It’s been a long couple of weeks here, there…pretty much everywhere. Everywhere I look I see people who look exhausted or shellshocked or wary. They’re beaten by the US election results and unable to look ahead. They’re exhausted thinking of the fight ahead.
Some of us have taken self-imposed breaks from social media. In a world where we all use our social media platforms for different reasons to different audiences–some simply for community interaction, some for self-promotion, some for work–many of us have hit a wall. We can’t deal with any more speculation on what went wrong or what is ahead of us. We can’t deal with assignments of blame. We can’t deal with the rightwing supporters lurking amongst our own family and friends who now feel safe to come out into the light and to glory in the Bully’s win.
But we’re trying to find our way back… we’re trying to find the strength. We’re trying to gear up for the fight ahead. And in so doing, we’re seeing that others on social media are proclaiming, with a slight edge of hysteria, that it’s so important to keep the fight up at all times, from the beginning, every day for the next four years. They urge everyone to understand that they cannot stop the fight or take breaks from it at all.
And they’re probably utterly confused by my anger.
They’re right: it’s going to be hard keeping up this energy and fighting for four long years. But many of us are very familiar with that very dilemma. For the former, the fight is how to keep the media and public focus on the President-Elect. Their concern is to reduce his affect on the country, to prevent re-election. For me, for too many others, the fight has always been there…it’s just more visible now. Misogyny, sexism, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia, anti-intellectualism, right-wing bigotry: these are not new. They have always been there, and we’ve always been fighting them.
Don’t tell me how important your fight is. The fight has always been important. The change is that now you can see what we’ve been saying all along. All those years, all the decades we’ve spent saying: this is a problem. Racism was a problem before the recent Presidential election: it will be a problem after the next one. All the isms, all the bigotries: they are not new. They will not disappear no matter how vigilant you are. If a different President or a different party is elected in four years time, they will still not disappear. We will still need to be aware, to be vigilant, to fight. You are willing to see one person or his followers or his supporters as the problem: you haven’t yet figured out that the problems are as insidious, as much a part of the culture as we have always said. We’re not paranoid, we’re not professional victims, we haven’t been imagining problems that don’t exist. The President-elect is not the problem: he is a part of the problem, a living walking example of the problem.
Don’t ask me to join your fight: understand that you have joined ours. We’ve been here a long time.
I need to take a break from social media. I thought I would have nothing to say today but, golly, suddenly got inspired. So I will shout one thing then leave.
Don’t: just DON’T.
Don’t tell us not to be upset. Don’t give us the “Don’t complain; do something!” speeches. Don’t tell us that anger doesn’t accomplish anything. Don’t explain how you’re so able to be rational and calm and so you can tell us how to react when we’re clearly just being emotional.
If you can do all that? Congrats on you man, clearly that’s important to you. But if we want to grieve, if we want to mourn, if our hearts are fucking breaking for what this means for acceptance and equality then we get to be as loud and messy and as emotional as we want.
People identify men as rational and women as emotional. It’s used as control: if women are emotional, they’re told that they’re automatically being irrational. Maybe if men were able to accept that emotions are not automatically negative, that emotions are not character flaws, that women are not just emotional creatures and emotions are not automatically irrational and hysterical, maybe just maybe the world wouldn’t be in this fucking mess.
Go enjoy your rational intellectual discussions and your thoughtful considered plans. Don’t tell me to be silent. Don’t tell me how to behave. This day of all days, don’t tell women how they should behave for your comfort.
I am sooooooooooooooooooooo tired of the rhetoric that Sanders’ voters were smarter than everyone else and picked him because they know how to research on the internet and they found out All the Things and so picked him. Clinton voters are just voting for her because she’s a woman or because she’s the Democrat. ButTrump voters? Oh, that’s because The System has given them no choice and he’s the only way to express their frustration with The System.
Yes, I’m sure the KKK are really frustrated with The System and he’s their only choice to express that. I’m sure all the homophobes are really frustrated with The System and he’s their only choice to express that. I’m sure all the misogynists, the sexists, the transphobes, the Islamophobes, all of those are so frustrated with The System that they have no choice but to vote for the man who tells them that he’s not part of The System. The System that is supposed to respect the Constitution, Human Rights, the Geneva Convention and more…
Here’s a radical thought: accept that people are supporting Trump because they agree with him. He is not a symbol of their lack of choice but a symbol of their complete and utter choice. In the past they’ve had to content themselves with a Republican Party that used such coded language that they weren’t always sure that the Party is as racist and sexist and misogynist and bigoted as they hoped…now, they know it for an absolute fact.
Many polls have suggested that Trump has the support of half of the Republican Party…and polls have shown that 43% of Republicans to this day believe that Obama is a Muslim who was born in Kenya. Stop giving these people an excuse, stop blaming everyone but the actual people voicing their support for Trump. They haven’t been fooled or conned or trapped by economic despair. They’re angry that being white and male is no longer a guarantee of privilege.
Perfectly intelligent left-wing people post about Clinton and say, “Where there’s smoke there must be fire…” They don’t know what the fire is either. “There’s just something about her,” they muse. “I just know that she’s corrupt,” they justify to all.
A tire fire is a real actual known thing. The details of all the things that are questionable, dubious, spurious, actionable, distasteful about Donald Trump are all actual real facts. They are things that are known, that can be proved. Over and over again, those facts are ignored in favour of questionable, dubious, spurious, actionable, distasteful debate about imagined, posited, speculated opinions about Hillary Clinton.
This US election pits a failed incompetent businessman/reality show star against a qualified competent career politician. And every single day people who loathe and fear the former try desperately to suggest that the latter has a deep dark secret hiding somewhere that will disqualify her. Because they would rather live with a tire fire than that hint of smoke.
And that is why Clinton is so confused by the hatred and distrust of her. She sees clearly because there is no smoke in her eyes. Wave your hands…wave the smoke away. And take another look. Stop insisting that your opinion of imagined possibilities is as valid as actual facts.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.” –Hillary Clinton, Sept 9 2016
If the media tried reporting facts rather than feelings and faux ‘both-side-erisms’ y’all might have a very different take on this election. You might see that Clinton isn’t failing by not appealing to ‘the other side’: it’s that a basket of deplorables isn’t actually ashamed of being deplorable. They’re right where they want to be; champing at the bit, desperate for a shot to be in charge and to wreak damage over those they hate and despite. They’re happy to stand behind the man who says out loud what they are shamed for thinking; he validates their every belief. For Clinton to appeal to them, she too would have to express those beliefs… Clinton isn’t failing by not appealing to them. Clinton is staying the course.
And, for the record, this is how Clinton continued the ‘basket of deplorables’ speech:
“But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”