When Is It Beyond Excuses?

I have had several conversations with people who assert that Trump supporters had a variety of reasons for supporting him, the major one being economical. I have talked to smart people I respect. I have read articles from smart people who know more than I do about the struggle the middle class is facing. I have tried to understand and empathize with the fact that we have forgotten the working middle class, the white middle class, the rural/coal/industrial middle class. I think that a large group of people do feel forgotten in regards to policy and politics. The world is moving forward and they are getting left behind. Coal is dying, if not dead. The reality is that we have to move on to other means of generating energy and that means a huge amount of job loss in coal mining regions. What I want for those people is a job evolution. I don’t know if that’s possible, but that is what needs to happen.

Anyways, that’s only 1 part of the problem. There is also the idea of values. I know many people voted for Trump because of his supposed stance on abortion. That’s a big issue for many people. I don’t agree with that, I will never agree with that, but being a 1-issue voter is a big problem. Unfortunately we vote for the whole package. It’s not always 100% what I agree with, but it’s always moving in what I view as the right path. That path is about inclusion, expanded liberties, helping as many people as we can, and pushing out policies and politics that are racist, bigoted, nationalist, and fear-based.

And though I find it very very hard to believe that those who voted for Trump somehow missed the rampant racism at his rallies, his disgusting sexual comments to reporters, about women in general, and in his past, and his bullying, inappropriate behavior – I do believe in the uninformed voter. The single issue voter who isn’t reading news articles online, who maybe reads only right-leaning opinion pieces poised as news, who lives in a fear based world where everything is a conspiracy. I’m wondering when we draw the line in the sand on understanding.

Ok you voted, you were razzle dazzled. I don’t know if I’m able or willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt in this information age. Even if you don’t agree with how the news covered Trump, the words coming straight out of his own mouth should have been enough to vote NO. But – I digress. Some people were sold false hope. Some people were in love with a bully that spoke for them. Don’t yell at the voters, angry liberal elite! They say. Yelling at them will only make the divide worse!

But at what point are there no more excuses for supporting him? 

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For those asking for understanding and empathy towards those who voted for Trump and for those who continue to support him, tell me when it’s ok to say that it’s wrong. When can I stop being understanding? Where is the line?

Even if Trump isn’t actively on TV giving a Hitler salute, a lot of people are in his name. If anything, he has lit a fire under an ant nest of white supremacists and neo-nazis and is doing jack shit to put it out. I’m not seeing Trump voters outraged about his cabinet appointees. I’m seeing a ton of criticism for demanding better of our president, I’m seeing a ton of criticism over protests. Where is the critical eye on the person in charge of pushing all the buttons?

And I do have a critical eye on those supporting Trump. A little less than half the country chose to ignore actual words and sentiments coming out of his mouth and hoped it was merely campaign rhetoric. It was a job interview! If you’re a person who is willing to ignore injustice, to ignore the worst parts of a person who is going to lead the free world, to ignore the treatment of those who disagree with him, to ignore his behavior on a public stage as he vies to represent an entire country…. if you’re that person, then I do look at you with judgement. I am holding you accountable. Saying, “Oh, I didn’t realize.” Is not good enough.

And for those pushing me to tone down my outrage, I will not.

**Edit, also THIS. 

4 thoughts on “When Is It Beyond Excuses?”

  1. I hope those who voted for Trump are super proud to note that his election has empowered nationalists, racists, bigots and sexists the world over. That such a powerful country could vote in someone like this, it must make it okay to talk and act that way.

    The day after your election, I had a man in front of me in line at a supermarket look down at my son, sneer at me and say:

    “Oh sweetheart, if I told you your chinky son wasn’t welcome here anymore, are you gunna call me a racist?”

    My son is four. The fact that he’s not Chinese (or any kind of Asian) doesn’t even matter.

    What a world he is going to live in.

  2. I keep wanting to apologize on behalf of all my people. But I can’t. This election has left me in such a weird place, as someone who is surrounded by politically conservative friends and family that mostly voted for Trump. These are people that I love. Kind people, who I’ve never heard a hateful word from. I listened to many grieve over their choices, and voice how uncomfortable they felt voting for Trump. But they still chose to. Most are evangelical christians who say that abortion is a deal breaker issue for them. Others were more motivated by economic policies and such, and said they were just voting for the party, not the person. We live in a very privileged, non-diverse little rural bubble here, so its so easy for people to choose not to see what’s happening in the rest of the country.

    I myself have always aligned more with the conservative side, though I’ve been ashamed of the Republican party for years now. I did not vote for Trump, despite many, even a pastor, trying to persuade me. But I also did not vote for Hilary, and I know that may make me unwelcome here (though I hope not, I’ve been reading since your APW intern days!) I voted third party, and I know some don’t respect that choice. My state was blue, so it ultimately didn’t affect the outcome. I had reasons why I couldn’t get behind Hilary, but I’m also seeing now that I didn’t understand the full picture.

    I’ve been trying to speak out more the last few weeks, because so few in my circles are willing to. It angers me that Trump can rant on twitter about Hamilton, but has nothing to say about the groups acting out hate in his name. My republican friends/fam tell me that these hateful people and groups are extremists and don’t represent them, but that acknowledging them just gives them attention, and they should be ignored. But we can’t ignore hatred, no matter how small the group may be. Now is the time when the republican party should be the most vocal in saying that, no, these people do not represent us, we condemn them and all they stand for, and we are not going to allow this behavior to continue. Evan Mcmullin has started to, which I respect him for. But I’m not hearing much else, and I’m angry about it.

    I read posts from friends who are genuinely fearful and deeply troubled, much like you’ve expressed, and my heart hurts for them. And then I see the comments telling them to get over it, and stop being whiny liberals, and such, and I lose respect for people that I’ve known and loved forever. How can they not see what they are doing? How can a person listen to someone they love express deep fears and pain, and not feel compassion for them? Its something I cannot understand. I’m in an online moms group full of evangelical christian women. Someone posted a sad post about their friends being in pain, and wondering how to best love on them. I chimed in with agreement, followed by 40+ others saying how ridiculous our friends were for being upset, and turning the post into a defense of Trump, when he was never even mentioned. If a group of christian women who supposedly desire to be like Jesus doesn’t get it, that scares me. This is not the Jesus I know. The republican party certainly does not represent him.

    I’m not sure I have a point to this post, sorry for rambling. I guess I just wanted to say that I’m sorry. And that I don’t have any answers, but there are some of us out here wrestling with these things, and reevaluating everything we’ve always believed, and the people we surround ourselves with. I don’t know what this all means for me, but I’m going to keep getting braver about calling out the people around me, because I know that change within our community will come from the inside.

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