Back during the election, I can remember quite a number of Trump voters who seemed to believe that their candidate wouldn’t actually do any of the things he was talking about. That of course he wasn’t really going to build a wall, he just meant he was going to do something about illegal immigration. And of course he wasn’t going to discriminate against Muslims or other minorities – I mean, it’s not like Congress or the courts wouldn’t stop him from going that far, right?
The last week or so seems to have put the lie to that. I can’t help but notice that those individuals seem to be conspicuously absent from the conversation. Which means either two things – either they fooled themselves into thinking Trump wasn’t serious, and are shocked and disappointed. Or they are quietly satisfied, since they knew exactly what they were voting for the entire time, and they were deliberately lying to the rest of us in the hopes that we’d let down our guards.
Don’t forget. Nor forgive.
There’s this short story by Flannery O’Connor I read way back when I was a kid – A Good Man is Hard to Find. One line in particular has stuck with me in all the years since. I went and hunted down the exact words the other day:
“She would of been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”
As Trump and his lunatics get further and further detached from reality, his supporters silently egging him on every inch of the way, I find myself wondering if violence really is the only thing that might make them stop and listen. There’s no reasoning with a zealot. No point in talking to those who refuse to believe the evidence right before their own eyes. No saving those who have categorically rejected reason and evidence. And – as long as they continue to dominate this country’s politics – there can be no living with them either. No answer left but the ballot or the bullet.
(I wonder if that’s why conservatives have always so staunchly opposed gun control. Perhaps they subconsciously believe that they themselves only remain civilized due to the ever-present threat of force.)
“No pleasure but meanness.” Is that what it all comes down to?
Say what you will about Trump, but one must give him this much: he has managed to mobilize social media (and Twitter in particular) in a way that not even Obama managed. I’ve always figured that humanity has slowly been evolving into a hive mind through technology, out of collective loneliness if nothing else. Perhaps Trump’s unfiltered ramblings is just another step in that direction. The first Hive Queen.
Replicating that success from the other side of the aisle won’t be easy. Unfortunately, a number of concepts common to liberal thinkers tend to be much more complex than 140 characters might allow. To succeed, we may require a new kind of language. New terminology that’s somehow easily accessible to outsiders. Not an easy thing to accomplish, though we have seen terms like “gaslighting” recently hit the mainstream. Just something to keep in mind as we move forward, I suppose.
I suspect the majority of Tea Party libertarians – those of whom didn’t vote for Johnson, anyway – must see in Trump a win-win scenario for their ideology. On the one hand, if he successfully dismantles the social programs they hate (as he seems on track to do), excellent. On the other, if he’s as corrupt and irresponsible as he’s shaping up to be, they can say once it’s over that he’s the perfect example of why “big government” doesn’t work… conveniently leaving out the part where he was a problem they helped create, of course.
There’s only one problem with this concept: they still have to live through his presidency, same as everyone else.
I find myself wondering if there’s any way to ensure they’re not as personally insulated from the consequences of their decisions as they seem to believe they’ll be.