Dying Daily #54: Trump

Man, thank you for the questions and ideas! I knew y’all were all smarter and more creative than me.

This one makes me nervous and icky, I don’t feel like I have any business offering an opinion on it, and I hope no one really cares what I think. Let’s get it out of the way. Smashing together multiple questions might sound like this:

“Knowing your politics over the years, I am surprised you are not more bothered by Trump winning. What gives?”

This is a valid question. (criticism?)

This is also where my detached perspective either helps me or damages my integrity, depending on which side of the political spectrum you are on.

I am troubled by Trump, but I was troubled by Clinton, and I was troubled by this election in general. It made me sad to see how both sides absolutely ridiculed the other for being so utterly stupid as to support their candidate, but I think Trump supporters took the brunt of this from the media, social media and pundits.

Trump’s rise has been compared to Hitler’s, but we have invoked this name so often over the past 16 years that it doesn’t mean anything anymore. Also, he seems closer to Mussolini to me.

The thing is, Hitler and Mussolini and Trump and Obama were all reactions to different things, just like so many other world leaders.

When we are doing things in reaction instead of with intention, things go wrong.

Our outrage culture (which is a characteristic of both sides of the political spectrum and covers all ages, not just the left or millennials) has led to this. Everything is a crisis, everything is offensive, everything is an outrage, so of course we have candidates that reflect that. Trump is the end result of a smugly condescending Left that believes that anyone who doesn’t automatically buy into what it wants them to buy into is a homophobic, Islamaphobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, ableist, privileged, ignorant, Bible-toting and gun-clinging CIS shitlord.

So, Trump makes sense, and that is really sad to me.

I am bothered by Trump. I have friends and family and neighbors and clients in all the categories of people he has maligned or straight up threatened. I work with populations that may legitimately have something to fear from him. The wife I talk so much about is Mexican, my son who I would do anything for is half. I believe in free speech above all else, and there is nothing I fear more than theocracy in any form. If I am honest, my greatest fear in this is Trump being impeached or assassinated, leaving us with Pence in charge.

All that being said, this is what we get when we think everyone who believes differently than us is a moron.

This is what we get when we live in the echo chamber of the internet and are able to cultivate our environment to only support our perspectives. I know some very smart, civically minded, compassionate people who voted for Trump, and I know some very smart, civically minded, compassionate people who voted for Clinton. I know some less-intelligent, insulated, fearful, xenophobic, fragile people who voted for Trump, and I know some less-intelligent, insulated, fearful, xenophobic, fragile people who voted for Clinton. I can understand where each side is coming from, even if I don’t agree.

So, I have fears about Trump, but I see no reason to paint everyone who voted for him as the enemy.

If I am honest, there were a few areas that Clinton scared me just as much, but I see no reason to paint her supporters as the enemy. What both sides want and voted for makes sense to them, they are rational actors and it is not my place to assess or malign their entire character over it. I am hoping for the best, but this is a very wary hope.

The fact that I am not coming down squarely on one side or the other will make some people think I am foolish or soft or a racist or a “cuck”, and this, in my mind, is a central part of the problem. I do not mind taking a stand on things, this election did not provide me a clear place to stand.

In the end, one stand I very willing to take is to say that I will not let the election of anyone force me into a place of hating other humans.

I would have said the same if Clinton or Sanders or Johnson or Harambe had won. Nothing has changed as far as how I feel about individual people.

I love you all, and who you voted for and why you voted for them or what you think of me not loving or hating either candidate cannot change that.

I support your right to believe in things I hate, and your right to try to make those things a reality. I support my right to fight you on them, but I also support my right to love you while we disagree. I will say the same in 4, 8, 12 and 16 years if we make that far.