I am so, so very tired of explaining to conservatives why their continued support of Cheeto Benito, or their apologism for his supporters, is losing them friends. At this point, it should be obvious. Alas, either conservatives are actually as willfully ignorant as they seem, or they’re all trolling us, but there comes a point where trolling becomes reality (see: incel forums’ fantasies of violence against women becoming real in the forms of Eliot Rodger and Alek Minassian, and, in one of the only good things to happen in this, The Year of Absolute Shit 2020, an incel blowing his hand off with a bomb he intended to use on “hot cheerleaders” (oh, I hope it was the hand he jerked off with)), and frankly, I’ve had it.
I’ve had it with explaining the same points over and over and over and fucking over again.
I’ve had it with the circular conversations.
I’ve had it with the conservatives’ whataboutisms and red herrings and strawmen.
I’ve had it with the “but mah raaaaaights!” people.
I’ve had it with the “but how will we remember
how not to be racist cunts our history without commemorating it?!” people.
I’ve had it with the “First Amendment” people, since precisely zero of them understand what the First Amendment actually says and does (short version: It protects people who speak out against THE GOVERNMENT from being prosecuted BY THE GOVERNMENT; it does not apply to private corporations, nor does it protect you from the consequences of your words).
I’ve just… had it. I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted. I’m intellectually exhausted, emotionally exhausted, psychologically exhausted. I’ve reached as deep as I can, but no matter how deep I go, it’s never enough for Trump supporters and their apologists. My reserves are completely empty, but while Trump supporters and their apologists demand “breaks” from defending their beliefs, you refuse to give me and the people like me that same courtesy. No, your “liberal friends” have to answer for every fucking thing, all the fucking time, at your command (which is exactly what it is; not a request, a “do it or I’ll tantrum even harder about ‘cancel culture’ and ‘PC run amok’.”).
And here’s the thing, Trump supporters and apologists: I don’t hate you. I’m angry at you, 100%. I’m sick of you. I’m tired of having to constantly answer to you, on behalf of all liberals. I’m furious with you. I want you to give me the same breaks you demand I give you. But none of that equals hate. There are maybe three people on this Earth that I genuinely hate, and if you’re one of them, you know it. I don’t hate you; I’m exasperated by you. There’s a difference. If I hated you, I wouldn’t be writing this entry to you.
Hell, in 2016, I defended a lot of you. I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, which overwhelmingly came out in support of Trump. And believe me, I got it: NAFTA, the TPP, all of those policies absolutely raped the Ohio-Pennsylvania steel valley, and fifty years on, it hasn’t even begun to recover. And Trump came along and said all the things Youngstown residents wanted to hear: He was gonna open up the steel mills again. He was gonna bring the jobs back from China. Now, I knew he was lying, but I also knew that Youngstown residents were desperate to hear those things, especially since they got basically laughed out of the room every time they asked Washington for some kind of financial relief. Desperate people believe pie-in-the-sky promises, because often, that’s all they have to believe in.
But I’m looking around now, halfway through the absolute dumpster fire that is 2020, and I want to know: Where are the jobs? Why are the steel mills still closed? Why are the majority of Youngstown residents still living in poverty? Why has the unemployment rate there gotten worse even before coronavirus? In 2016, I understood, and as much as I hated Trump (yes, he’s one of those three), I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now it’s 2020, and not only has Trump followed through on absolutely none of his campaign promises, but the economy is in damn-near free fall, over 100,00 people are dead from COVID due to his negligence, the country is more divided than ever and he keeps dividing us even further, and still, still, you’re defending him. Four years ago, I was willing to give him a chance; four years on, nothing having been done except, likely, the complete destruction of this country, why -why oh why oh why- should I keep giving him chances? Why do you, Trump supporters and apologists, keep believing in him, after nothing but broken promise after broken promise, after broken promise?
