Mind-mending road trip. Steve Martaindale
Hey, Deplorable! Yeah, Proud Trumper, I’m talking to you.
I have a few things to get off my chest and, since you’re now in charge, you’re on the receiving end. Being so close to the leader of the free world and all, you should be able to handle a little straight talk from a libtard like me.
Isn’t that one of the words you use? I’ve had so many sophomoric insults roll off my back the past several months that I’ve not kept up with the latest pejoratives. John Pavlovitz has an interesting take on “snowflake,” by the way.
Regardless, I’m one of those folks you’ve been making fun of because we’ve talked out loud about our feelings, about the difficulty in processing the idea of our country under the leadership of Donald Trump and his band of Deplorables. You said, among other things, to “just deal with it.” This is me dealing with it. Buckle up.
By the way, you don’t mind me calling you Deplorables, do you? After all, I’ve seen so many of you (“So many of you.” Look, I’m learning to use non-specific quantifiers like your leader; it’s much simpler than getting facts.) adopt the label as a badge of honor. More about that later.
Yes, I was crushed the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 9, when I saw that Trump would win the presidency. I had repeatedly stated that the American population was too smart to fall for his con, would not enter his hate parade, but here it was, staring me in the face, overwhelming evidence that I had severely overestimated the content of my country. Severely.
It was incredibly depressing.
I hear you; I understand you were not disappointed. It was quite the opposite for the Deplorables. They were thrilled to learn they were supported by “so many” people who could actually figure out how to cast a vote. As Garrison Keillor wrote, “The Trumpers had a whale of a good time, waving their signs, jeering at the media, beating up protesters, chanting ‘Lock her up.’”
Soon, I started hearing (continuing to this day) things like “get over it” and “accept it.” It reminded me of another Republican, Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams. During his 1990 campaign, which he lost to Ann Richards, he made what he considered a joke likening bad weather to the crime of rape: “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” Sounds like he would fit in with modern Republicans. Give him a call.
The real joke is current-day conservatives saying we should “accept” Trump’s minority win when they still haven’t come to grips with Barack Obama’s election eight years ago, the first of two times he won the electoral vote and – get this – the popular vote, too. Yeah, tell me again about how to be a noble loser.
So, I tried to wrap my brain around the idea that almost half of real American voters supported Trump in spite of his amazingly low-class record of public conduct, in spite of his campaign platform being little more than promising everything would be great if we just trust him, and in spite of him simply being a cartoon character of gross proportions vowing to make life miserable for those who do not fit his image of great, white America.
My attempts to mentally reconcile everything on that first post-election morning quickly indicated it was a futile mission in my current condition, so I decided it was imperative I do something. As I posted on Facebook:
My wife understands me, oftentimes better than I do.
Driving is what I like to do when my brain feels overloaded. People not familiar with open country roads might have a problem understanding that.
I headed south and soon considered going to the coast. Beach sitting is my favorite mind-mending activity. The desire to return home before dark kept me from going quite that far.
Avoiding larger highways, I took not-so-busy roads – a couple I had never driven on before – while trying to piece things together, including what role I might play during a Trump administration.
Driving between rice fields and cattle ranches, I thought about the fact these were the people who voted for Trump. I have known a lot of these folks. Many of them work hard and take care of one another. They’re not all deplorable, not overtly, anyway. I’d like to believe some of them – hopefully, many of them – were reeled in by his pledge to make things better and they just didn’t think about what that meant.
There has since been a fabulous article by Susan McWilliams in The Nation titled, “This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson.”
The article looks at Thompson’s embedded reporting in the 1960s with the Hell’s Angels, defined as “mostly working-class white men who felt, not incorrectly, that they had been relegated to the sewer of American society.” No longer fitting into a society that left them behind, they just teed off on the whole system. Sound familiar? I recommend the article whether you’re a deplorable, a regular conservative, a progressive or just someone who got stuck on this bus with no idea where it’s going.
Several aspects of Thompson’s Hell’s Angels and today’s Deplorables are discussed, including the rebellion against any experts and intellectuals.
