A family member of mine — female, wealthy, educated, socially-liberal, fiscally kinda conservative, marginally pays attention — had been on her way to vote Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson. She wasn’t sure. Instead, she voted for Trump, she told me gleefully on the phone this morning. Why did she vote Trump? She couldn’t take it anymore. Take what? She couldn’t take the condescension and shaming from friends and the people in the news about Trump. She gave this sample conversation:
Liberal friend: How are you doing? It must be so hard to be a Republican. Feel sorry for you.
Relative: [Fuming] You know, this is still a democracy and people haven’t voted yet.
Angry and frustrated at the unfairness, a woman who was appalled at Trump’s treatment of other women was more appalled by the media’ (and liberal friends’) treatment of her. Her girlfriend who had patted her head right before she voted, called early this morning and apologized.
I’m in the media business. I’ve been blogging over a decade. That means death threats, and vile comments, and loads of mean tweets. Still nothing prepared me for being browbeaten, yelled at, and unfriended by people I’d known for years because I wasn’t willing to demonize Trump supporters. After a couple bruising conversations with conservatives who questioned my morality, intelligence, and decency as a human being, I felt a little trepidation stating my true opinion, which was this: Hillary Clinton is so bad, how can one not vote for Donald Trump?
Still, I made clear via social media that I was not voting for McMullin and considered it a wasted, spoiler vote. Man up and vote for Clinton if you feel that Donald Trump is that big a threat. Here was my feeling: these folks kvetching about Donald Trump didn’t like the man or his politics but were being too literal and hyperbolic. They took his bombast as gospel and didn’t consider why people would pick him. I don’t think they really believed that he was that bad, but his policies, silliness, and lack of decorum offended them.
Meanwhile, I had come around to seeing things from the primary voter’s point of view and agreed with him: the media and elites are utterly corrupt. They’re in the gutter while expecting everyone else to play by other rules. They hate the average American and think they’re better than them. They don’t deserve our support because they lack courage, vision, and faith in the American people.
Donald was a first principles candidate: American exceptionalism, freedom of thought and belief, Western culture is worth saving, forget world citizenship, we’re Americans. Basic stuff, but worthy of consideration. No more bowing to foreign leaders. No more weakness on the world stage. No more apologizing for America. No more transfers of wealth out of the middle class. Respect for the working class. Respect for the believers. Respect for traditions.
To acknowledge all of that, which I did, was to be perceived as not just having a different opinion but to being racist and bigoted. If a person is legitimately concerned about the security of Americans after multiple bombings and mass murders on American soil — he’s a racist. If a person is concerned about the lower middle class being decimated by cheap and unchecked immigration — he’s a racist. If a person holds Western values dear and refuses to blaspheme the American founders — racist and patriarchal. If a person loves America — racist, paternalistic, fascist. If a person believes in traditional values like marriage between a man and woman — sexist, bigoted, homophobe. If a person believes that a working age person should pay his own way — racist.
Do you see the problem here? Not only were lefties leveling these charges but the new conservative movement with Evan No Name McMullin as their vanguard was saying it, too.
All I could think of were my extended GM Michigan family. Union members, hunters, Christian, many of them Democrats, none of them racist, all of them un-ironically proudly American. They’re decent, hardworking Americans suffering under Obamacare, worried about their retirements, stuck in a low wage cycle. Hanging on. And while they might make it okay, many of their friends and neighbors are not doing so great.
It is offensive to be accused of bigotry, racism, and hatred from one’s own side. I asked rhetorically, is 50% of the country racist? Is that where we’re at now? It’s A-OK to demonize one half of the country. That was what was so offensive about Romney’s 47% comment. Those people.
Stop. It. It’s wrong. Does racism exist? Yes. Does sexism exist? Of course. Are there bigoted people? Obviously! But that’s not what’s been argued. What’s argued is that if a person disagrees with fill-in-the-blank position, the person doesn’t disagree honestly. The person is evil, racist, bigoted.
It is possible to believe that there are some bad cops and police corruption needs to be cleaned up because they have so much power and that law enforcement needs to be supported. Most people believe both of these things.
It’s possible to be uncomfortable with outlawing abortion completely but being appalled by babies being dismembered and killed from 12 weeks on.
It’s possible to love gay people while also feeling compelled to conduct one’s behavior in a way to please God — and that might mean not baking a cake to celebrate the marriage due to conscience.
It’s possible to love America even while acknowledging her past mistakes, but not being willing to flush 200 years of greatness and history to do so.
It’s possible not to like the words or beliefs of this or that person but defend his or her right to say them. It’s called free speech and political correctness is antithetical to it.
It’s possible to believe most Muslims are peaceful, good Americans and be concerned about or want to stop unfettered, unvetted refugee relocation without adequate protections.
It’s possible to appreciate a person wanting a job and to escape his tyrannical country and be concerned about the nation’s sovereignty and safety and jobs for citizens.
It’s possible to acknowledge slavery as an absolute evil while being happy with and acknowledging the progress the country has made and also hoping for even better relations.
Maybe the media, the lefties, and those on the right who demonized “Trumpkins” will step back and consider their “otherizing.” Rural Americans are people, too. Blue collar workers are people, too. Church-goers are people, too.
And people like my dear relative who was so offended at how Trump supporters were condemned that she changed her vote are people, too, and boy, did those people make their voices heard. There are levels of indecency. The indecency of our media, elites, Democrats, and #NeverTrumpers pushed the swingiest of swing voters into the Trump camp.
Let’s hope their votes help make America great, and more tolerant, again.