And then there is Trump qua Trump. I’m paraphrasing from a tweet I saw and retweeted, but has since disappeared (likely because the person who tweeted it had their account deleted for tweeting it): Donald Trump is the least masculine, most insecure person any of us could possibly come in contact with. He’s terrified of women, he’s terrified of other men, he’s terrified of minorities and POC, and he covers up that terror and insecurity with a pastiche of masculinity that is both unbelievably, almost hilariously, fragile, and yet so perfectly encapsulates and defines the phrase “toxic masculinity”. He’s a pathological liar, a toxic narcissist, he’s hateful, he never takes responsibility for anything he says or does, he does not understand economics or politics or anything, really; he refuses to listen to anyone who isn’t praising or fawning over him, and he’s clearly on a swift and severe cognitive decline. I am genuinely curious, what do you see in him? Why do you insist, even four disastrous years later, that “he was a better option than Hillary”? (For that matter, why do you insist that he’s more honest than she was? Because of all the lies he’s told, that one is the most obvious.) Why do you insist that he’s still a better leader than any Democrat in the field, especially the women? And, most importantly, why won’t you listen to your “liberal friends” when they point all of this out? When they point out how hate crimes have been on the rise since he took office? When they point out that the economy is in the worst shape it’s been since the Great Depression? When they point out not only how many lies he tells, but how obviously false they are? When he has the continued endorsement of the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan? When he gives his word-salad speeches from which no one can possibly derive anything in the realm of meaning? (And, my own, personal, petty thing: When he gives that gross smile like he just cracked off a “silent but deadly” and is just waiting for everyone to smell it?)
Just… What is it going to take, Trump-supporting conservatives, and the people who defend them? What will it take for you to realize that it’s not your “liberal friends” causing this strife, but you? What will it take for you to understand the fear of your friends -you POC friends, your Jewish friends, your Muslim friends, your women friends, your LGBTQIA friends- when you say you’re going to vote for him in November? What will it take for you to understand that we are willing to forgive you for having voted for him in 2016, but after four years of just total fucking unreality on the level of Black Mirror and Twilight Zone, we cannot possibly forgive you for voting for him again?
I’m not pulling these examples out of my ass. I know these people, intimately. They are members of my own family: My mother, my brother, my grandmother, my maternal aunt and uncle. All voted for Trump in 2016, all will vote for him again in November.
Let me tell you my own perspective on this: I’m the descendant of Jews who fled Russia in the early 1900s, due to the massacre of Jews in the Pale of Settlement. Trump is an outspoken anti-Semite, who readily admits that Mein Kampf is the only book he’s ever read, and he’s surrounded by yes-men. Do you realize how terrifying that is for me? Because let’s be clear, it wasn’t just practicing Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. It was ANYONE with ANY Jewish ancestry. It does not seem outlandish to me to think that, with another four or more years of a Trump presidency¹, I and a large majority of my family could be dead. Me, my brother, my nieces, my paternal family; all at least half-Jewish, all potentially dead within the next few years. It’s happened before, and if we don’t stop it now, it will happen again. The outspoken anti-Semitism, the high-ranking “yes” men who value their jobs more than human lives, the legal definition of “Jew” as “anyone with any Jewish relatives and ancestors,” the willingness of supposedly “good” people to look away or say “it’s their own fault” (excuse me, I didn’t choose my parents; if I could have, I’d have chosen better than what I got), the “well, whatabout [insert topic that has absolutely nothing to do with anything being talked about]”, the denialism.
And don’t even think of telling me “it can’t happen here,” because, newsflash: It’s happening. It’s been happening for at least four years. Did you notice the camps on the border? That’s called “boiling the frog,” and if you’re okay with Mexican and Central/South American migrants being detained in, let’s be honest, concentration camps-lite, you’ll be okay with other types of others being there, too: BIPOC, Jews, LGBTQIA people, women, Muslims, anyone who isn’t you. Because much better them than you, when it comes to survival, right?
I’ll be honest, I will not stay in this country if Trump is re-elected. I was willing to stay and fight four years ago, but now? Now, if he’s re-elected, there will be nothing I can reasonably do, for myself or anyone else, if I stay. The only thing I could possibly do is escape, help whatever country I end up going to in the inevitable Third World War, hope we all survive the nukes, and… That’s it.
