(First part, written very early this morning before going to work)
A rough day to be an American, for most Americans. And if the outcome had been different, it would have been a rough day to be an American, for most Americans. I am rather less of a loser this morning than I could have been, but still, Donald Trump as President-Elect is a pretty terrible birthday present to me from America.
(sigh) In the meantime, if you are one of my liberal friends or relatives: (1) love ya, really, no fingers crossed, and I know today is going to be awful and I feel for you, really and truly. (2) You and I are united in our desire to see America become a country where someone like Donald Trump is not a serious candidate for President. (3) This is so, so very important if we’re ever going to get back to where people like Donald Trump are not serious candidates: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU SAY WHEN EXPLAINING HOW THIS HAPPENED. Because the only reason we are now stuck with Donald Trump, is the way liberals have spent the last thirty years behaving.
(Full disclosure: I voted for Johnson, despite the fact that he seems to have a more or less room-temperature IQ, not being able to stomach voting for either Trump or Herself.)
Let me explain by first giving you an awesome counterexample, of somebody doing liberalism right (so far as liberalism can be done right). One of my daughters is about as liberal as they come; as far as I can tell the only problem she had with Bernie Sanders is that she suspected that he might be a touch too right-wing. (For those of you who don’t know her, that was comic hyperbole.) But she has gone out of her way to try to talk to me about my political views — and to do so respectfully — because, quoting her as accurately as I can from memory, “I sit around with my friends and they mostly hate conservatives. But I don’t want to hate conservatives. I want to understand them. You, Dad — pretty much everything you believe I think is evil, but I want to know how it’s possible for you to think that way.” Now let me tell you guys something and promise you I will never be more serious, or more certain, of anything in my life: if every True-Believer Liberal had that attitude, Donald Trump would never have gotten even 1% in any primary.
Watch what happens over the next few days, or actually over the next four years. Most liberals are going to say that Trump won because the people who voted for him are racist. A great many liberals, most of whom have been bragging for months about how excited they were to vote for Hillary precisely because she is a woman (so excited to Be A Part Of History!) will loudly proclaim (a) that there were lots of people who voted against Hillary because she was a woman and (b) that this was a Bad Thing and these people are evil and sexist because it is okay to allow gender to influence your vote but only if you are pro-vagina otherwise you are an Evil Person. (The ordinary run-of-the-mill liberal is many things but self-aware is not one of them.) All but unanimously liberals will ascribe Trump’s victory to “hate” of one form or another. Explanation after explanation after explanation is going to come from liberals in public and private life, and all of the people who aren’t True Believer liberals will be listening to you guys, and what they are going to hear overwhelmingly is, “My side didn’t win because the other side is Evil People and what we discovered today is that America has more Evil People than Good People Like Me.” There will be an incessant shrieking chorus insisting that it simply is not possible for any Decent Person to disagree with liberal orthodoxy. There will be little or no attempt to really understand what is going on in the minds of the people who disagree with doctrinaire liberals. There will be little or no attempt to really understand what is going on in the minds of people who find it odd to claim that it is evil to vote for a p***y-grabber who has been known to call women fat but fine to vote for someone who has for fifty years been the primary enabler of a serial predator and rapist and repeated guest of a sexual exploiter of underaged girls on said exploiter’s expeditions to the foreign jurisdiction that catered to his particular brand of evil. There will be little or no attempt to really understand what is going on in the minds of those who find it very strange when an acquaintance gets deeply upset at the possibility that Trump might have not paid his fair share of taxes but is not in the slightest troubled by the Clintons’ amassing of a $100 million fortune by influence-peddling and the shameless use of a “nonprofit” foundation for personal enrichment. That is to say, there will be little or no attempt to really understand what is going on in the minds of considerably more than half of the American people, who did not necessarily vote for Trump but who definitely refused to vote for Hillary. There will simply be an even more heightened primal scream of contempt for people who have committed the unforgivable crime of disagreeing with liberals and not letting liberals get their way. For the dominant perception that American non-liberals have of American liberals, is that American liberals deal with not getting their own way with about as tolerance for disagreement as Cardinal Ximenez and about as much maturity as the average two-year-old – but that American liberals can already do WAY more harm to people who disagree with them than the average two-year-old can, and that their open ambition is to be able to go full-Ximenez on the racist homophobic cisgenderist sexist fascist masses.