Well before the election,I stumbled across a 2-year-old article addressing this point. Ray Williams wrote in Psychology Today about “Anti-Intellectualism and the ‘Dumbing Down’ of America.”
You will find many observations in there, including a famous quote from science fiction writer Isaac Asimov: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
Timely observation. We see it in those memes you pass around. We see it in the fake news stories you choose to believe. We particularly see it in the inane comments you make to them.
There is another observation I’ve made. Many of you obviously feel – and I’ve seen some openly state it – that your uninformed opinion is as good as an expert’s facts.
But I do applaud you for supporting the young entrepreneurs of Macedonia and other places who have discovered how easy it is to fleece gullible Deplorables. Since they probably didn’t share this story, you can watch it here – yep, no reading required!
Speaking of those fake pages and the general hate-everything-not-like-me sites, how do you keep up with them all? For a few years now, every time one of my friends shares one (or likes or comments and Facebook decides to mention it in my newsfeed) I promptly instruct FB to hide all future posts from that site.
How many times have I done that? I wish I could see a list of them, but it is a few hundred. And, yet, it seems y’all come up with another one every day or two. No wonder you don’t believe facts-based reporting when you get so-called news from “so many” sites that tell you it’s OK to fear and hate all Muslims, all Mexicans, all scientists, all blacks, all university professors, all professional journalists, etc.
Doubly sad is you do not realize how you’re being used. (Oops, sorry, I forgot “sad” is Trump’s favorite word to condemn something against which he cannot construct a meaningful objection.)
Allow me to link to one more general comment, posted recently by Seth Godin, about dumbing down media and entertainment to reach society’s shrinking requirements.
That’s enough talking about you for now; this is supposed to be about me.
My epiphany-seeking country drive the day after the election succeeded in settling my soul. OK, not really. About the only thing that came out of it was choosing to believe, in face of the lack of solid evidence, that the majority of Trump supporters are not really in favor of his oft-expressed views that totally fly in the face of the ideals upon which this country was built.
Should that not be true, should most of you *really* believe what he’s been peddling, then I’m not sure I can handle it. We would be on track to collapsing this empire at a much faster rate than anyone ever thought possible.
It remains my hope most of you were not really behind Trump as much as you were against Hillary Clinton. I understand that. I wasn’t for Hillary (though I long for the day we have a woman in the Oval Office) until it came down to being between her and Trump.
To be clear, I’m taking my readings from Facebook friends, most of whom align themselves with conservative politics. The true pity, which rips at my soul, is that a huge portion of them do so because they have been conditioned to believe the GOP owns all rights to Christianity.
I’m sorry, but I cannot align Trump’s positions or your conduct with the red letters in the Gospels. The teachings of Christ to which I’ve been exposed would not condone withholding medical care due to the inability to pay exorbitant fees, does not judge people by their skin or national origin or even religion … it holds that all the laws and prophets hang on two great commandments, to love God and to love thy neighbor as thyself. (Matthew 22:36-40)
I did observe these friends of mine were not Trump supporters in the beginning. At least they were not saying it out loud. I truly can cite only one friend who was overtly supporting Trump early in the Republican primary season. Plenty of them opposed Hillary, mind you, and several others aligned themselves with other candidates, but only one openly supported Trump.
The funny thing is that didn’t change much after the national conventions. Still, very few of my friends openly supported Trump, but they went in with all guns blazing against Hillary. Occasionally, I would see one of them challenged for seeming to support Trump and he or she would respond with disdain for Trump but hatred for Clinton.
Could it be they did not understand Trump – even though he was so undesirable that many leaders in his own party could not support him – would win if Hillary didn’t?
Yes, they understood, but what they were doing was positioning themselves to say, “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for her.” Heck, I bet they already had bumper stickers ready to print.
Just like the national pundits, they did not expect him to win. The problem is, protest votes by someone who does no research count just as much as deliberated, heart-felt ballots. The shame was that these symbolic votes ended up electing the most supremely unqualified candidate for president … ever.
