Hawaii Delilah, Nov. 20, 2016
The election in the United States of Donald Trump as president on Nov. 8, 2016 — without a popular vote mandate — has evoked questions about how a loyal Democrat should deal with Trump voters personally, and also in the halls of power.
In my view, the election of Trump — a multifaceted bigot — has created an imprimatur for racists and misogynists to express their disdain for those of us who are women, people of color, immigrants, and various other minorities.
While we are bracing for what can only be understood as the frightening prospects of an impending Trump presidency, some of us have Trump voters in our lives to deal with personally.
The truth is that some of these people — family members and coworkers — cannot be avoided. We have to deal with them and I certainly would not advise engaging in anything other than a civil manner, with coworkers particularly. However, there are other optional relationships that do not fit into the “cannot be helped” category and it is difficult for passionate Democratic voters to know how to negotiate these connections.
On social media, and from lawmakers as well, there has been a call to “give Trump a chance.” My response to that suggestion is that i don’t particularly see why I should give a chance to a man who trafficked in the worst kind of misogyny, racism, and xenophobia on a daily basis during the course of one of the most offensive election campaigns in recent memory.
This is apparently not a unique dilemma. It is one emerging in the lives of loyal Democrats across the country, even evoking articles about how to heal fractured relationships with the Trump voters In your life .
Truthfully, I am not interested in healing these relationships. They are forever tainted after Nov. 8, 2016 and, as such, I have purged myself of a lot of “optional” people who supported Trump. As a female person of color, I simply cannot have people in my life who voted for hatred or who are complicit with grotesque bigotry and authoritarianism. And that’s essentially what we’re dealing with.
Let me tell you why I am taking such a hard line. Because a vote for Trump was a vote to persecute people like me — a brown woman. I feel terror about what comes next. So for those people who want to be friends although they voted in favor of terrorizing me? No way.
Here’s the cold hard truth: Trump voters are either bigots or they don’t care about bigotry. One is immoral; other is complicity with it. No thanks.
While the white supremacists, misogynists, homophobes, and xenophobes would argue otherwise, bigotry is fundamentally immoral. That assertion is clear. What is less clear is the role of complicity — of being a party to that immorality.
The people I am describing as complicit are often the same people who understand racism in terms of intentions. They don’t have the intent to hate, to think less of other people, and so, in their own minds, they are exonerated from racism and other forms of bigotry. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it a self-serving understanding of bigotry, and of racism in particular, by people who will never be affected by its toxicity.
Those who don’t bother to think about how bigotry affects other people usually have the luxury of not needing to care. Usually, they belong to a majoritarian demographic group and their lives will go on without being affected directly. Accordingly, there is no compunction to be concerned about the deleterious effects of bigotry, its inherent immorality notwithstanding.
Bigotry, however, has to be understood not only in terms of personal intentions, but also with regard to the effects of certain actions, such as voting for Trump. If you voted for Trump, regardless of how spotless you think your heart happens to be — you literally voted FOR racism. You voted FOR bigotry. You voted FOR misogyny. You voted FOR xenophobia.
You can justify it by thinking you were voting to protect your guns or your tax bracket or a hypothetical fetus. You can even pat yourself on the back and say “But I voted for Obama in 2008.” But it does not change the fact that in 2016, you actually voted FOR a bigot who has promised to enact discriminatory and unconstitutional policies intended to ensure the lack of equality among Americans. And in even more concrete terms, you voted to dehumanize and HURT other Americans. You voted to to align with white nationalists . That’s what you voted for and you must be held accountable for it.
So, given all of the above, I am simply not interested in voluntarily being “friends” with Trump supporters. There is no sanitizing the choice made by them to vote for Trump.
Now, it is worth noting that Trump voters — expressly bigoted or not — voted to protect their own interests. More specifically, they voted in favor of “an interest” that includes protecting the primacy of whiteness and white supremacy .
That’s a legitimate position — to place your own personal interest and power above all else – and we should acknowledge it as unvarnished reality. But with it comes the election of a neo-fascist bigot, regardless of how inconvenient or uncomfortable that truth makes us all feel.
Trump voters aside, another unvarnished reality is that there were a whole lot of people who decided to vote their conscience by casting votes for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. There were also the apathetic types who didn’t bother to vote at all. So for all the non voters and third party voters who contributed to the election of an unhinged racist, misogynist, tax evading, pro-Putinist sexual predator, NO, we’re not going to be “friends.” The fact is that you voted to fuck me over.
I’ll add that anyone who showed up at those recent anti-Trump protests who voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or didn’t vote at all is full of shit. Indeed, any such person helped to elect Trump. And yes, let me repeat what I said above: he’s going to fuck me over.
Meanwhile, we have Democrats not wasting any time to not just give Trump a chance but offering to work with him. On Day 1, Democratic progressive stars, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were looking for common ground instead of promising to fight Trump’s agenda.
