As a moderate, but certainly left-leaning voter, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been stocked with their share of Anti-Trump propaganda. Usually this includes news articles, also from left-leaning sources, detailing one of three things: 1) How Trump was an ass today, 2) More evidence that Trump is a hypocritical, self-serving, arrogant, racist/sexist/xenophobe/ narcissist (or any combination thereof), 3) Why anyone who likes or is voting for Trump must be at least as horrifying, or even more so than he, and should [basically] be taken out back and shot. This is the view of the people who stand for tolerance, anyway. (ehem)
I guess I do feel that I have to state for the record that I’m not a Trump voter. I don’t think he is a man I could feel good about electing to represent the best of, or for, Americans. I also feel I shouldn’t have to state that, and it sort of irritates me that I do because I don’t think its anyone’s business. Still, since people now ask each other who they’re voting for without abash (rude!), I’m telling. Now you know. Let’s move on.
When these articles keep coming, and keep saying the same thing over and over, I’m left to wonder. I wonder why they’re considered interesting. Most of it isn’t new information, after all. Trump is an ass. Even his supporters know that. I wonder what the intention is. I mean, if I’m not a fan of Trump, I’m still not. If I am a fan, being ridiculed, and told I’m unworthy, isn’t going to motivate my friendship (much less allegiance) to your way of thinking. It must then be that posting such propaganda reinforces to self and friends that one identifies the content as worthy of reveal, true, and problematic. Great. But, lots of things are worthy of reveal, true, and problematic. What are we going to DO about it?
Donald Trump’s run for presidency is responsible for bringing back to the forefront that tolerance in the United States, or even the progress toward it, is nowhere near where we, the social left, want to believe it is. I, for one, do not like this information. I think I do hate this information. If it weren’t for this election cycle including Trump, I would not have to face this information as honestly as I do. (Therefore I reject this election cycle and the man whose participation makes me face this.) I think this is where our posts and propaganda come from– a disdain for the reality that we still suck at being humane humans.
But, that IS the reality. And we DO need to know this. We have no choice but to accept it as truth. Donald Trump didn’t invent racism in the United States. He didn’t create it, or resurrect sexism from a long dead gone place. It has still been here all along. We hid some of it, just a little bit, for a little while. Now it’s out in the open again, stretching and yawning in the sun, and we’re so pissed about that– about all the generations of hard work, activism, and what we thought was deep progress, that it feels like someone’s ripped the bandage off and we have to start all over. WTF!! Where is the peace and prosperity?? Where’s the unity?? Who are these angry people?? What year is it??!!
It’s a tired analogy, but if you’re going to treat an illness, a diagnosis is an important first step. We can’t live in denial. We can’t fix this with more posts that declare, “THIS JUST IN: FEAR STILL GRIPS NATION, CONTINUES TO CATAPULT TRUMP TO LEADERSHIP.” We have to get beyond this stage. We know the news– the viruses of xenophobia still run deep in our veins and there is much, much more work to be done. Thanks to Donald Trump, and his savvy to use this fear to launch a presidential election, we know where our efforts are needed, and where they are needed even more deeply.
Also, to be very clear: I do not think all of Trump’s supporters are the anti-Christ. They are not all awful, racist, arrogant, white supremacists; not even close. And if you, dear FB friend, are denying friendship to someone because they disagree with you politically, stop and think about that for a second. Some Trump supporters even think that more good can be done for the wellbeing of all if we accept that the ends will justify the means. Let the man work his magic, they say, and they assure me I will see that there will be more prosperity, and therefore peace, for all. I happen not to agree, but I do know many of these people; some are dear friends. (I just realized this is sounding a little Trumpy– I love Trumpers! I have many Trump-voter friends! Trump voters love me! Ask them! They love me! hahaha…) Sorry, I have not walked any Trumpeteers into the woods only to walk back out alone. Sure, we don’t see eye to eye on some things. On others, we do. On others still, we avoid getting into it. Sometimes we argue and agree to disagree. (It’s all very nice and lovely!) But, isn’t this what we all want each other to be able to do? Live in friendship and harmony with all of our wacky ideas and honor each other’s dignity?
What we resist will persist. What we embrace will resolve.
I think our social media efforts, and all our efforts, need to be much more creative, interesting, and proactive than they are. We already know Trump said something insensitive today. We know. It’s boring. Instead, let’s be sharing ideas to combat (rather than perpetuate) this current of otherness among us. Instead of yelling the same old tired information into an echo chamber of like-minded friends, we need to use this energy and spirit to think of NEW ways to bring those people along who haven’t yet found security in a world where welcoming and difference are strengths. (Shaming isn’t working!) We need to use this moment to educate more than shun, question more than preach, and unify more than divide! We need to see the problems of sexism, racism, toomanytoname-isms– as OUR problems. America’s problems. ALL of us. Let’s see some new solutions. Let’s thank Donald Trump’s campaign for the blessing of a renewed awareness and use it to strengthen our resolve to create a world where everyone feels honored.