So, do I forgive you for electing in Donald Trump even if that’s not what you expected to happen?
Sorry, no can do.
You got to display your righteous indignation. Now, we’re all doomed to pay a price for it.
I wish it were possible to believe you when you defend yourself against charges of racism and sexism, but the proof is in the pudding. You supported a guy who cannot seem to find enough ways to lower himself and is now dragging the nation down behind him. No, you must answer for that, as is bluntly stated in this letter.
As an aside, I cannot knock “protest votes.” I have voted third party at least twice in presidential races. (It’s too bad we’re locked into a two-party system. I wish people like those in the Green Party and the Libertarian Party could follow their consciences and still have a role to play. Such would more likely force us to work together rather than rely on strong-arm politics.) The difference was neither of those elections had a horribly deficient candidate for either of the two major parties, just two who failed to inspire me.
So now you’re stuck trying to defend the fact you helped elect as president a man who, in the weeks since, has repeatedly demonstrated how ill-equipped he is for the position. You scramble for a way to preserve a little respect.
“But,” you protest, “what’s so wrong with making America great again?”
This is me shaking my head. (courtesy photobucket.com)
The thing is, you’ve been lied to. Shocked?
America is great. America truly is. Maybe your life isn’t as great as it once was or maybe you mistakenly think it isn’t. That’s possible, but let us examine what has changed in recent years. Let’s look at why you may think this nation is not as great as it once was.
White males no longer run the country quite as absolutely as in the past. Even with minority winner Trump leading the charge of white supremacists, America is more diverse, more inclusive of all its citizens, than ever before.
Blacks have gradually gained more influence. A black man is president, for goodness’ sake! There is a cry for actual equality. That disturbs some of the people who feel they were responsible for America’s greatness, who think they have a God-given right to rule over all.
Furthermore, Latinos are growing in number and are gradually becoming more vocal in demanding their rights. They are tired of being suspected of being here illegally just because of accents or appearances.
Non-Christians want the same privileges as other Americans, to be able to worship how they wish in accordance with their First Amendment rights. Not only is that right facing challenge today, but many of them suffer from implications of being a terrorist, a charge based on their religion and maybe their dress or appearance.
The LGBTQ community has finally made serious social gains in recent years, such as securing the right to same-sex marriages. But members remain victims of broad-based hatred. I don’t see why the people who think they were responsible for America’s greatness feel so threatened by gays, but they apparently do.
These changes in America – the acquisition of more rights by “fringe groups” – have been carefully framed by Deplorables as possible reasons for the supposed declining state of the country. Make no mistake, “making America great again” is about nothing more than putting whites back into seats of power, returning minorities to a state of submission, and kicking out of the country people who are not like you and your group.
That is making America meaner, weaker and less desirable … there is nothing great about it.
We have seen, with the rise of Trumpism, an increase in people attempting to intimidate, ridicule and persecute blacks, Latinos, Muslims, gays, etc., because, understandably, their leader does.
If there is any validity to your belief that improving the lives of oppressed people has a detrimental effect on you, then therein lies your problem. If that indeed happens, it verifies that whites have been living a privileged life. We have always had the best. If we’re losing a little of that, it’s so other people (living, breathing people!) can see an improvement. Talk about “get over it.”
Since the election, I’ve talked with friends who are genuinely concerned they will suffer under the Trump administration, not only by direct federal policy but indirectly by Deplorables who feel empowered by the incoming occupant of the White House.
First is two women who have been a couple for decades, their relationship tracing back to their teen years. One of them served in the military. At some point, I’m not sure when, they were able to marry. They also raised a fine son who has now given them beautiful grandchildren.
However … they still decline to hold hands in public. They purposely keep a low profile as a couple. Why? Because these wonderful women are frightened. And now, even though things improved the last few years, they fully expect fresh oppression from people who see them as different and, therefore, a threat.
Second is a man who surprised me. I knew he came from Mexican lineage though he’s a native Texan. I don’t think his background is entirely Mexican, though.
His concern, as he shared it with me, wasn’t linked to his ethnic heritage but his appearance. He’s tall, has black hair, a beard and darkish complexion.