Essentially, the majority of liberals behave for all the world as though they hold the same attitude towards people who dare to disagree with liberals about morality and ethics and freedom that New England Puritans held toward people whom they had decided were witches, combined with the attitude two-year-olds have toward other two-year-olds who don’t hand over that toy on demand. Now there is nothing wrong with Social Justice Warriors’ thinking they are right; as far as that goes I think I’m right in most of my opinions; and the Puritans in Salem and the Calvinists in Geneva and the Inquisitors in Spain were all sure they were right in theirs. And of course Social Justice Warriors want to win and get things their own way, as do we all. To think that you are right is simply to be a human being who has an opinion; there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, nor is wanting to have things go the way you think they should go. But so far as I can tell, in the set of “Social Justice Warriors, the Peril, the Salem Puritans, the Geneva Calvinists, and the Spanish Inquisitors,” I’m the only member of the set who is capable of imagining the possibility that my views of what are right and wrong, could be in error. And so far as I can tell I’m also the only person in that set who doesn’t think the people who dare to disagree with me are Evil Persons Who Should Be Persecuted By Official Government Violence Until They Recant.
And what you guys have to understand is that THIS IS PRECISELY THE REASON WE ARE NOW STUCK WITH DONALD TRUMP AS PRESIDENT. (That, and the fact that the Democratic Party chose to run one of the most thoroughly contemptible people America managed to produce in the entire twentieth century, probably the only person in America who could have managed to lose to Donald Frickin’ Trump.) Liberals in public life unanimously, and liberals in private life often enough to have a definitely chilling effect on discussion, treat people who disagree with them as either morons or as something slightly worse than Nazis or most often both at once. As David Burge put it, “If you think Donald Trump says bad things about immigrants, you should see what MSNBC says about midwesterners.” And all the people liberals have been pouring contempt on for the last twenty years, just stood up and gave liberals the biggest Eff You of the twenty-first century so far. Donald Trump is not President-Elect today because of his political philosophy or his foreign-policy positions or because of his domestic policy platform. He is President-Elect today because of how liberals in general treat people who disagree with them. If you join in the chorus insisting that anybody who voted for Trump is a racist sexist homophobic white supremacist hate-filled deplorable fascist…(sigh) I take it you want him to be re-elected four years from now?
Look, it’s really pretty simple. Treat people with whom you disagree with respect and humility. Try to understand rather than hate. You ought to be doing that simply because it’s the right thing to do, both morally and prudentially. But if “it’s the right thing to do” and “I don’t want to make a fool of myself” isn’t reason enough for you, then for heaven’s sake do that simply because otherwise you will be treating people with contempt and arrogance. And once people figure out that you are contemptuous and arrogant and that you hate them without troubling to understand them…well, if you insist on making enemies, then you ought not be shocked when your enemies take delight in the lamentations of your women.
I’ll give you just one specific example. You remember when Donald Trump talked about putting a freeze on Muslim immigration? And when you all were horrified about how Donald was playing to people’s hatred of Muslims? Well, go back and look at the actual quote — he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” And you are right, he was playing to hatred. But he wasn’t playing to hatred of Muslims. He was playing to hatred of “our country’s representatives.” He was playing to Flyover Country’s increasing resentment and hatred of the self-perceived elites who dismiss anything said by somebody who wears overalls or likes to barbecue as being “[fill-in-the-blank]ist.” And the overwhelming majority of liberals took the bait: he made a statement that was very clearly a slam at the incompetence of the people who lord it over the rest of us as if they were some sort of superior race when actually they couldn’t find their own butts with a GPS, an entire barbershop’s worth of mirrors and a pair of high-powered binoculars, but who respond to any criticism of their incompetence by calling those who criticise them “racist.” And how did liberalism respond? Why, by screaming about what a racist Islamophobe Trump and his supporters were — THEREBY PROVING HIS POINT.
