining Donald Trump (and his supporters).” It’s worth the read, but don’t get too attached. She does an excellent job in explaining them. This bit stands out:
[R]ight-wing populists yearn for the “good old days,” often called the “mythical golden past.” This is particularly the case for older white men, and it’s also the reason why the slogan “Make America Great Again” has resonated so strongly. They embrace traditional values, including traditional gender norms and roles, including patriarchy (men on top), traditional social hierarchies (white men on top), and traditional religious practice (Christian white men on top).
The truth, and she only slightly sidesteps it, is that these people are racists. But she falls short when she starts talking about compassion.
I know it seems crazy for me to ask people to have a little compassion for Trump supporters, but that is ultimately what I’m asking. I also know it’s difficult for progressives to have any sympathy for people who often embrace racially divisive rhetoric, who defend immigrant kids in cages, who mock sexual assault survivors, and who champion (even covertly) people who walk down the street carrying torches while screaming white nationalist slogans. But their reality really is frightening, for them. And people typically act in the most extreme ways when they believe–when they know, that their way of life is ending.
Yes, it seems crazy. Because it is crazy. Yes, their way of life is ending. But it’s been ending for a long time. And Martin admits as much in her penultimate paragraph. People of color, from native Americans to blacks, Asians, Latinos, etc. (We could include any caucasian populations the “White, Christian ‘Murican Patriots” despised when they arrived on our shores–the Irish, for example–but they’ve finally been accepted because you know…the paleness of their skin is all that matters in the long run) have been waiting all this time for white, Christian America to grow up already.
These people do not deserve compassion. They deserve our contempt for clinging to their myth of superiority; for claiming a status they did not earn; for their cowardly acts of violence against enemies they created solely for the purpose of having someone on which to vent their comical rage at their own impotence (acts as subtle as a snub and as blatant as murder); and for their refusal to evolve with the rest of humanity, their refusal to turn away from hate and cruelty.
They are like vicious dogs. They’ve been trained to froth at the mouth and bark, sometimes attack. But unlike dogs, they are immune to love and kindness, to compassion, because they are warped. They can’t be “un-trained” because they refuse to look at reality. They’ve created their own anti-reality, their own news and alternative facts, their own monsters, their own narrative in which they are heroes. But the rest of us know the truth: As Martin says, “Their way of life is ending. ” The world is leaving them behind.
*About those ridiculous memes going around about how you’re so adult because you choose a candidate based on his fitness for the job as opposed to party. You know, that was all well and good back in the day, before the Republican party slid into fascism. Now, it just makes you look like the bystanders watching as the Jews were marched into the camps. You’re not an adult. You’re complicit.