“I’m afraid someone will assume me as a terrorist.”
It clicked as soon as the words came out. Yeah, I could see that happening.
Third is a gay man who has had quite enough oppression, thank you very much. He has seen the days when he and/or friends were denied service by businesses because of sexual orientation. He helped bury friends who died of a disease that was perhaps too long ignored because it was thought only to affect members of the gay community.
Life had been looking up recently, but he’s preparing for it to come crashing down again and he has no desire to revisit those days. I think he’s honestly considering moving overseas – where he has spent a lot of time due to his work and where he has plenty of friends – in an effort to protect himself and preserve his individual rights.
And what really disgusts me are the Deplorables who will claim a victory when they drive my dear friend out of the country.
This might be the point where you tell me, “If you don’t like it here, just leave already.”
Mall in Castries, Saint Lucia. Steve Martaindale
Ha, ha, I’m kidding; you actually said that about three paragraphs in.
That’s what you want, for all of us who care about society as a whole to leave you to your own white, pseudo-Christian, male-dominated, might-makes-right world.
It’s tempting, believe me, but y’all could never agree on which corner of the world to withdraw to, you’d end up obliterating what area we left to you, and, let’s face it, there’s no stinkin’ way you get the entire country. Remember, you’re still very much the minority … just louder and more obnoxious.
Besides, I love this country, too, though not quite the way I did when I was younger.
I remember one time in particular, it was probably during junior high, when I received many pats on the back for my display of patriotism.
My dad owned a small grocery store and we sold a few lunch meats and cheeses, which we sliced ourselves. That meant we always had a roll of white butcher paper that we used to wrap such things. Butcher paper also made great signs and we always saved end rolls to give to school groups and classes for projects.
I remember making two red-white-and-blue signs that my dad placed in the front window. Their messages were something like “USA, Love it or Leave it” and “America, Right or Wrong.”
It was the blind obedience of youth, something shared by Deplorables of all ages, that guided such a sentiment. It’s one that cannot fathom our country making a mistake.
Because … ’Merica!
(This is where one could mention slavery, the Civil War, Japanese-American internment camps, denying women a vote, segregation, New Coke and so on, but I won’t do that.)
To you – as to 13-year-old me – patriotism meant waving the flag, reciting the pledge of allegiance and attempting to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” By those standards, it’s remarkably easy to be a patriot. Any robot can do it. Oh, one more thing … it seems today many people believe being a good patriot involves deriding others who exercise constitutionally protected rights to disagree with the status quo.
Yeah, you know where I’m going with this.
If you were a true patriot, if you really practiced the U.S. Constitution, if you believed in the First Amendment the way you do the Second, you would support Colin Kaepernick’s right to sit out the national anthem, regardless his reason.
Furthermore, if you were serious about the pledge – “with liberty and justice for all” – you would be concerned about his complaint that too many blacks are denied basic rights and are needlessly gunned down by bad cops. (Note: doing so does not preclude you from being equally upset about cops killed by bad people.)
But, no. Deplorables called for all kinds of illegal retribution against the San Francisco quarterback. And they said they want to boycott the NFL because it won’t take a step to deny Kaepernick his legal rights. Hey, boycott anything you want, but when you’re doing so in an effort to persecute someone for being different from you, maybe for bringing to your attention that “The Star-Spangled Banner” has deeply racist lyrics … well, that’s deplorable.
The truth is, the United States of America is not perfect. There are many good things we do very well and some at which we are the best (and I’m not just talking basketball), but there are things we screw up. At some things, we’re just so-so. One of our great offenses is operating on the assumption that we’re the best at everything. Another is the idea that every other place in the world is a miserable spot to live. It’s something I touched on a couple of years ago.
And now Dan Rather has similar comments you can read here. It won’t hurt my feelings if you point out he did a better job than I did.
Like Rather, I still love my country. How much? Enough to stand up to those who are trying to redefine it as a narrow-minded, oppressive, ill-informed shadow of its former grand self.
