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No Reconciliation. No Empathy. No Understanding.

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.

26 thoughts on No Reconciliation. No Empathy. No Understanding.

  1. Thank you. You’ve really articulated so much of what I’ve felt. I’m sick of people who see this as just another election telling us to move on. They seem to understand nothing about history. And you are absolutely right about VRA.

  2. Hugs, sympathy, and a call to organize an underground resistance. My county went 83% for Trump so my Stein vote, probably the only one, was a fart in a whirlwind.
    NPR’s blog reported that a candidate can win the electoral vote by carrying the 27 least populated states. After the Mike Connell Ohio voting hack during the Shrub admin, I’ve suspected GOP corruption in excess of anything attributed to either Clinton. Unless the Left gets expert assistance in combatting the problem, we’re stuck for years to come.

    The American Nazi Party and/or the Aryan Nation has one summer gun camp at Benton, TN, Eric Rudolph was caught 30 miles east in Murphy, NC, (Mohammed Atta tried to rent a private plane in this area) The Turner Diaries was set in this area, and three dittohead terrorists were caught planning bombings at Kennesaw. I live in the epicenter of this Southern shitstorm.

    If there’s anything I can do to fight the bastards that doesn’t involve money, long-distance driving, or losing my job, I’m game.

    The Republicanization of America carries the seeds of its own revenge. My far-right boss will be incensed when Ryan privatizes his Medicare…as will many other Trumpoids.

    You have my utmost sympathy in the death of our intelligent democracy.

    1. I think resistance is going to be vital…I think there are ugly years ahead. I’m trying to figure out the best way to go about it too…

  3. This piece perfectly captures why I still feel incandescent with rage, and unable to salve the conscience of Trump voters who are whining about being called “nasty names” about their ballot choice.

    1. I know! Whenever I see something like that–like “Please don’t hate” from the poster below, I’m just like “Oh, did poor sweet-ums not realize that choices have consequences? And that one of the consequences of voting for a fascist-sexual predator is that other people might not like you any more? Well, fasten your seatbelts, you selfish assholes, because it’s going to be a bumpy four years.”

  4. I am white, male, and, of course, I disagree not only with your opinion (I hope its ok to do that), but also with your use of vulgar language.
    You do not seem to grasp that Hillary Clinton was not electable. I, and most other people wondered how she could use her private server to store and communicate classified documents and then try to bring Colin Powell into this mess. She broke the law and if her name was Smith she would have been prosecuted.

    The wikileaks showed that there was a virulent anti-Catholic feeling and movement within the Clinton camp, and I, a Catholic theologian, found that very offensive.
    The difference between the overt hatred of my Church and the extreme right wing’s vilification of Jews is that this hatred of my Church emanated from official sources directly tied to, not just related to, the candidate and the vilification campaign on the right was totally separate from the Trump campaign. Keep in mind that Trump’s son in law is a practicing Jew.
    There were several politicians with substantial credentials in both parties who could have been credible candidates; the country wasn’t looking for that. The country was looking to wipe the slate clean, or as stated, “drain the swamp”.

    Please do not hate,

    Edward Lewis

    1. I’m a 65 year old white female. Not only was Hillary electable, she won over 1.8 million votes than Donald. Your comments are neither helpful nor kind. Shame on you for taking such delight in inflicting further pain on the woman who wrote this heartfelt post. If you want to be listened to, then you have to listen.

      And as for Catholicism, I was raised a devout Catholic in the pre-Vatican II Church by old style nuns who would most certainly disapprove of your excessive pride. In the old days we were taught to be respectful and kind. Stop trolling these sites. You embarrass the Church with your hubris.

      EG: I hear you.

    2. I am white, male, and, of course, I disagree not only with your opinion (I hope its ok to do that), but also with your use of vulgar language.

      [MODERATOR NOTE] Disagreement is fine, so long as you abide by the netiquette guidelines laid down in this blog's Comment Policy, which is clearly linked in the top navigation bar, and which particularly states that "foul" language is not offensive to us unless it is used as a weapon against a writer or commenter. Swearing for emphasis and common vulgarisms such as "cut the crap" do not reach the threshold for weaponised language. NiteOwle's "shove it up your ass" is borderline because it alludes to violence (albeit self-inflicted), but as it is such an extremely common phrase that it has evolved to an abstraction, it can stand for the moment.

    3. I’m a Catholic too, and I also read those emails. The difference between us, Ed, is that you’re lying about what was in them.

      Oh, and if you have a problem with “vulgar language” feel free to wiggle your fucking fingers and fuck off to a different website.

    4. Mr. Lewis, I have no earthly idea how you could read this post and come away with the impression that I give a flying fuck about either your opinion of my language or your bullshit rationalizations for voting for a goddamn fascist.

      You have the gall to come to the comments section of this post, not the election open thread, and try to change the subject? This post is not about Hillary’s emails or your persecution fantasies re: Catholicism and the Democrats. This post is about what Trump’s election has meant for hate crimes and for me specifically. (I’m sure Trump’s son-in-law thinks he’s safe.)

