I know it’s been over a year since I’ve been around. But, what the hell, I wrote this, I figured, I’d post it here. Just in case anybody wants to read it.
I’ve been seeing a lot of calls for people on the left (defined very broadly as “everyone who opposed Trump”) to have empathy for Trump voters. To listen and respond to their concerns. To reach out to the Trump voters they know and try to change their minds with gentle persuasion and calm talks. That, I’m being told everywhere, is the work in front of us, what we need to do.
And it’s been enraging me.
It’s taken me a while to figure out why it’s been enraging me. I’ve run through various reasons, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. Here are a few of the reasons, including the one that I think is the real issue for me. I know it’s real because thinking and writing about it is making me shake and feel sick.
1) It renders me unable to help. I don’t have family that voted Trump. I’ve had debates with many of my family members over various issues, including race and racism, but that “racist uncle” so many white people seem to have whose jokes they let slide for the sake of family peace? I don’t have one. I’m thrilled about that, by the way. Even the most conservative member of my family voted against Trump. I can think of one who may have voted third-party or write-in, but he did so in NYC, so it’s not like he threw the election. From what I’ve read, Jews in general went 70%-30% for Hillary, similar to Latino communities.
2) I didn’t think it worked, from the evidence of my own experience. Turns out I’m wrong about this. OK. That happens. I’ve been wrong before, sometimes quite publicly, and in the fullness of time, no doubt I’ll be wrong again.
3) It continues to put Trump voters in the spotlight, in the front and center of everybody’s mind. Remember before the election, how tired we all were of thinkpieces and essays detailing the fears, the worries, the values of Trump voters? How we all kept asking why nobody was writing articles about Hillary supporters like that? This is just more of the same. More centering of white people and their concerns. More taking black voters for granted.
4) Hillary didn’t lose because she didn’t appeal to Trump voters. Hillary lost because the VRA was gutted. And the VRA was gutted because we didn’t have the Supreme Court. There were over 800 fewer polling places this election. There were voter ID laws. There was voter intimidation and misinformation. There were people—usually black people—turned away at the polls for bullshit reasons. We on the left—particularly we white people on the left—have a duty not to abandon those whose votes were suppressed, part of a long US tradition of refusing suffrage to black people. Those are our people, our comrades-in-arms. Restoring their rights should be our priority, not yet more coddling of voters ready to line up behind a fascist.
All those are true (except #2, I’m wrong about that). But that’s not why I simply cannot bring myself to “reach out” to those motherfuckers who voted for Trump. Here’s why:
I’m a Jew.
I’m a Jew, and Trump ran an anti-Semitic campaign. He used anti-Semitic ads. He wouldn’t disavow David Duke. He’s been endorsed by the KKK and neo-Nazis across the country. Anti-Semites are his advisers and on his transition team. Since he’s been elected, swastika and “Sieg Heil” graffiti have appeared on storefronts in Philly, in middle and high schools. The KKK is holding a victory march in North Carolina. Neo-nazi threads on Reddit have been celebrating.
It’s no secret what the swastika stands for. It’s no secret how white supremacists feel about Jews.
If you voted for Trump, you gave aid, comfort, and support to those people. You threw in your lot with people who want me dead. Who want my 17-month-old son dead. Who want my best friend dead. Who want her small children dead. Who want my parents dead. Who want my grandfather, my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my cousin’s two daughters dead dead dead dead DEAD.
Are you getting the picture yet? Are you getting the message that you sent to me if you voted for Trump?
So I don’t give a flying fuck whether you held your nose or felt reluctant when you voted for Trump or wept as you walked from the polling place after endorsing the candidate of people who want me and many of the people I love dead. I don’t give a fuck about your worries. I don’t give a fuck about your fears. I don’t give a fuck about your financial situation (bullshit argument anyway; people making under 50K a year broke for Hillary in the end). I don’t give a fuck about your soul or your psyche or your future.
You support people who want me and the people I love dead.
There is no compromise possible here. What is the compromise with people who are OK with killing me and my family? That you’ll only let half of us die?
No unifying. No empathy. No understanding. No calm and patient talks. No kindness. No compromise. No reconciliation. No common ground. No reaching out. No more chances. Not from me.
Trump voters supported and continue to lend cover to people who want the children I love dead. This is not an exaggeration. This is exactly what white supremacists did to Jews when they were in power in Germany. Every time I think about swastikas appearing on walls in this country and I think about the children I love my heart starts pounding. Fuck them for doing this to me.
If you can reach out and practice the art of gentle persuasion on Trump voters, good luck and Godspeed. I support you and what you are doing 100%. You are doing needed work.
I’ll focus my efforts elsewhere. On looking into doing volunteer work for the immigrants’ center down the block from me. On contributing to the Southern Poverty Law Center. On lobbying to restore VRA.
I have nothing for Trump voters but bile and vitriol. They scorched the earth with their vote. They can go to hell.