I love America enough to try to make it good for everyone, not simply great for some at the expense of others. Indeed, to make it better.
I love the diversity of the United States. From mountains to plains. From Alaska’s North Slope to Hawaii’s Mauna Loa. From Maine lobsters to Pacific salmon. From those trying to preserve ancient Native American traditions to those protecting their southern heritage to those bringing in new customs. From those who stick at home and eventually take over the family farm to those who strike out to explore new ways of life in different parts of the country. From those who wash dishes to those who build restaurants.
I love our nation’s can-do attitude. Walking on the moon, building the Panama Canal, inhabiting the South Pole … we love a good challenge.
But, you know what? I love other countries, too.
I am by no means the best-traveled person, but I’ve been around more than most, including visiting all seven continents and some 20 countries.
Even more instructive might be the people with whom I’ve worked the past four summers at Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and a New York theme park. Fortunately, I’ve gotten to know people from the likes of Taiwan, Romania, Ukraine, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Thailand, Jamaica, Canada and China.
With little exception, if any, these folks love their homelands. They want us to visit. They want us to better understand them as they have endeavored to better understand us.
So, yes, I love my country, but it doesn’t have to be the best at everything. I just want Americans to set a good example of loving, supporting and learning from others. And quit using warfare in a (usually fruitless) attempt to solve problems. Yeah, that would be good, too.
Perhaps the most outrageous claims I’ve heard from Deplorables (Aren’t you getting tired of that yet? We’ll address it soon.) have been in the vein of objections to charges of racism.
Let me make it simple. Just because you have black friends or co-workers does not mean you’re not racist. Just because there are blacks in the Republican Party or even in your movement does not mean you’re not racist. Most importantly, saying you’re not a racist does not mean you’re not racist. What you say and do … that’s what identifies you as racist.
I grew up in deep East Texas – behind what some refer to as the Pine Curtain because it has been, in many ways, an area much unto itself – where Trump drew considerably better than 70 percent of the vote.
Pine Tree Elementary School was first integrated when I was in the sixth grade, 1966-67. I believe it occurred districtwide at the same time, but I’ve not been able to confirm that.
Longview ISD, adjacent to Pine Tree, started phasing in integration in 1963 as an option. However, it wasn’t until 1970, under court order, that Longview began planning for universal racial integration for the 1970-71 school year. That preceded an event that put Longview into national headlines.
On July 4, 1970, two men placed 27 nitroglycerine explosives underneath buses stationed at the school district maintenance yard, destroying or damaging 33 of the 36-bus fleet.
I was 15 years old and recall that many locals considered the destructive, cowardly acts to be heroic.
This was the world I grew up in, so I am accustomed to seeing whites toy with beliefs blacks are inferior while putting on a front that we’re all equal and treated fairly.
It was not true in 1970 and still isn’t today. What remains true, from the Civil War to Trumpism, is how good white America is at forgetting, a concept explained thoroughly in this article on CNN.
But we must continue to have hope – as I did when a teen-ager – that our nation can eventually rise above racial discord. An article in Paste magazine, “This Election Was All About Race, But Not the Way We Thought,” is an opinion piece that will probably just upset Deplorables, particularly since it’s written by a European, but I find the final paragraph highly encouraging.
Brogan Morris sees this as the last, desperate act of white power in the United States, particularly if Trump and his followers play their hands as they’ve promised or suggested they will. He says the traditional minorities, after four years of increased intolerance and backed by “an ever-expanding band of predominantly liberal younger voters,” will exact vengeance in 2020. He ends the piece thusly:
“The stats show that Trump’s America does not represent a vision of things to come. This is a sad, scary time, but we are not seeing the future of the USA here – we’re witnessing its past thrashing in the death throes.”
Of course, the racial narrative took on greater prominence with the election of the nation’s first black president in 2008.
President Barack Obama
To hear what Deplorables say publicly, President Obama’s race has nothing to do with the fact they obstruct everything he’s tried to accomplish. This 2013 article, admittedly with a liberal slant to its presentation, outlines 24 policies Republicans supported before turning against them because Obama supported them.