To anyone who still supports Trump or is a Trump supporter-apologist: You have no idea how much I hated typing that paragraph. I’m not a pessimistic person by nature, but given how everything is going, I have absolutely no hope left. You are a large part of the reason. I am sickened at the idea that the United States, which fought to liberate Hitler’s concentration camps, is now going through the exact same process that allowed those camps to be built in the first place. I grew up believing that, on the whole, the US was a safe place to be Jewish or descended from Jews; for the last four years, I’ve had to watch a massacre at a synagogue during a Shabbat, watch as rednecks in my own country screamed “Heil Hitler!” out of cars at random, “Jewish-looking” people (yo, go to my Instagram, look at my selfies, and realize I’m 50% Jewish; would you clock me if I hadn’t told you? You would not; at worst, you’d clock me as a gothabilly whore, which, entirely fair. All that to say, if you have an idea in your head of what a Jewish person “looks like,” it’s absolutely the result of anti-Semitic propaganda), and watch the fucking president praise the KKK (which is also notoriously anti-Jewish, let me remind you) and the anti-Semitic alt-right as “very fine people”.
I am of Jewish descent, and I was born in this country. The United States is my home. Hearing and seeing all of this is like having my landlord come into my apartment, screaming “FUCKING KIKE WHORE” at me, and telling me how much he wants me and every other Jew in the complex dead, or at least scared to death. I pay rent (taxes), I have as much right to be here as any WASP, and yet. Those very same WASPs are, by and large, standing on the sidelines, either looking the other way or saying, “well, it’s kinda your fault, I mean, you are Jewish” or saying, “whatabout the church Dylann Roof shot up?” (You mean, the African Methodist Evangelical church you wouldn’t give a fuck about except that it was Christian black people being massacred, you fucking red herring-spewing hypocrite?) There’s no acknowledgement of the fact that I didn’t ask for any of this. There’s no acknowledgement of the fact that this is wrong. There’s no acknowledgement of the fact that I have every right to be afraid when people around me start acting like this and spewing anti-Semitism at me and the people around them. There’s no acknowledgement of the fact that I have every historical reason to be afraid. There’s just, “Well, I mean” and “well, whatabout”, and “well, it’s not really that bad, is it?” and “oh, get over it, it can’t happen here” or “oh, you just want to be a victim.”
Uh. NO. No, I do not want to be a victim. There are a lot of things I want: I want to finish college. I want to meet someone to spend my life with. I want to have kids. I want a job that pays more than $25,000 a year. I want to move into a less-shitty apartment. I want my basil and dill and rosemary and chives and parsley and cilantro and carrots to grow. I want to drop about thirty pounds. I want to bang Malcolm Gladwell at least once before either of us dies. I want to have an orgy with the entire cast of the MCU. I want, in my even-less grounded-in-reality moments, to be a stand-up comedian. I want to wake up tomorrow looking like a goth version of Salma Hayek in Dogma. I want to wake up tomorrow with the last four years having just been a horrific, super-detailed nightmare; a world where Alan Rickman and David Bowie and Prince and Carrie Fisher and George Michael are still alive, Black Mirror is still just a sci-fi-show on Netflix, and Donald Trump is in a care home for people with Alzheimer’s, where he belongs. This is just a fraction of the things I want.
