Saturday, November 12, 2016

Please consider…

I’ve been lectured and spoken at.  I’ve been told I’m insensitive.  I’ve been told that I just don’t understand.  Donald Trump was elected president, and now people have all these feelings and I’m not taking them seriously.

Believe me, I do.  I understand that you are hurting and scared.  I completely get that.  My problem is not with your feelings themselves.  My problem is two-fold.  

First, and most important for my friends and family, my problem is that your fear and pain is based on lies.  You have been fed a diet of lies for months, and you believe them.  Indeed, why wouldn’t you?  It’s not like anyone has been denying them.  Indeed, much of the supposedly Conservative media (which obviously means something different than I thought it did a year ago), is engaging in the lies just as much as the “mainstream media.”

Second, and less important personally, but more important from a practical standpoint, your engagement in this very public hysteria is dangerous.  Because good and decent people like you believe the lies, too, bad and dangerous people have the moral cover to do horrible things.

You have been told for months that Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist, and a homophobe.  You have been told that he is anti-immigrant and wants to deport all Hispanics and Muslims.  These are all lies.  Not one of them is true.

Is Donald Trump a racist?  No one thought so until recently - and there is no evidence that he is.  It has been said repeatedly in the last year, but those statements have no basis in fact.  He has been honored by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  He fought to change the laws in a city where one of his properties exists so he could allow Blacks and Jews to patronize his club.  His lists of nominees for positions in his cabinet are replete with minorities.

Is Donald Trump a misogynist?  Again, no one thought so until recently.  The recent evidence of that is better, but still completely overblown and taken out of context.  He regularly insults women - specific women with whom he has a specific beef.  Surprise: he regularly insults men, too - specific men with whom he has a specific beef.  That’s not misogyny; it’s equality.  Moreover, he was the first to hire a woman to lead the construction of a skyscraper.  His campaign manager was the first woman ever to run a successful Presidential campaign.  He neither fears nor hates women.  If anything, he sees them as *actually equal* which means he also pulls no punches when dealing with them.

Is Trump a homophobe?  Once more, I say no, and that no one thought so until the Media started saying he was.  When the “transgender in the bathroom” issue blew up, Trump was busy making sure Trump Tower was open to transgender people while also attempting to address the very real concerns of parents.  He has been supportive of the LGBT community for a long time.  He was pro-choice until recently, and even now I suspect is only pro-Life-ish.  He has announced no plans to fight homosexual marriage.

Is Donald Trump anti-immigrant?  If so, someone should tell his wife.  Because she’s an immigrant, you see.  Legal and everything.  Someone should also tell all of those immigrant owned businesses he uses to provide supplies and labor for his various properties and businesses - obviously they missed the memo.

Does Donald Trump want to deport Hispanics?  Again, there are no facts that support this assertion.  The worst that Trump has said in that regard is that he wants to deport all illegal aliens.  Hey, guess what?  If you’re here illegally, you should be deported - because that’s the law.  You can ask the Native American tribes, the Chinese in the 13th century, and the Romans what allowing unchecked immigration of peoples who do not wish to integrate and assimilate into your culture can do to that culture.

Does Donald Trump want to deport all Muslims, or even stop their immigration? Again, there is no evidence of this.  The closest he came to that was saying we should not be importing people from a part of the world where a large number of them want to kill us without some way of making sure the ones we let in are not those who want to kill us.  This is not even controversial, except that the Media told you it was.  If you hadn’t noticed, there is a significant portion of the Muslim world that either actively wants us dead or supports those who do.  We owe them nothing, so why wouldn’t we wait on letting them in until we had some way to verify we weren’t importing terrorists?

Donald Trump is crude, yes.  He is vulgar - in the same way that many of your neighbors are vulgar.  He’s even common and low-class.  But he is not a monster.  He’s not going deport your cousin’s mother-in-law, provided that cousin’s mother-in-law is here legally.  Even if she’s not, it’s unlikely that he’s going to get around to deporting illegal aliens who aren’t causing trouble - there are enough who *are* causing trouble to keep ICE busy for years, I think.  He’s not going to throw Muslims into concentration camps.  He’s not going to start some purge of the Gays.  He’s not going to attempt to reinstitute slavery.  The very idea that he would do any of those is a lie perpetrated by the Media, the Democrats, and even some Republicans for political gain - people who are in fear are easier to lead.

Please stop believing the lie.

Which leads to the next point - why it is so important for you to stop believing the lie.  For the last six months or so, you’ve heard the drumbeat from the Clinton camp that Trump and his supporters are literally just like Hitler and Nazis.  We’re supposed to be violent, barely restrained animals who will turn on Blacks and Gays and women in a heartbeat.  Trump is going to lead a fascist government bent on complete domination of the people.  The Clinton campaign, with the help of the Media, has made people believe that for six months.

And what has been the result?  It hasn’t been Trump supporters starting riots.  It hasn’t been Trump supporters gleefully defacing others’ property and posting it on YouTube.  It hasn’t been Trump supporters beating Clinton supporters because of their political beliefs.  It has been exactly the opposite.

And, again, why wouldn’t it be?  You yourselves believe that Trump is equivalent to Hitler.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be afraid of his Presidency and you wouldn’t feel “invalidated” by his victory.  You might feel disappointed.  You might be concerned that his policies would hurt the country’s prestige or economy.  You would not fear for your literal safety, or believe that his victory said anything about people’s feelings for you and your pain in any way.  Only if you accept, somewhere in your psyche, that Trump = Hitler does any of that make sense.

And if your opponent is the actual equivalent of Hitler, does that not mean you are not only morally justified, but even morally required to oppose him and those who support him with violence?  If Trump is Hitler, how can anyone complain that people are rioting in protest, or even if some call for his assassination (yes, that has already happened- on CNN, which did not bother to repudiate the statement).

In 2008 and again in 2012, I thought someone who would be disastrous for the country was elected.  I stand by that assessment, and would be more than happy to point out the ways he absolutely was that.  Yet I and those like me did not engage in violence.  We did not pull Obama supporters out of their vehicles and beat them.  We did not riot and overturn police cars.  We didn’t ask that you validate our “feelings.”

We bowed our necks, set our shoulders, and continued on as best we could.

When you fail to do the same, you validate and even encourage the kind of behavior we have seen- an old man torn from his vehicle and beaten on camera to the chants of “he voted for Trump,” children *actually beaten* (as opposed to mocked) for supporting Trump, even a child tormented by his own mother - again, placed on YouTube with pride - for supporting Donald Trump.

Your child’s hispanic friend was mocked and told their family was going to be deported?  You mean children said mean things to another child?  Why, shut my mouth.  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  I mean, I and those around me were *never* mocked for our names, or because our families weren’t as rich as others around us, or because we were socially awkward.  This is a brand new phenomenon which has only begun in the last 4 days!

I’m very sorry that mean people are saying mean things.  I’m very sorry that at some point in the past you were sexually assaulted, or that your parents brought you here illegally at the age of 6, or whatever bad thing happened to you.  I truly am - if you want to tell me about it and for me to extend my sympathy, I’ll be happy to brew up a cup of tea and sit with you on the couch.

But the public histrionics; the vociferous complaints of “I thought better of my country,” they are giving cover and even justification to those committing actual violence.  They are emboldening those who would truly overthrow our way of life - by installing their own choice for President over the justly elected nominee.

Please, I beg you: consider what you are saying.  Please stop believing and spreading the lies - lies so artfully concocted.  Those lies have very real consequences (not that you are lying - it’s not lying if you believe what you’re saying, but that the people who started them knew them to be lies) which are causing actual physical violence.