A post-election sentiment of rapprochement and forgiveness seems to be espoused by some, now that the American election is over. It is typified by this statement from Ian Noble: “Need to get away from the culture of calling people with different views names, it just leads to polarisation and topics that should get discussed, don’t. Need more respect for people having different views and not jumping to the conclusion that they must be a bad person.”
As much as I am usually in agreement with this type of sentiment (see: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/07/tabs_versus_spaces_and_bullying_in_it/), I must dissent in this case.
We’re not talking about the Americans having elected someone reasonable like Kasich, with whom we simply happen to have a disagreement about some minor politics and/or economics. Donald Trump is a fucking monster. He has repeatedly threatened to use his influence to seek revenge on those who have called him names, accused him of criminal endeavours, and so forth.
Donald Trump has pandered directly to – and promised many horrifying things to – white supremacists, neo-nazis and other powerful bigotry groups. He has promised to eliminate freedom of the press, enable police brutality by codifying it in law, normalize torture, pull back on commitments to NATO and other world peace efforts, repeal critical climate change agreements and to export all of this (and much, much more) as part of foreign policy via demands in international treaties.
And that’s just the stuff I can remember.
Trump has repeatedly asked aides – apparently very seriously – why the US doesn’t use nuclear weapons on its enemies. He categorically refused to rule out using nuclear weapons on Europe if they don’t do what he says.
I’m sorry, Ian, for all that I personally believe we need to learn to play nice and stop acting like bullies, Trump is a goddamned monster, and all of us around the world are going to regret this decision by America a whole lot. Mostly likely double plus regret when you smoosh in the fact that the UK has a fascist in power now too.
This isn’t a joke. This isn’t a “love thy neighbour” kind of thing. This is the point where, if you live near/in a large city or a point of military interest, you spend the next four years hoping that nobody starts a war that ends up with a flash of radiation and your face melting off as you scream your burbling, bubbling last whilst you agonizingly experience the worst death mankind has yet imagined.
That’s a thing – a very, very real thing – that my generation simply didn’t have to contemplate until now. Raised after the cold war, during a time of relative peace, we never had to honestly contemplate the idea of that kind of war. The Americans – my country’s supposedly closest allies – just elected the sort of man who casually tosses off the idea of starting exactly those kinds of wars.
I don’t believe that being all lovey dovey with the people who elected him is really the appropriate response here. I don’t think this is a small gap that can be bridged with some beers and nice feelings.
There is a gap in belief, in understanding of the world, our perceptions of consequences, of risk, a gap in how we value human life itself that is so fundamental, so very clearly core to our personalities that it likely cannot be bridged.
To believe that those who elected Trump have values anything at all like mine I must also believe that they either can not learn from the past, they will not learn from the past, or they have willfully chosen to disbelieve mountains of evidence about how he and his compatriots both lead and treat others. Regardless of which of those is true, I can’t bridge that gap.
I understand entirely the discontent with the system. I even sympathize with those who feel trapped, lost, slipped through the cracks and more. I hate many aspects of political correctness, I think a lot of liberal policies – especially in academia – are a bridge too far, and I too feel my white male privilege under attack. It’s not a feeling I like.
But I can’t shake the hand of the Trump voter. I can’t treat them – or this election – like it’s just some gentleman’s disagreement.
I’m sorry, sir, but the people who elected Trump are the enemy. Hate me for saying or believing this if you must, but the next two years, where Trump has carte blanche due to a fully republican senate and house that just realized he is the future of their party, and where he has control over potentially a lot of key supreme court seats, will be terrible. Not only for the United States, but for all the rest of us as well.
For the next two years, when America farts in bed, the rest of us are going to get blow into a wall with gale force winds.