Love at First Spite or, An Offer to Trump Supporters in the Spirit of the Season

In the spirit of the holidays, I have a proposition for our Trump-supporting friends.

Go ahead.

Say it.

Say, “Fuck you.” Say it to my face.

Say it to my liberal, city-dwelling, higher-educated, Democratic-Party-voting, Starbucks-swilling, Whole-Foods-shopping, Heather-Has-Two-Mommies-reading face.

Say it morning, noon and night.

Say it as often as you want. As loud as you want. Say it in front of my husband, my daughter, and all my friends. Say it over and over and over again.

Get it out of your system. So that the rest of us can GO BACK TO WORK.

That’s my present. That’s my gift to you, Trump supporters. That’s my extension of empathy and generosity and understanding, based on everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve read about you since the election.

You see, I understand you have been left behind by the economy. I understand you have been struggling for a while, even before the dot-com boom and bust, before the 2008 crash, before the anemic “recovery” that didn’t help you recover from anything.

But I understand something else, too.

The very smart Kathy Cramer, who I’m proud to have briefly shared an office with at one time, explained it for people who, unlike me, didn’t grow up next door to you: 

Racism is certainly a part of the story when these people make calculations about deservingness and who is or is not working hard. People would talk about opposing social programs because the recipients were lazy and not hardworking like themselves; those were often dog-whistle racist claims. But, at times, they were also talking about the laziness of desk-job white professionals like me.

So racism is a part of this resentment, but we are failing to fully understand these perspectives when we assume that racism is more fundamental than calculations of injustice. The two elements are intertwined. The way these folks described the world to me, their basic concern was that people like them, in places like theirs, were overlooked and disrespected. They were doing what they perceived good Americans ought to do to have the good life. And the good life seemed to be passing them by.

It’s worth noticing that Trump’s appeal to these folks is not about facts or particular policies. It is instead the act of delivering a message that resoundingly resonates with the perspective of someone identifying proudly as a resident of a type of place that the dominant urban society does not care about or respect.

I can’t do much about the location of the state capitals or the legislative schedule. I can’t make people’s representatives listen to them or interact with them, nor can I make people show up to the community meetings their reps might have. I can’t make anyone feel more comfortable in his or her skin any more than I can give anybody a job right now.

But maybe I can do something about the deep, abiding, burning need to tell someone who exemplifies what you hate to go straight to hell.

You want to prove you’re an underdog who tells the libtards who don’t respect you to go straight to hell, people?

You want to give the middle finger to everything that bugs you, including Happy Holidays at Macy’s, someone speaking Spanish on her cell phone at the restaurant, an ethnic scholarship at your high school, a gay storyline in your favorite police procedural?

Do it.

Make that stupid Hillary “KFC” joke ten times. Tell me the story about Michelle Obama putting crack pipes on the Christmas tree at the White House. Talk about how Bill Clinton is the biggest sex offender the world has ever known. Offer your opinion that “we” have “banned” God from “the schools.”

Ooh, call me a babykiller. That one never gets old.

Send me a hundred memes just like this one:

trumpsantajesus

I’ll post them on my Facebook timeline. I’ll nod and agree with anything you say. I’ll feel very, very bad about myself and everything I stand for. I may even cry, if that’s what it takes.

 

I am more than willing to take one for the team.

If.

IF.

In exchange, you vote for health insurance for your sick neighbors. You expand Medicaid for your state’s poorest residents. You don’t fight about food stamps and subsidized housing, in fact, you support them.

In exchange, you vote for punishment for companies that poison your water. You support jury awards of damages for corporations convicted of harm to the environment and the people who live in it.

In exchange, you vote for lowering the Social Security retirement age. You vote for increased funding for public education. You vote for restoring the Voting Rights Act and you vote for expanding it to every state in the union: No one gets to fuck with anyone’s vote without review or check.

You vote for honest-to-God campaign finance reform, and consideration of judicial appointees in a timely manner so that the fucking courts can do their job.

You vote for all that shit, and you can tell me to my face that I’m a lazy liberal who doesn’t understand the real world, and I will agree with you.

You make your life better, you make my life better, you make our country better, and you GET WHAT YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING, which is to say fuck you.

I mean it. I’m sick of people I love suffering because you want to make a statement. Because you want to have feelings about your place in the world. Because deep down you get mad and sad that you are not being given a parade for showing up every day. Because you resent.

I’m offering you a way out. Go ahead.

Take it.

A.

 

3 thoughts on “Love at First Spite or, An Offer to Trump Supporters in the Spirit of the Season

  1. Gummo says:

    Beautiful, Athenae. If only it were that simple.

    But we’re dealing with people who will happily ruin their own lives IF they think it hurts someone powerless even more.

    Worse, 30+ years of limbaugh and fox and all the rest have turned them into hate & rage addicts. It’s a high like any other, and to keep feeling it, they need to keep escalating it.

    When none of Trump’s promises come true, their rage will boil over. Not at him. At us, the Big Four: liberals, blacks, Muslims & Jews.

    THEN you’ll see some serious historical reenactments, of which the Nazi defacement of Jewish graves and businesses will be only a beginning.

    Like

  2. iceblue2 says:

    My mother and I barely speak. She stopped talking to me in March because I said something about her preferred candidate Trump. My mother is 81 (and pretty healthy/mobile). When we used to have conversations on the phone (I live across the country for a reason) I would try explain to her how a higher minimum wage is good for everyone. She doesn’t believe someone working at MickyD’s should get $15. ‘They wash dishes, hand out food. How is that worth $15/hr. I worked my whole life and went to school (late in life, 2 yr degree), and didn’t make much more than that’ (she retired 10 yrs ago). One of her children makes less than that an hour at a job he’s been at for 20 yrs, she says it’s because he’s lazy. Her own son. She looks at a person who works at fast food taking home more than she gets in social security and her small pension and it’s not fair. (it’s not, raise social security, I tell her)
    I have many more of these tidbits dealing with race, religion, LGBTQ folks, you name it, I’ve tried to have conversations with my mother about it over the years. She’s an angry person to begin with (extenuating circumstances in some cases), but she is angry at the world. Everyone is getting more than she got and it’s not fair. I’ve been trying to combat this for more than 30 yrs using reason, logic and facts to no avail. She has always called me a bleeding heart liberal. She wants the america back where her dollar paid for more.
    The question for all of us is how to get through to them. Olds like my mother and everyone else down the line who have those same opinions and concerns, especially those in rural America, like her.
    I think about it every day, more so since the election.
    I’m not sure Fuck you is gonna work – she’s tried that many times.

    Like

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