Donald Trump figured out ahead of anybody other that Ted Cruz that at least half the country is very, very tired of being hated and sneered at by people whom they perceive as arrogant, self-righteous twits. His entire campaign strategy consisted, fundamentally, of getting liberals to prove that they hate him as much as they hate the more than half the country that dares to disagree with them on pretty much any political issue whatsoever. You find it mysterious, do you not, that tons of poor blue-collar workers looked at this brash inherited-wealth tool of a person who has never done a day’s worth of honest manual labor in his life, and said, “That guy is one of us”? But it’s really quite simply why they felt like Donald Trump was one of them. The people who hate them, also hate Donald Trump. The people who have been at great pains to make it clear that they hate and despise half of the American people, went to equally great pains to make it clear that they hate and despise Donald Trump, and the half of the American people they hate, noticed. At every opportunity Trump baited the liberal neo-Puritans and the Chamber-of-Commerce-owned Republican Party leaders to scream about how racist and sexist and hate-filled he was. Every time he said, “Please don’t throw me into that briar patch,” the militantly self-righteous elite obligingly said, “Hey, everybody, come watch us throw Donald Trump into the briar patch!” And what was the effect on the people who have learned by painful experience that no matter how politely they try to express their legitimate concerns about what is happening to their families and communities, they get called racist and sexist? Surprise, surprise, every time liberals and the Republican establishment screamed, “Racist! Sexist!” those voters said, “Hey, brother, welcome to the club.” The sad thing is that I think Donald Trump probably is actually a racist and I haven’t the least doubt in the world that he is a sexist pig whom I would never in a million years allow in the same room as any female relative of mine; but since your team’s visible representatives call literally everybody on earth who disagrees with them racist and sexist, hundreds of thousands of people who know they themselves get lied about by you guys more or less constantly, naturally assumed you were lying about Trump as well. Someday it’s possible that you might run across a story about a boy who cried wolf. It would do you good to read that story and ponder its lessons.
Your side (not you personally, my Facebook friend, for my Facebook friends list is pretty well-vetted and is largely a nasty-person-free zone) are well and truly hated by something close to half the country, who elected Donald Trump almost entirely because it was the most satisfying way they could think of to give liberals and establishment Republicans (but I repeat myself) a great big thumping raised-to-the-sky double bird. But you are not hated because you are women and they are sexist. You are not hated because you support LGBT rights and they are homophobic. You are not hated because you are a whatever-the-politically-correct-term-du-jour-for-not-white is and they are racist. They hate liberals because for most of my lifetime liberals have been treating them with contempt and arrogance and malice and abuse and venom. They hate liberals because it was precisely 0% of a surprise whatsoever to hear that Hillary Clinton thinks them “deplorable” and assumes that all her supporters agree with her. The dominant voices in the liberal community have incessantly accused these Americans of hatred whenever they have dared to voice disagreement with liberalism, usually with no evidence whatsoever that they were actually motivated by hate; and liberal voices dissenting with those accusations have been few and far between. The dominant voices in the liberal community have insisted that it is not possible for these Americans to disagree with liberal opinions or disapprove of the behavior of groups whom it happened to be socially fashionable at the time for liberals to defend, for any reason other than that they hate the people whose behavior and opinions they criticize. And that can only imply that those liberals cannot themselves imagine disagreeing with somebody’s opinion (as liberals clearly disagree with non-liberals) or disapproving of