      You voted for someone endorsed by the KKK and neo-Nazis. They are celebrating. That’s the bottom line. I don’t care what you tell yourself so you can sleep at night.

    5. Trump has named Priebus as his Chief of Staff and Bannon (well-known anti-Semite and white supremacist*) as his Chief Strategist. And is looking at a Goldman Sachs alum as Treasury Secretary. How clean is that slate looking now, sunshine?

      *What’s that you said about anti-Semitism being separate from the campaign? (I mean, to say that you’d have to ignore anti-Semitic ads so obvious that the ADL released a statement, but, sure.)

    6. I don’t care if your religion was insulted in those PRIVATE EMAILS. You know what insults me? Rape. Rape is VERY insulting. Gay children being electrocuted in an attempt to make them straight, I find that highly insulting. Having my best friends wanted dead, having life-and-death struggles made light of. I find all of that insulting.

      So you? And your tender little feelings about your sexist, rapist, bigoted overlord? Not really high on my lists of Things That Need to be Focused On, NOW.

      When your people are willing to admit we exist and have the right to live without calling us unnatural, without making us the butt of jokes, without raping and making light of it, THEN you come talk to us.

      Funny how the people calling for understanding are the ones spewing hate in the first place.

    7. Powell wouldn’t have been “dragged in” unless he had also used private servers that way. Ditto Condalizza Rice and George W. Bush and likely others as well. One reason I don’t think HRC ever would be prosecuted because of the can of worms that would open as a result. Because as you say HRC wasn’t treated like a “smith” but what about these folks?

      I voted for Clinton mainly to go against Trump and b/c even though I live in one of the bluest states, I couldn’t stomach voting for Jill Stein and all her “white mans burden” regarding her reason for picking Trump over Clinton. nonsense that’s too much present in the progessive Left already. I couldn’t support Sanders in the primaries because he’s all for the “working class” as long as the issues that are being addressed are those by white male heteronormative members of it. Women, men of color, gays and lesbians and transgendered people including those in the working class have issues that are separate and vital but which Sanders calls “identity politics”. And I had concerns about many of his stances including attempts to dump his state’s radioactive waste in a poor border town in Texas while his wife served on an oversight commission (and I don’t feel any less concerned now) and the behavior of his supporters including the ones online who called anyone a ‘bot, a bitch or cunt who even questioned Sanders’ platform which mostly appealed to white male (and in many cases white women) heteronormative Cis working class voters.

      I’m too someone who finds it very, very difficult to be sympathetic to Trump voters who don’t like being challenged on their belief that it’s time to accept the presidency and move forward. I am offended that when asked if women were human beings, Trump actually had to think about it before replying it was up for the States to decide. And I’m among the very, very, very least of people who have reasons to dislike, fear and feel absolutely devastated that Trump was elected. And even to those who might not have been surprised or shocked, there’s still devastation and fear. And that is all being erased by people who tell us to give Trump a chance. To me, that’s very offensive as well as Trump’s stances on almost everything not to mention his atrocious appointments on staff and his Cabinet.

      As for Alt-Right, I remember when “trolls” who were “MRAs” (including rape and DV apologists)used to gang up on feminists and women on their boards trying to hijack their conversations with their own agenda and basically whine about how women were sexist. The most prominant of which was a poster named “David Byron” I don’t know how many people remember those days. Alt-Right has always been neonazi, racist, white supremacist and homophobic. Some say it’s always been “fringe” but now it’s more mainstream. At least to the point where journalists including NY Times mae it a priority to cover its recent conference.

      People are scared for themselves, friends and families if they’re on Trump’s List. I’ve got family members, friends, neighbors who are scared. To me that’s a far more serious issue than the hurt feelings of Trump supporters. No one can say they didn’t know what he stood for. Okay maybe these voters didn’t exactly all stand for these things but none of them stopped them from voting for him anyway.

      As for having friends or family that are Jewish (Bannon has a friend. Trump has family), that doesn’t mean a person can’t be antisematic. Hitler allegedly had a commanding officer who was Jewish (and it’s not an incident w/o controversy to how it happened) whose life he spared (though that was revoked after a year and the man wound up in a labor camp) but six million Jewish people still were murdered under his command anyway.

      The people who voted for Trump had the choice of doing that just like those who opted out of the election thinking it was Trump who was unelectable (and polls show many nonvoters leaned that way) had their choice to make. Those who did either should own it. I would have taken responsibility for my vote for HRC if she won and got prosecuted (not likely but possible) or got involved in a scandal. Trump’s got baggage too even if the media’s not covering it. Massive debt to the tune of over half a billion dollars owed to foreign banks. A complaint filed with the FBI against his Super PAC. His financial ties to the pipe line which is the subject of large-scale continuous protests in North Dakota and his ties with Russia including its president Putin. And other stuff. Whatever is on his income tax returns that he doesn’t want people to see.