Maybe they just don’t like the fact his administration led us out of a recession, is cleaning up the environment, has seen civil rights bestowed on more people and has led millions of people toward better health care.
Or maybe they just don’t like him because he’s so articulate and gracious. Or because his approval ratings – most recently at 55 percent – are so high. Or because he is respected around the globe.
Regardless, in addition to misrepresenting history as mentioned above, the GOP and Trump have built an entire industry around simply bashing liberals, especially the Obamas and Clintons. This is nothing new. Remember when the label “liberal” was represented by, simply, “the L word” to indicate that the word was too vile to even say?
If you’re having trouble remembering how Republicans have prospered with campaigns of little more than hatred, check out “Conservatism turned toxic: Donald Trump’s fan base has no actual ideology, just a nihilistic hatred of liberals” on Salon for a refresher.
As was predicted by just about everybody, Trump’s loud and despicable behavior has indeed emboldened his weak-minded followers.
A recent example received a lot of exposure due to the fact the perpetrator is an elected official – a school board member, no less – who also is the former co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign and the Republican nominee for governor of New York in 2010.
Carl Paladino of Buffalo responded to a questionnaire from artvoice.com that asked what people wanted to see happen in 2017. Innocent enough, right?
He responded he wants to see President Obama catch “mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford.” He went on to foresee Obama dying before “his trial” (maybe charged with being a liberal?) and buried in a cow pasture. He also wished to see the president’s senior advisor, Valerie Jarret, decapitated by a “Jihady.”
In response to the question asking what he would like to see less of in 2017, he responded, “Michelle Obama,” and added, “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”
Does this shock you? It shouldn’t because we’ve been hearing things like that from Deplorables for eight years now.
In fact, about the same time this story broke, I encountered similar, though even less eloquent, comments from two friends on Facebook. To be fair, both were comments to others’ postings, the type that Facebook, in its wisdom, figures I might want to see. However, they were in line with similar comments my friends have made numerous times and were not a surprise to me.
For clarity, my policy on Facebook is to not unfriend people I know just because of their opinions. There are many people who hold different opinions but we can still get along. I have unfriended only one person, whom I did not know well, the moment he tagged one of my family members in an attack on me.
Back to my two friends.
The first fellow said Obama (actually, he likes to create slurs such as “Obummer,” you know, like Trump does) should be beaten with a shovel until he comes to see the light. Yeah, he’s suggesting a near-death whooping for our president.
That’s not out of character for this friend, by the way. He’s a bear of a man who made a living in a rough-and-tumble world. He also said he hopes to see our country come to the point where arguments can be settled by fisticuffs instead of talking, a position examined by Peter Daou in this Twitterstorm.
The second guy has taken to calling me a socialist for supporting Bernie Sanders because he refuses to consider the differences between Marxist socialism and democratic socialism.
He included in his comment to someone else’s post a reference to Michelle Obama being an ape. Or maybe he said gorilla.
Why would someone do that? Can you recall any first lady being subjected to name calling the way Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton have been? Honestly, I cannot remember any other first lady ever being called names. Nancy Reagan is the only other one in my memory who was disliked, but she suffered none of the general hatred we’ve seen for Michelle and Hillary.
I’ve been linking to a lot of articles to support and expound on what I’m writing here and I’m doing so fully aware that Deplorables consider the “lamestream media” – another cute way to bash those with whom you disagree when you cannot put together a reasonable and fact-based argument – to be pawns of the liberal elite.
You think you have problems with the mainstream media? Take a number.
As a small stream journalist myself, I have been tormented from early in the campaign watching Trump manipulate the major media into providing him a free platform from which he spread his venom.
Why did they? I believe they thought they were using him. He was a novelty, a clown, a sideshow attraction and he attracted readers and viewers. They continued to give him unheard of exposure, thinking his run was about to end at any time, as it should have.
But then, as he built lies upon ridiculous comments on top of other lies and people started believing them and clinging to them … the media delayed until too late to start calling him on it.