I don’t want, and I have never wanted, to be a victim of anti-Semitism, and even when I’ve been subjected to it (at my Assemblies of God church as a child, for example, with, “My daddy said I can’t be friends with you because the Jews killed Jesus and all Jews are going to the bad place”), I’ve been able to shrug it off as haters just hating. But there’s a marked difference between little kids repeating their parents’ problematic and hateful beliefs, especially when you’re a kid yourself, and being an adult on the receiving end of another adult’s ignorance and hatred, when the only reason they won’t hurt or kill you is that they don’t want to go to jail (and not only do you know that, but they know you know that). Yeah, being a kid and being told by another kid that they’re not allowed to be friends with me because their parents hate something about me that I had no say in? That hurts. But I can at least hope -and I do hope- that that kid eventually grew up and realized that their parents’ beliefs were shitty and hurtful, be sorry for parroting them, and do better. Adults saying those things to other adults? At that point, that kind of hatred and ignorance is a choice, made of your own free will, and pardon my bluntness, but I have absolutely zero obligation to feel anything but contempt for you. The fact that I don’t is a choice I make, but every time I make that choice, it weighs heavily on me that (a) I might just be encouraging your ignorance and hatred, (b) I could just be passing the buck to someone who’s more Jewish than I am, and (c) if I really have no responsibility to be anything but contemptuous of anti-Semites who reveal themselves to me, maybe, just maybe, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” doesn’t apply, especially when that person has, historically, used other Jews’ reluctance to be overtly and verbally contemptuous of the anti-Semitism they’ve encountered to literally kill us.
This is the dilemma of every person who belongs to a minority group. And as a more-or-less atheist of Jewish descent -as a person who, if I wanted, could deny my Jewish heritage altogether to make my life easier, and who, on the outside looking in, could possibly blame me- who is white and is read by the world as white, I have it easy. I could walk away from my Jewishness if I wanted to, and the only price I’d pay would be personal, unending guilt. But I’m also a woman, and I can’t walk away from that; no matter what else, I will always be a woman, and the world will always see me as a woman. If you’re black, if you’re Asian, if you’re Indian, if you’re indigenous, if you’re disabled, if you’re LGBTQIA, that’s how the world sees you, and it’s the world’s excuse for punishing you. The world punishes you for the things you just are. The things you didn’t ask to be, didn’t have a say in being, never had a choice about. Is it such a terrible thing to say, “I don’t want to keep being punished by the world for something I just am? Something I didn’t choose?”
Because, conservatives, that is what your “liberal friends” are saying. They are saying they can no longer, in good conscience, stand by and watch as you support a weak, insecure, senile, hate-filled man who not only supports the idea that people should be punished for what they are, but stirs those feelings in you. They are saying that this is not about politics, which are things like “should we raise taxes so the schools can be better funded?” or “should we install a light rail system in the city for the people who can’t afford cars?” They are saying that this is about morals. This is about them no longer having the ability to stay silent while you support a president who whips up racist frenzies at his rallies. This is about them no longer having the ability to excuse your constant excuses for him. This is about them no longer having the patience to keep having go-nowhere discussions with you. This is about them drawing a boundary with you, and having you continually run roughshod over that boundary in search of “answers” that you not only don’t want to hear, but violently, vociferously, reject, yet keep demanding more, more, more. This is them saying, “I can’t do this anymore, I have nothing more to give you, I have to take care of myself, and if that means cutting you out of my life because you refuse to respect my boundaries, well, this is goodbye. Peace be with you, shalom, live long and prosper, have a nice life.”
I am leaving the comments open, BUT. And I really need you to understand this. If you can look at everything I wrote above and still try to defend Trump or his supporters, then yes, I absolutely will block you. Why? Because I did the thing that you are not willing to do: I engaged with your opinions. I thought critically about them. I researched them. I thought more about them. I thought about the answers I would give. I researched my answers. I related all of this to my own life, and gave you a glimpse at my lived experience. I gave my opinion, and I defended it. It’s really not about your opinions, in and of themselves; loath as I am to admit it, you are entitled to your opinions, however racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, just filled with pure spite and hatred for anyone who isn’t you those opinions may be. BUT. If I can engage with your opinions, intelligently, logically, rationally, maturely, and offer a reasoned, logical, mature, and intelligent opposition, and all you can come back with is “but not all Trump supporters!” or “well whatabout…” then, from one adult to another, fuck right the hell off. Keep your hateful, hurtful opinions off my PB. Destroy yourself with your ignorance, but don’t ask me to stand by and watch you destroy others.
¹Do not kid yourselves, and don’t try to kid me: If Cheeto Benito gets another four years in office, he will not leave the White House
until he dies or is violently deposed.
Last updated June 14, 2020