A day later Sanders was exhibiting his customary delusion about race issues, promising that if if Trump actually made good on his campaign promises of bigotry against minorities, there would be consequences . Lost on Sanders was the reality that Trump won precisely by trafficking in bigotry and by fomenting the worst and most divisive human impulses.
As if that level of delusion were not bad enough, Sanders also continued to cling to his anti-Wall Street ideology as if Nov. 8, 2016 didn’t happen. Attention Bernie Sanders: There are white supremacists about to enter the government! You’ll forgive me for not giving a shit about Wall Street.
If the progressive left is so eager to sacrifice people of color — and our suffering — to work with a neo-fascist, it is no ally of mine.
The progressive left is not the only problem. The incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has wasted no time announcing that he is looking to work with Trump where possible. At a news conference, Schumer told reporters, “When we can agree on issues, then we’re going to work with him.”
Let’s be clear, Trump hired a white nationalist, a conspiracy theorist bigot, and an outright racist in one week. But we should give him a chance? We should work with him? Fuck no. Under no circumstances should Democrats be pledging to work with Trump and his team of racists.
To this end, I have a message for Senator Schumer: Do so and you will lose your base. We promise. And I have a particularly specific message for all Democrats inclined to vote to approve Jeff Sessions’ candidacy for Attorney General:
We’re talking about ultimate federal legal authority of this country, jurisdiction of entities such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the hands of a man with an atrocious civil rights record. On principle, to any Democrat, Jeff Sessions as attorney general should be a non-starter. Indeed, to pledge to work with the Trump administration, given its emerging cabinet makeup, is utter unprincipled folly.
If principles are not a practical consideration, then perhaps strategic thinking might be worthy of it. In terms of strategy, pledging to work with Trump is self-defeating for Democrats as it reinforces the notion that only Republicans can get things done and move past gridlock.
Of course this is true because Democrats will compromise with Republicans while the reverse is not true. Democrats have not learned the lesson that Republicans tried to teach them for the last eight years — that obstruction has its benefits. Indeed, Republicans have won three out of the last four election cycles thanks to obstruction and paid a penalty only once — in 2012 — for it. So, it should be clear that there is no political payoff for the Democratic Party to work with Republicans to advance policies for which they will get no credit. Furthermore, it will strengthen the hand of a neo-fascist at the helm and augment perceptions of his leadership.
Despite these realities, I have had people ask me on social media what could possibly be wrong with looking for common ground. They point to infrastructure projects as possible areas where there could be a win-win arrangement with Trump.
What’s bad is that if those ends were to be realized, they would be paid for via the terror of women and minorities. And that’s too high a price for me. It should be too high a price for anyone claiming to be a Democrat.
For me, there is no whitewashing what Trump is about in order to gain bridges and jobs that are all hypothetical anyway. This is actually the same kind of thinking that normalized Mussolini. “At least the trains ran on time.” It is the kind of thinking that allowed people to mainstream Pinochet in Chile. “Well, the economy was good.”
My standards are higher. I expect my government to reflect the American ethos.
There will be a team coming in to government in January 2017 composed of white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, and even cogitators of internment camps. But you ask “what is so bad? “ Let me reiterate what I have already stated elsewhere repeatedly: If fellow Democrats are so eager to sacrifice people of color and our suffering to work with a neo-fascist, they’re no ally of mine. Moreover, if you can get over what happened on Nov. 8, 2016 to align yourself with that neo-fascist, you’re actually my opponent.
So yes, I am doing a purge in my life. If you don’t see this election as the worst thing that happened in recent memory, you are evicted. I am not normally an absolutist. I am constituently open minded. I also tend to be a pragmatist in my decision making. But that all ended on Nov 8, 2016. I am a purist now.
If you did not vote for Hillary Clinton, you helped elect Trump and you’re not my friend or ally. If you did not vote for Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8, 2016, you voted against Barack Obama’s legacy. And I’ll NEVER forgive you for that. Indeed, you voted to allow the godfather of birtherism succeed the first black president and you voted for a sexual predator over a qualified woman.
Your vote on Nov. 8, 2016 (or lack of it) was a litmus test of character. And you either passed or failed in my book. And if after Nov. 8, 2016, you opted to situationally align yourself with the neofascist coming into government with a team of racists, you are actually in alignment with bigotry, in violation of progressive principles, and a disgrace to the Democratic Party to which I belong.
The path ahead from January 2017 forward is going to be rough — but when I traverse it, I want to be with people I can trust. I need that solidarity for my mental well-being in a country that told me via the votes of millions of people that it literally hates me and wants to hurt me. So that’s my line in the sand. From this day forward, I am a Nov. 8, 2016 purist. To be anything else, is complicity.