So, I am admittedly writing this at the last possible moment. Not trying to change minds here, I guess, I’m just trying to figure things out for myself and express it as rationally and sincerely as possible. These issues are important and should be thought about deeply. That’s all I’m generally attempting to do.
I follow politics as much as I can, and as an American abroad I think it’s even more important to be aware of what is happening in the world. It matters. The times, they are serious. If you happen to be friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed the articles I choose to share. While I try not to be too annoying or angry when it comes to political rants, there are things worth being aware of and I say what I can.
However, I’m not truly qualified to be a columnist and a pundit and I don’t usually take up this sort of writing. My journalism tends to be light, and my fiction tends to be about human experiences in small scales. I am not the kind of blogger to try to save the world or anything.
Yet now I am writing this post in a rush in an attempt to organize all that is going on in my mind. History is unfolding right before the world’s eyes, and I must attempt to comment upon it before the results of the polls come in and it’s too late. Here I go.
* * *
First of all, as someone who generally tries to be a moral person I am going to start this out by talking about Nazis. Yeah, went there, let’s get it out of the way already. There is indeed a valid reason every argument seems to get into Nazis eventually, and that’s because it really is a point in world history worth making comparisons. And is it just me, or is it more poignant that ever?
I do have a point I’m getting to. The main question remains: Was the average German citizen in the 1930s particularly evil, or were they merely caught up in historical forces beyond their understanding? And moreover, where they victims of propaganda or do they deserve to be held responsible for supporting the worst dictatorship in history?
I used to lean towards the side that it wasn’t quite the average person’s fault. Both cynically and sympathetically, I used to conclude that the average folk of most societies would probably support a Nazi party if historical forces added up, and that it wasn’t really their fault. We must be ever more wary and question ourselves for that reason, so that we can have the perspective to not get caught up in evil ideologies. I mean, we should hope that future historians don’t look back and ask the question of why we of today are so evil. Shouldn’t that be a good benchmark for inner contemplation on human morality?
That’s what I used to think. I don’t think that way that any longer. Today, I can no longer help but think that the average German citizenry who supported Nazism – or at least was too apathetic to care so long as they’re Aryan – were terrible people and should be judged accordingly for it. I think this because contemporary Trump supporters are the modern equivalent.
That’s what I’m saying. As a (hopefully) thoughtful American, I believe that Trump supporters are terrible human beings and they should know better and don’t deserve sympathy and history will judge them as monsters.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a greater perspective. Like, pretty much everywhere is evil when you break it down. I live in the People’s Republic of China, which one used to at least be able to say was going in a positive direction until Xi Jinging took power. I have connections to Israel, which certainly does have its human-rights abusing issues and currently the Likud party in particular. I went to South Africa last year, full of upper-class whites who got where they are by way of apartheid. Even the United States has a complicated history of aboriginal genocide and slavery and oppression throughout the 20th century, and hell the Bush years of illegal war-mongering wasn’t that long ago and the Obama administration wasn’t as different as it was supposed to be! And that just goes for the countries with the most power, plenty of less developed nations have terrible challenges. It’s a complex web of historical privilege, apathy, and some brainwashing that usually makes it not totally the fault of citizens that their governments can be forces of evil.
Yet something else is going on right now. Something ugly. There is a powerful new movement within my country and it can’t be excused as them just getting caught up in a manipulated framework they don’t understand. No, they are willfully-ignorant people who support authoritarian policies. There is no other way to put it.
The Trump legions are not supporters of conservative economic policy which we can debate. They do not have some rational thoughts about being hawkish on defense policy. They don’t want to fix immigration. They don’t really care about how an outsider of politics can save the country.
No, what they have are racial resentments, serious problems with hypocrisy, and for some reason support a strongman dictatorship which is against everything good that America is supposed to stand for.
They are supporters of bigotry. They are supporters of hate. That is what’s going on.
I probably won’t change any minds by being all arrogant and mad. I do wish I had some brilliant arguments that would cause Trump supporters to soul search and question themselves. It doesn’t work that way though. Hey, it’s a post-fact political world.
Still, I have a lot to say and I must say it.
Something dark is happening in my country. There’s always been partisanship, and there have been ugly times in history worse than we remember regardless of the mythical “Great Again” that they’re supposed to make America. But specifically it appears that Internet culture is the difference these days, and it disturbs me.
Dammit, society was supposed to be evolving. When Obama was elected in ’08 – who clearly did sell out on many issues but didn’t deserve the vitriol of the opposition party the past eight years – it was heralded as a new era in terms of online participation. Internet-savvy young people, we were told, turned the tide.
Nowadays, with you-know-who on Twitter, the fury of ignorance has become the loudest voice in the digital sphere. As experts smarter than me have explained, the danger of online media is that people become lost in their own echo chamber and ignore news that disagrees with their preconceived notion, and they believe things that aren’t true. Facts don’t matter. It’s confirmation bias on steroids. Furthermore, the anonymity of the medium has let loose millions of fully racist commentors. The trolls are attempting to take over the most powerful government on earth.
