I don’t hate anyone. I’ll leave that to Trump supporters screaming “BUILD THAT WALL!” and “LOCK HER UP!” Notice I didn’t say Trump, but Trump supporters. As they are now learning (perhaps – it’s not a habit for them), none of that is going to happen. They were conned, in one of the most elaborate yet also one of the most simplistic cons in history. According to Trump himself and his closest aides:
- There will be no wall.
- Trump: “The Clintons are good people.” So no, she won’t be locked up. I mean, on what charge?
- “Criminal” (felonious) aliens MAY be deported. But that’s already standing policy. We’ll see if they dedicate the resources.
- Trump: “Marriage equality is the law of the land, we can’t change that.”
- Trump’s transition team is chock full of Washington insiders, GOP establishment figures, lobbyists, and other assorted “elites”. Call it revenge of the swamp creatures.
And so on. Sometimes, though, it takes a simpleton to know a simpleton. Trump may be ignorant (he has said himself that he has never read history), but he’s smart in a way that your standard con man is smart – he “knows people”, he says, and he really does. He knows what motivates the least thoughtful of people – hatred and a desire for revenge against those who have “kept them down.” It’s the populist answer to the problems of the poor since the advent of populism: Someone is grabbing all the money you deserve. There can be no other (complex) answer.
As Trump himself famously said, channeling P.T. Barnum: “I love the poorly educated.”
I saw it early on, but the press seems to have missed it. Trump’s campaign was a WWE match writ large, a massive long-term pre-bout trash talk. Say anything! Say you’re going to kill your opponent, mash them into dust! Because The Undertaker is evil, folks, he’s evil! He wants to eat your puppies, I tell you, I know this! And so on. So used to getting riled up about Steve Austin or Dandy Dan or whoever, these same crowds were ripe to explode in a mushroom cloud of hate for….for who? Who do we hate, Donald? Who’s doing this to us?
Donald had two answers, both deftly crafted to lay his path to victory: 1 – Hate the elites. They’re keeping you down. They’re stealing all the money, they rig all the elections – they are making fools of you. To this end, he made a tool of the press corps by “caging” them at his events, then directing the crowd to spew their hatred at these fancy-pants elitists with their nice clothes and expensive haircuts. And 2 – who is the most elite of the elites? Hillary Clinton, of course. She can commit crimes at will – she murdered Vince Foster after all! – and she walks away Scott free. Just like Bill and his serial sexual assaults (note: none proven). She sold out the brave Americans at Benghazi – it’s in the emails! – but you won’t see her prosecuted, because the whole system is rigged.
Donald could not have been more surprised – and elated – when FBI director James Comey swept in during the last week of the election and raised the specter of “treasonous emails” once again, mere days before the election, in violation of Justice Department policy not to tilt the election with hearsay or conjecture (and possibly in violation of the Hatch Act – but law is relative now, as the Senate showed us by ignoring its duty under the Constitution to hold hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee). But the real clincher came on election eve, when Comey again violated the protocols of his office and said that – whoops – those emails are OK, they don’t implicate Clinton after all. Never mind.
Could Trump have asked for a more spot-on indictment of the “rigged” system and the untouchable elites? Trump was quick to exploit this news, asking his now-rabid crowds (who were anticipating “the steal”) “how could they have possibly gone through 650,000 emails in a few days? Rigged, folks, all rigged.”
Of course, modern computing resources can search 650,000 emails for numerous sets of keywords (such as “Hillary Clinton”) in minutes, even seconds. But of course Trump supporters in Appalachia (and Western Nebraska) don’t know that, don’t understand that. But Trump knew all too well what these people don’t understand.
I’ll leave a smaller but significant portion of the hatred to anarchists and extremist faux liberals, who also got caught up in the baseless anti-Hillary, anti “rigged establishment” hysteria, people like Susan Sarandon and assorted Bernie Sanders fanatics dripping with white privilege – some of these being former Facebook “friends” of mine. They at least should have the critical thinking skills necessary to put 2 and 2 together to get 4. To wit: if the system was rigged by the “crooked” Bernie-hating DNC, why didn’t Hillary win?
I did not unfriend the haters because I hate them, or even dislike them. As I said, I’m unfamiliar with hate as an emotion. I’m like Spock on that one. I understand myself, and therefore I know that to hate them is to hate something in me, not in them – motivations of baseless hate are due to some deficiency of empathy, a kind of personality disorder – an inability to see the world through the eyes of those fellow humans considered “others” – not “one of us” (and probably born in Kenya – that birth certificate is phony).
I unfriended them for the simple reason that I am no friend to haters, and it’s better to be honest about that. I have nothing in common with these people. I don’t base judgments on hate, and I’m not a fanatic blind to facts that don’t fit my preconceived, hate-based agenda. I have to believe they would not want me as a friend either, because I won’t – I will never – just “accept” the fact that the voters of this country put a self-avowed sexual predator in the White House. A man who cheated on each wife with the next one, who has said it’s time to “trade up” when a wife hits age 35. A man who defrauded the ignorant at “Trump University”, who cheats his business partners, who stiffs his contractors, and who brags about all of it. A man who mocks the disabled, who got angry at a baby, who is obsessed with demeaning women while simultaneously horrified at their bodily fluids (or their “whatever”).
They elected to lead them a man with no honor, no compassion, no empathy – a man who is no man at all.
I’ve been thinking of my father. He was not from privilege, he was a child of immigrants’ children, one of nine. His parents had accents. Like all of us, my dad had his faults. But he also had honor, and grit, and perseverance. There was no money for college, so he worked hard and got an appointment to West Point. He graduated (most drop out) and was soon serving two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he watched his classmates die in a war he had no stake in. But it wasn’t about him. It was about something higher, a higher honor he had dedicated his life to preserving. It was about the motto of West Point – “Duty. Honor. Country.”
My father did not teach me that much – I’m sure he figured I’d be tougher after sorting life out on my own, making my mistakes. And I’ve made plenty. But I remember one thing he taught me: that honor is worth preserving. That a man with no honor is not a man at all. That the only ones less deserving of consideration than a dishonorable man are those who would blindly follow him.
So I know I’m a Facebook nobody (now even more so) and I like it fine that way. I have no brand to build, and ironically, perhaps, some of my best friends want nothing to do with Facebook for reasons I’m understanding more each day. I don’t “count” friends, I count “on” them. Would I ever count on someone who based their most precious instrument in this democracy – their vote – on hatred or a desire for witless anarchy? No. Do I want anything to do with them? No. I do not wish them ill – I do not want to think of them at all.