      But to come off of a campaign ran by Trump which was racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamaphobic, antisemantic and ask the people who were targeted by the rhetoric and action plans of Trump and his followers and to ask people to accept it just smacks of all kinds of entitlment. I just think in many cases it’s a waste of time and energy. They got the president they want, after many GOP members complained and even heckled President Obama saying he wasn’t their president for eight years including members of the GOP Congress. If they feel entitled to behave that way, they shouldn’t expect ohers to be told by them what to do.

      Hate? I don’t hate anyone. People have the right to decide who to support but they need to just own it and suck up when people don’t have much use for serving in anyway to valididate choices they themselves don’t agree with.

      Plus no time for that. I’ve been busy. Do you know how much hate crimes and incidents have EXPLODED since the election? Not to mention that organizations like the ACLU (and its 150,000 new members not to mention more volunteers) and Planned Parenthood (with 20,000 donations made in Pence’s name)all need help and support not to mention many, many, many other organizations including those with legal aid for those who’ll need it. That’s what is keeping me busy but then there’s always more than enough to keep a person busy. I just don’t have much time to spend even if I were inclined to make Trump voters feel better with their voting choices.

    8. ” and I, a Catholic theologian, found that very offensive.” I wouldn’t brag about being a part of the most despicable , hateful home for pedophiles in the history of the world..

  5. @Edward F. Lewis

    “You do not seem to grasp that Hillary Clinton was not electable.”

    Cut the crap. Hillary won more than 50% of popular the vote, so yes she certainly was electable.

    And as a Jew, I extremely offended by your comparison the supposed anti-Catholic sentiment within the Clinton campaign to thousands of years of antisemitism. They are not the same thing. The Catholic church is a giant institution with plenty of power behind it (which, you seem to forget, it used to persecute Jews until if was forced to stop). YOU are not in danger, YOU are not being targeted with swastikas. So quit fucking whining about having your delicate sensibilities offended while minorities in this country have real worries about our safety.

    And, BTW, take your language policing and shove it up your ass.

    1. Thank you, NiteOwle. Seriously, how can the candidate who literally got more votes be “unelectable”?

      And the paranoia–sure, we all remember when Obama appointed Hillary Clinton Secretary of State and anti-Catholic hate crimes spiked, right? Oh, wait, THAT NEVER HAPPENED.

  6. Since I was a small child, I’ve had an admittedly morbid interest in world war II. A direct result of this is that I’ve been fucking terrified these last few weeks, because some of the parallels are uncanny.

    Of course, try and POINT OUT some of these comparisons and people cry Godwin’s Law (and even the creator of Godwin’s Law has said that no.. the comparisons are valid, and not actually Godwinning).

    It’s additionally frustrating that people here are smug as shit about being in Canada.. they think it can’t happen here, that we don’t have a racism problem here (which is absolute bullshit). Meanwhile, a few of the people running for Conservative leadership are already praising Trump.

  7. EG – I’m so sorry about this election. I’m fucking terrified for you and your baby boy. I’m also fucking terrified for my (pregnant) cousin who looks very, very brown and lives in the US and is an open atheist. I’m fucking terrified for all of you, and for all of us. I just wanted to say you’ve been in my thoughts since the election – that’s why I dropped by here – and I know how you feel (India elected its own Trump after all) and I hope to fuck the end of this megalomaniac nazi’s term in office sees you and your family still safe and okay. I don’t know what else to say.

    1. Mac! I’m so happy to hear from you! The whole political situation, in the US, in India, in the UK, in so many places is just terrifying. I’m trying to figure out what I can do to fight it…but everything feels so inadequate. I hope your cousin and her coming baby are able to stay safe. Do you have my email address? I’m not the best correspondent in the world, but I’d love to stay in touch.

      Thank you so much for thinking of me and my family. I’m going to try to post more often…but you know how it goes.

  8. You don’t get to stand up to be counted with Nazis or the KKK, and then while when the people they target count you with them

    Or when they count you with them. Because if there’s a group who really thinks all white people are racists, or anti-Semites? It’s the racists and anti-Semites – the KKK and Nazis. And anyone who voted for Trump was telling them they were right.

  9. HI there EG!

    Long time no talkie talkie…I’m just about done with my 2nd year in London! We’ve got our own (Brexit) issues.

    I’m not sure that giving him enough rope to hang himself is not fighting back, it’s merely fighting back in a subtle way.

    And honestly I think if Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren had run in the primary we could have gotten a real accurate metric on how popular Hillary actually was. Of course she beat Sanders.

    Fat Steve

    P.S. If you want to see a great band, Arkells are playing at the Beacon Theatre in Febuary (17, Ithink.) Saw them here and it was the best gig I’ve seen in years. Made me feel youg again.

    1. Hi Fat Steve! Good to hear from you, and I’ll try to make it to the show in February.

      How are things in London?

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