Here is an intelligent article about the white supremacist alt-right movement which forms the backbone of Trump supporters, and everyone needs to read this:
To summarize, the young generation of white supremacists (or white separatists, or racial realists, or whatever shit these people call themselves lately) are very savvy when it comes to memes and propaganda etc. and have started taking their own trolling seriously. The worst of YouTube comments basically have a political movement now, and it is organized.
It really is that bad.
* * *
What happened? Is it the fault of new media technologies? I am scared it’s deeper than the usual pattern of how when the economy gets bad far isolationist right-wing parties take power – as happened in many places in Europe. I get that it happens. What I am afraid of is that although they will lose they are still going to be a permanent part of the modern American landscape from now on.
How the hell has this happened?! I mean, I used to follow conservative media. I did. I used to watch Fox News and listen to talk radio. I used to be… I shudder to say it… a libertarian. Of course, I do feel it’s important to be an independent and get all sides of the various issues that affect our world.
The conservative ideology used to be quite clear. The mainstream was liberal biased, and the best way to grow an economy was through free market principals. Oh, and welfare is bad. Then some optional religious stuff. That was the gist as I understood it.
I have since come to recognize that it was all a lie. For years conservatives told a certain story, and their audience ate it up, and it was a lie. Sure we know that the Tea Party was kind of a monster the Republican Party propped up and then couldn’t control any more. But it’s an even worse mess than that. Because Donald Trump does not even pretend to be a conservative on any issue. He is an extremist nationalist, and that is the main issue that his people believe in. That’s all it ever was.
Like really, Sean Hannity turned around on the Iraq War? Really, Hannity?!?! They believe in nothing. Except for bigotry.
Say, for example, with welfare. Turns out those masses of people were lying when they said they were against the dole due to economic and moral grounds. No, they don’t care about taxes or incentives to work. They just care that certain ethnic groups don’t deserve the welfare that they deserve.
It has turned out that it was always more about white identity politics more than anything else.
Take the fact that Trump’s base are evangelicals, and the fact that Catholics and especially Mormons have largely rejected him (good on them). This truly pisses me off. It shows that evangelicals are ignorant about even the very basics of the Christian religion, and that they always have been, and what they care about in fact is being part of an ethnic community and rejecting other communities. Seriously, does anyone with a brain believe that Trump is a real Christian? What else can it be with those people? At least Catholics and Mormons have the ability to be consistent in their values.
It is not a left-right thing anymore. Not even close. The right has abandoned everything they ever said they believe in just to prop up a nationalist monster.
Hell, even the conspiracy theory land people like with Infowars have abandoned everything they used to stand for. (I know it was a crazy site, but during the Bush years it was something of a source for the anti-war movement. Even in the early Obama years there were valid points about the banking corruption in the ol’ Alex Jones documentaries. Now he gave it all up for nothing more than the bigotry of being anti-feminist or something, along with the whole uber-nationalism shitck.)
* * *
There is a certain narrative going around that intelligent people are supposed to feel sorry for Trump supporters because they are blue-collar working class who have sadly lost their jobs due to globalist free trade policies.
There is this Cracked article about how to empathize with Trump supporters because it’s a city versus country thing: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/
Usually I like Cracked. Good with myth-busting. But this one wasn’t good.
Obviously Republicans do tend to be more rural and Democrats tend to be more urban. And one could argue that it’s lack of education which causes people to inadvertently have such awful politics.
But that isn’t the case. Here’s what’s really going on to a much larger degree:
Got it? To sum it up, evidence shows that Trump’s base isn’t necessarily that poor. Polling shows that racial anxiety is the real issue that worries the majority. This is what is happening, this is what kind of people they are.
Again, the fact that Trump’s other main issue besides kicking out Mexicans and Muslims is protectionist trade policies – long thought the purview of the radical left – shows how out of whack the usual liberal vs conservative definitions are.
And yet I still contend that the factories going to China issue isn’t even what they’re serious about in the first place. Deep down, only the bigotry matters.
* * *
Much has been said about how the news media has failed this election cycle, preferring ratings over doing their job to inform the American public. Personally, I think the power of the news media is overrated. It’s more about the Internet, as said, which can distort reality for the Trump base. And at worst, the power of the reality television media has more power than the news ever had.
The weird thing is that Trump gets to steal the usually conservative line about how the media is liberal every time he gets in trouble (which is too much to count at this point, we’ve become numb). Liberal bias is a classic whine good at reframing the conversation, and yet the messed up thing is that Trump is in fact not a conservative in any way.
God forbid people just conclude that sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire. But his base seems to actually like that his scandals are constantly reported on. It proves he’s “anti-establishment” or something, whatever that has ever meant. They simply cry media conspiracy every time, “it’s rigged,” and the bubble gets smaller and smaller…
Never trusting the media – as if it’s some monolithic one thing – just leads to madness and nonsense and the eventual conclusion to believe anything without evidence. It’s an excuse for people to be willfully ignorant.