their behavior (as liberals clearly disapprove of non-liberals’) without hating them. Liberals have then done everything in their power to validate the implication that they hate anyone who is Not Their Kind, by seizing every opportunity to call anyone who dares disagree with them the nastiest names in the English language, and by spending the last thirty years making it clear that they hate and detest non-liberals and consider them subhumans who are, not just by implication but by open liberal accusation, in the same class as Nazis. Because, after all, you know, disagreeing with a liberal about the proper function of marriage in society…or about what God thinks of homosexuality…or about the degree of threat posed by global warming and the maximally prudent response to that threat…or about whether Obamacare does more harm to non-rich people in need of medical care than good…or about whether the nation’s police, as a factual matter, are generally a positive or negative force for the safety of innocent black people…or about whether INS bureaucrats are sufficiently capable of discerning between good and bad Muslims for it to be wise to allow tens of thousands of immigrants into America from a region of the world where an outright majority of the inhabitants think America is a bigger problem than ISIS…or about whether letting all men whether transvestite or not enter the same bathrooms as women will do more good to the 1% of the country who are transvestite men than it will do harm to the 50% of the country who are women vulnerable to exploitation by the considerably more than 1% of the country’s men who are aggressively heterosexual and eager for opportunities to sexually prey on vulnerable women, much less to women who have already gone through the trauma of sexual assault and find that trauma re-triggered whenever they or their daughters find themselves alone in a bathroom with a male stranger…clearly – clearly!! – disagreeing with liberal orthodoxy on any of these points is the moral equivalent of making lampshades out of human skin.
In the end, basically, they have decided they hate you back. So they took Donald Trump, who is one stolen bad toupee away from looking as much like a middle finger as it is very well possible for a grown man to look, and used him to be as obscenely rude to you as it is very well possible to be, and then yelled, “Take that, b****es!” Only, they weren’t just doing that to the liberals who hate them. They were doing it to the rest of us, too, even though we never did anything to them to deserve THAT.
And now I get four years with Donald Trump as President. So, you know, thanks for that.
I wrote the preceding this morning and then stopped because it was time to go to work. So far today my Facebook feed is largely proving my point. I have some liberal friends whose posts have been models of peacemaking and fairness, such as this one:
I supported Sec. Clinton over Trump simply because I believe that the President serves as an example to the rest of the country. Trump’s defects are so much more easily imitated than her arcane and high level transgressions (if indeed accusations are correct; I have my doubts). Anybody can be crude. Anybody can bully. Anybody can commit adultery and brag about it. Anybody can humiliate the disabled. His sins are so eminently replicable. (And, really, I would like to know how many abortions Trump has paid for over the years.)
Yet I know many good people who voted for him. I respect their motives and their judgment.
But the majority have been more like this one (who is usually a very nice person but was obviously very upset last night and said some things out of character, which is precisely why I am not sharing my friend’s name):
I am sick of people who spout hatred and find pleasure in the pain of others. I guess that is what white conservatives are all about…I do not want to have a single one of them show concern when my health falters because their votes causes me to lose my Healthcare because for the short time I had the ACA Healthcare, I was starting to think I might one day be back in a place of living. I hope that the Social Security system crumbles when they need it! You bitched because you didn’t have insurance, you told me it wasn’t fair that I got help and you couldn’t afford your policy. Well, I hope you are happy now.