Then, when they finally did, Trump said they were against him and rallied his troops around the assertion the mass media had an agenda and were out to get him. And then they reported on that, giving him even more exposure.
And he lapped it up, all the while whipping his minions into a hate-filled frenzy, bolstered by the fake news sites that were everywhere.
Another realization came to me during my day-long drive the day after the election.
When I worked in a newsroom, I heard people complain about the “liberal media,” knowing fully that our newspaper was nothing of the sort. Not politically, that is. Consider the number of newspapers that endorsed Clinton who had not endorsed a Democrat ever, or not endorsed a Democrat in 50 years.
Here’s my epiphany.
You’re correct. Most journalists really are much more liberal than are Deplorables. It’s not just because they are, on average, better educated but because they are exposed to a broader cross-section of the real world.
There are exceptions to both, of course, but many journalists often find themselves at various times reporting on the people who are feared by Trump and his followers.
These reporters talk face-to-face with immigrants, indigents, people of various religious beliefs, of varying backgrounds, etc. They get to know them to some degree and listen to their stories. An interview I did in 1980 with four Iranian students at Blinn College during the Iran hostage crisis opened my eyes to how international relations mean different things to different people.
On the other hand, these same journalists will interview and get to know some of the well-heeled members of the community and interact with mayors, judges, cops and even congresspeople. And many of these members of the media realize, on a personal level, the unemployed Muslim immigrant is of no less value than a wealthy woman hosting a fund-raising event.
So, when that reporter speaks up for those who have little voice in a community, some privileged people take offense and label the messenger as horrifically as they can imagine … a liberal.
(On a side note, those liberal reporters are also more likely to use a term such as “congresspeople” and that in itself will throw many right-wingers into a fit of rage against what they will call political correctness. Well, you know why some people use PC terms? Because they are correct. Period. And also because such words are not filled with hatred and judgment.)
And that brings us to something not politically correct …
So, let’s examine this label of “deplorable” that you have so fervently adopted. I swear, I wouldn’t have continued to apply it to you in this article had you not wrapped your arms around it so lovingly. Heck, you’ve even arranged both a “Deploraball” and a “Deplorables Inaugural Ball” following the inauguration.
However, from the day it started, I have wanted to know why you latched onto it.
See, I even provided a link to a cute T-shirt you can wear. After all, it’s good for society to know who you are. (Disclaimer: I might make a few cents if you buy anything using any product links on my site.)
First, let’s make sure we’re talking about the actual events and not what you’ve imagined or what you were told by your Macedonian “news” reporters or what you heard from your leader.
At a Sept. 9 fundraiser, Hillary Clinton said:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their Websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
Y’all jumped all over that and quickly claimed to be proud members of the basket of deplorables. Yeah, you really stuck it to Hillary, who, by the way, did come back to express regret for saying “half” of you belonged in the basket. I think she was saying it was probably a smaller percentage.
So, here is what I want to know from you Deplorables.
Clinton did not just throw the term to the wind; she defined it. In her use of the name, she described them as, “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.”
Here’s the question.
Which are you?
You’re a proud Deplorable; are you racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic or a combination of more than one?
Really, considering the way she used and defined the term, for you to grab it and put it on your clothing, to create memes embracing it, to change your online identity to reflect it … which are you?
What breaks my heart is the realization some of you read through those options, rejected the first two and then said, “I don’t have any problem with the last three.”
Then, some of you yelled at your screen, “What about those nasty women?”
Excellent question. Oh, and look … even they made T-shirts.
It wasn’t nearly as big a hit, but quite a few female supporters of Hillary latched onto the label nasty woman following the third and final excuse for a debate.
You may remember there was a news item at the time that Trump has paid no income taxes for quite a few years. Of course, that had been mentioned in the debate.
There came a question concerning funding for Social Security and Medicare. Said the Democratic nominee:
“Well, Chris, I am on record as saying we need to put more money into the Social Security Trust fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up as will Donald’s assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it, but what we want to do is –“
At that point, Trump interrupted her with, “Such a nasty woman.”