It’s damn sad. Because it is impossible to get through to the people.
I suppose I could post links to Politico’s fact-checking, with the Trump vs Hillary lying scorecards, but nobody cares and everyone is ultimately preaching to the choir in our brave new post-facts world, and I’ve shared enough links already.
So here we are now, citizens side by side, who look out their own windows and see completely different worlds.
* * *
And if there wasn’t enough evidence that the entire Trump campaign is a con, it is revealed that Trump TV is happening:
It’s all been a scam all along. Doesn’t anyone care? Do his supporters feel cheated? Are they actually going to like this channel? There is some small comfort that Fox is going under, what with another monster Ailes and his fall, but it is further disturbing to know that the horrifying ideas brought forth are going to have their own array of television shows.
And how come inevitably that won’t count as a biased media anyway?
* * *
In short, the horrifying truth is that all this is not even about Trump himself being a con man. Perhaps he’s not a bigot himself; it’s entirely likely that he is only an opportunist taking advantage of the time to gain a following.
What is really horrifying is is how awful the people are for supporting him. How they have no sense of irony, be it Melania working as an illegal immigrant as proof of white privilege, or no sense of introspection as they assume that being falsely accused of racism is worse than being an actual victim of racism. (And note: it’s not a false accusation, what the need is to look within to admit their own bigotry on so many levels. Frustrating to get through, I know.)
At a certain point, when barrage of facts after facts prove their sick worldview wrong, they aren’t just suckers any more. They aren’t sympathetic because their factory left some small town. They’re just plain awful. Deplorable itself isn’t even close to the right word. They are the worst of what America has to offer.
The fact is, if you support the following then you are a terrible person and you have your guy:
-If you want to ban all Muslims and have an irrational in fear of terrorism and wish to fuck over refugees.
-If you think the majority of Mexicans are rapists and murderers, and want to set up a police state to deport 11 million people.
-If you are a sexist and misogynist and disrespect women, if you’re a “red pill” type complaining that feminism makes it hard for you to get laid.
-If you think black people are all living in squalor, their worst state ever in history, and think it best to talk down to them for their own good, and if you don’t care about police killing s but want more unconstitutional stop and frisks.
-And if you are into conspiracy theories and imply that Jews run the world. Note that all the corrupt rich bad guys rich are always Jews, but somehow Trump is a good rich guy.
Seriously, a billionaire born into rich family with that many legal problems is anti-elitist???
Not to mention, if you have ever expressed awful things like the above, and normal people are logically disgusted with you but you just brush it off as being “politically incorrect.” Somehow claiming politically incorrect is the new way to dismiss appropriate reactions after saying disgusting and insulting things.
I could go on and on.
What else can I say?
If Trump, and his awful kids, aren’t villains in an 80s movie to you but rather aspirational figure to look up to, then I don’t want you to be part of my political spectrum. I reject your horrible version of America.
That’s it. That’s the point of view that is ruining everything.
That is this new thing called Trumpism…
* * *
I suppose the main counterargument is that the Clintons and Democrats and the left is the real super-evil force in politics, but it’s just not a valid comparison. The right wing lost all rights to rational debating a long time ago. A shame, because Democrats do deserve lots of criticism but it needs to be in the real world.
Hence, I’m not getting into any Clinton scandals. There will be plenty of time to learn about them and the ones to come in the next four to eight years. And it’s factually not comparable to say both candidates are equally bad. Look up the John Oliver bit yourself.
I would totally argue that it’s a good thing people grudgingly accept Hillary Clinton. It’s good for democracy. I don’t want the President to be a savior figure who people will look up to, I want a flawed civil servant who the people will keep in check from the power government overreach. A flawed civil servant, okay, not a fascist dictator. This choice should be easy. It’s not a lesser evil thing, it’s not a devil you know thing, it’s a very easy choice.
Once the (however flawed) adults are running the country, then we can start criticizing them and trying to make the system better. As intelligent adults, not as scumbags.
Luckily, this election will soon be over with! God, I can’t wait. FINALLY.
This has been the worst election ever.
Well, I voted. First time since I moved abroad. It got that bad, and did the paperwork and did the absentee ballot thing.
* * *
One last link, I promise. Here’s an interesting article I came across from a Jewish site about wondering who would be a Nazi if they had the chance… It’s about how Trump support is about character, my point all along. And to be fair, does point out those in the Republican party who have positive values. (A part of me is going to miss the two-party system now that Trump has destroyed it.)
* * *
That’s it then. I got it out of my system. Now I can rest and this goddamn election will be over with and we can all complain about the new president who will be bad in her own way but not a fascist dictator con artist leading a movement or resentful white bigots.
Sadly, the problems of the United States of America aren’t going anywhere any time soon. But let’s avoid the apocalyptic-level scenarios while we can, okay.
Well then here’s another cartoon-
Oh I also feel obligated to share some South Park, watch this season if you haven’t already~
And that is all that’s worth saying.