There is no apparent comprehension of the fact that people might be distressed by the pain of persons who have chronic and severe illnesses and who had good coverage before Obamacare and have since lost it, or by the pain of people who can’t find decent jobs since Obamacare has driven huge numbers of employers to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs. There is no appreciation of the fact that absolutely any approach to health care that can be devised will cause some people to gain coverage and others to lose it, or that a person could feel very deep compassion for my friend’s pain and yet consider that Obamacare does more harm than good. There are literally millions of losers under Obamacare, and their pain is just as real as my friend’s, and it is entirely possible that a person would support the abolition of Obamacare because they think overall the abolition of Obamacare would reduce the amount of pain Americans feel today from the difficulty of getting quality health care, in which case they would be trying to abolish Obamacare precisely because it distresses them to see the pain of others. But that’s not a possibility even to be introduced – oh, no, it’s that “white conservatives like seeing other people in pain.” What a deeply, deeply contemptible thing to say about another person simply because he disagrees with you on a question of political policy…but 100% of the people in this country who are not themselves doctrinaire liberals are resigned to the fact that if you disagree with the average liberal, he will feel not the slightest twinge in conscience in accusing you of being a monstrous and evil human being, the kind of person who “enjoys seeing other people’s pain.” My friend happens to be a nice person who ordinarily wouldn’t say such a vicious and nasty thing, who posted a first reaction to deep and bitter disappointment, and I neither hold it against her nor think anybody else should. But tens of millions of Americans have lots of experience with liberals who would say such things without the slightest twinge of conscience half a dozen times before breakfast…and that’s on days when the liberals woke up in a good mood.
Or take this article, which is a perfect example of the standard liberal combination of smugness, self-righteousness, contempt for those who disagree with them, and jackasinine unselfawareness. This idiot wants to explain to all of us who are not liberals that we do not understand why liberals are upset. We are, you see, very stupid and can never understand anything unless a liberal explains it to us. Now, the moment he says this, anybody in America who isn’t a liberal says, “Let me guess: you are upset because Evil People Won, and because YOUR political views, unlike those of the Evil persons who disagree with you, are not merely political views; they are Divinely Inspired Moral Imperatives that only Evil people could possibly disagree with, and whatever you have to do in your Crusade to impose them upon the unwashed infidels who dare to commit heresy against the One True liberal faith, is simply The Cause Of Justice, not politics; for politics, like hate, is What Those Other People Do. Are you telling me that this is not in fact why you are upset, and that there’s some other reason, which we have not hitherto suspected?” And then you read…
…in which he proceeds to tell us that the reason he is upset is that this is Not Just About Politics But Is Instead About The Fact That Hell Has Descended Upon America Because The Evil People Won. Um…dude, believe me, we already knew that’s how you felt. You’ve spent the last thirty years making that unmistakably clear. The fact that roughly half the country knows that you consider them to be on the intellectual level of goldfish and the moral level of Hitler is precisely why Trump got elected. It’s why Trump, not Cruz, won the Republican nomination despite the fact that Cruz was, clearly, a safer bet to make massive actual changes in Washington than Trump: Trump is and always was going to be a bigger Eff You than Cruz could ever have been. So you believe that all your political views represent The Triumph Of Good Over Evil and you despise all those who disagree with you as Evil? Dude, believe me, you didn’t need to tell us THAT. You and your kind made that clear long, long ago.
(If ever there was a single-digit-IQ article that begged to be Fisked, that article is one; but I have spent far too much time on this post already.)
If you are a liberal, then I suggest that you spend the next week stepping back from the fray and just watching how liberals talk about the rest of America. If you do that, and you are honest about what you hear and about what kind of impression the incessantly self-righteous and contemptuous and hostilely sneering droning of the liberal community is likely to make upon the 150 million or so Americans who are not themselves members of that community…well, then I don’t think you’ll have to be asking me any more, “How did this happen?”
P.S. After writing this I ran across this article. Obviously the folks at Reason have come to the same conclusion as myself. And I had to chuckle at Sally Kohn’s definition of political correctness as “being polite and having good manners,” given (a) my previous conversation with my son Kegan about what the term “political correctness” denotes in the overwhelming majority of conversations in which it is used, and (b) Sally Kohn’s ever-so-polite and ever-so-well-mannered tweets equating conservative Christians with the Muslim guy who shot up the gay nightclub in Orlando. Ah, yes, the polite and well-mannered liberal…the Donald Trump phenomenon was created primarily by people just like Sally Kohn, who I’m sure genuinely believes that she is polite and well-mannered and it’s all the other people who are full of hate.