Earlier in the debate, of course, was another Trumpism when he said, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” That comment drew laughter from the audience, probably even from his own followers because they, too, would find that funny.
But he considered Clinton “nasty” for pointing out his track record for working around not paying taxes even though he’s so wealthy. Of course, Clinton supporters didn’t mind being associated with that.
What about you? Did it grate on you that I continued to refer to you as a Deplorable? Take hold of the situation. If the Deplorables tag bothers you, rise above it. Don’t do deplorable things. Take care of others. Quit thinking about yourself.
If you still need to hate somebody, hate me. I’m the one who dumped all of this on you. Take it out on me and not some poor soul struggling to get through the day. Not someone whose only offense is to look different, worship differently or love differently.
I know I’m running a risk of losing friends here, maybe some that go back 50-plus years, but I cannot abide sitting quietly while others are being trampled on and our republic seems headed toward a cliff.
Yeah, I believe I’m beginning to deal with it.
Driving it home
The day after my drive, a friend posted on my Facebook page, “I’m going out today to see my country up close and personal. I know the land I love is still out there. Hang in there, Steve.”
My reply, in part: “As for me personally, I’ll be all right. As a retired, white, Christian, native-born American male, the system works for me. It’s other people I’m concerned about.”
That’s where we part ways, the Deplorables and I. They want to punish other people, even children fleeing devastation. I want those same people – along with the rest of us – to have opportunities, an education, health care and respect.
I want to continue on a path toward more renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. I want a government that will not send troops into battle over relatively insignificant concerns but will wear out a negotiation table to come to a peaceful agreement.
I want us to be able to openly evaluate how we do things without retreating into a hole while assuming the way we’ve done them before is the only way just because we did it that way before. ’Merica!
I want fewer people sent to jails for minor offenses. Almost everybody today seems to accept that marijuana is not the devil weed we’d been told. The waste of money and people pursuing that policy is killing us.
While a woman’s right to making decisions about her body are paramount, I greatly desire to see fewer abortions and feel that can best be achieved by limiting unwanted pregnancies through education and availability of contraception.
I would like to see public education return to teaching needed skills and knowledge, including vocational, without worrying about pointless standardized tests. And take care of kids with special needs, including those needing a good meal. Also, please fix it so students can get a college education without going deeply into debt.
And, if it’s not too much to ask, I’d like a good, low-calorie pepperoni pizza.
There you go, my deplorable and not deplorable friends. That’s my whining.
Oh, something else.
All the drama after the election has taken quite a toll on my writing. There have been a couple of reasons for that.
One, many days I just didn’t feel like it. Yes, I’ve really been that depressed. Deal with it.
Two, I’ve spent a lot time reading, writing, rewriting and deleting many things that led to this.
As a result, this site has suffered much inattention and my next book, “The Reporter and the Apricot,” is seriously lagging behind its unofficial schedule.
We are leaving for the rest of January on a trip to Thailand and I expect to be able to post some while there. I hope to craft a new Expedition page after we’re done. Through this – and definitely afterward – I’ll be back to posting here. And working on the next book.
There is one last thing I’m doing for my mental stability. Comment on this or my Facebook posts as you wish, but don’t expect replies from me. In fact, it’s possible I will not read them all. You see, it really does torture my soft heart to see what some old friends have said. I do care about you and I care way too much about what you think of me. A weakness, I know, but one I’m addressing.
Now go, show kindness, love one another, do no harm, be a friend.
If you’re interested
Among other things, I spent more than 20 years working at various small daily newspapers around Texas as a reporter and editor and also wrote a self-syndicated weekly column for 19 years. Currently, I have written and published five books, the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series.
With well over 1,000 columns and editorials over the years, my blog could not be limited to just talking about my novels. I tend to write about everyday activities, memories, whatever tickles my fancy. Plus, as you know if you’ve read any of the above, I have recently become more vocal about politics.
Here’s how to keep up with what I’m doing. You can follow this blog by entering an e-mail in the space at the top of the column on your right. (Some have found it at the bottom on their phones.) You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
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