Just when I get close to maybe coming around to thinking that, well, not all Trump supporters are necessarily bad people, he goes and shoves the PM of Montenegro out of the way so he can be a big boy up front for a photo op.I mean, yes, he’s waging an active war against poor people, sick people, immigrants, women, education, and the arts. So many of us are bleary-eyed just trying to keep up with the news, far less do our part to resist, to protect our rights. But I think the incivility, the aggressive boorishness, is what makes it most unbearable.
It might as well have been me he shoved in Brussels.
I think it’s clear to anyone paying attention that Trump is but a symptom of something far greater. He’s awful, but 63 million Americans voted for him. He never concealed who he was. He was as misogynistic, xenophobic, and ignorant on the campaign trail as he is today. They saw him. They heard him. And they voted for him. Sure, he had no idea what being President entails, but there was a bit of comfort in that for many people, because neither did they.
Everyone knows I grieved for Hillary’s loss, and for the decades of propaganda that still leads many to this day to think of her as some kind of war criminal. But, like Trump, she was also a symptom of something greater. She was wonky, she used big words and complex sentences, she made the white men grilling her in Congress look foolish (though, let’s be honest, they did that themselves). I grieved not so much for her loss, but for the defeat of intellectualism and fact-based argument.
In a way, what matters more than the specific person running for office is what he or she represents. It’s why a violent thug can win a special election in Montana. It’s why poor Republicans in rural areas can cheer for a healthcare bill designed to kill them. Because what’s their alternative? Admit that they were wrong? Admit that they’re not as smart as Hillary supporters?
Some of them have, in fact, been coming around. Cable news runs at least one story a week about Trump voters who now regret their decision. I find myself buckling for a moment, instinctively feeling a modicum of sympathy for them. Then Trump does his shoving trick. And I realize he’s always been who he is. And that many of his supporters are in fact finding ways to justify his behavior. And that’s where we can never, ever find common ground. If you think it’s okay for the President of the United States to shove the Prime Minister of Montenegro, then you might as well just shove me. What’s the difference, anyway?