It’s complicated

There is a lot of soul-searching going on trying to understand how Trump is now President Trump. This post gives my understanding of what happened. Take it for what it’s worth; mainly nothing as I am the embodiment of inconsequential. Warning: just words, no pictures.

Yesterday I wrote in anger and frustration and likely insulted a few friends and family members by calling them idiots. I’m not here to take any of it back. That anger and frustration still simmer.

Yesterday I also had a discussion of sorts. No, it was not a discussion, nor an exchange of ideas. Rather, it was yet another example as to the futility of trying to inform people who, in their mind, *know* they have everything figured out.

The particular thing they have figured out? The whole of Trump’s supporters, people who voted for Trump, did so because they are racists. I called the person on it, but to no avail. But, it got better.

Because I did not agree with her, I too was racist. Yup. That was the gist of it. The mere fact that I did not abide by her understanding and world view made me an automatic part of her world view.

Now, let me be clear. If you read my previous post, you will see I quote a couple of passages by John Scalzi. In it, he not only calls Trump a racist and misogynist, but also his supporters. I presented the whole quote, but it does not mean I agree with every word, and I probably should have said that. Today, Scalzi has another post explaining his reasoning, and I will get to that later on.

Let me be even clearer . . . I stand by my assessment Trump’s voters were idiots, and I will explain why below, but I do not agree they, en masse, are racist, misogynist, xenophobes. Trump is the racist, misogynist, xenophobe.

His voters? . . .  likely, some of the voters are racist, others are misogynists, and others are xenophobes. Some, like Trump, are all three. But, I contend, that’s not the totality of his voters or even the majority of his voters and to casually dismiss a whole host of issues associated with this monumental screw-up and chalk it all up to racism is to fall into the same trap that the Democrats and Hillary dug for themselves.

I argued — and I think I stand on solid ground — that the Trump constituency encompassed many sets of social/political stances and what they had in common was that they felt Hillary, Liberals, and the Democratic party in general, dismissed them. In a monumental political blunder, Hillary said as much and gave her opponent a soundbite he would use to reinforce the idea that Democrats were elitist snobs (which, sadly, they often are).

To be fair, in her second part of that little speech, she correctly identifies the genuine problems and concerns facing the Middle Class. She should have led with that.

I wrote about the middle class before, touching on why someone might support Trump over Hillary. That post contains links most people did not click. Basically, the middle class has been losing ground for a long time now (beginning with NAFTA), and while occasionally politicians toss them a few moments of attention, they, the middle class, are generally of little interest to either of the parties. They, ostensibly a majority, feel no less disenfranchised, rightly or wrongly, than any of the minority groups. This large group, and yes, they are primarily white, are still a formidable force in any election and Hillary’s tactical blunder cost her. And, yes, the media was complicit in setting that up.

Now, it’s a valid argument to say those voters voted in support of racism, misogynism, and homophobia. There’s no getting around that conclusion, but it’s not that simple. Still, Trump is all that and more, and that’s why I used the word idiots.

I can defend my choice of the word “idiots” as well as explain why it’s not that simple.

There have always been single issue voters, and gun owners and religious folks are two of the most consistent and most reliable when it comes to their voting.

1)  A large number of gun owners are pretty rabid about their guns. Full disclosure: I am what most people might call a gun nut. It is well documented that many gun owners are single issue voters. Just guns, no racism required. Are there racist gun owners? I am sure of it, but for most gun owners, guns are still the primary concern and FoxNews slimetards and a few other shrill voices constantly stir fears that “they” are coming to take the guns from law-abiding gun owners. That’s not a hard sell since many vocal liberals and Democrat politicians are more than happy to denigrate gun owners and yell about the evils of guns and especially gun owners.

2) Then, there is religion. What can I say that I’ve not said before; a large portion, and note I’m careful not to say “all”, of the Republican party anchor their whole existence for living on superstition and the wet dream of a bunch of greedy people with little or no scruples (as witnessed in this election). That portion, again spurred by the FoxNews slimetards, has been sold the idea Christians and Christianity are under attack, that soon it will be illegal to be a Christian in America, that Hillary herself plans on making money by killing babies and selling their body parts. Stay with me here; you think I’m speaking in hyperboles but that is a grave mistake to make.

2a) The religious also see, without the need to be told, that allowances are made for certain other religions while at the same time they see some of what they think are their rights as under attack. This, unfortunately, is easily exploited by the FN slimetards because Liberals and Democrats appear to be bending themselves into pretzels as they not only avoid any criticism if Islam, but go the step further in attacking anyone who even questions the doctrine or the actions of its adherents. I’m looking at you, Ben Affleck.

There! You have three groups that in any way you want to slice it feel they have no voice in the Democratic party and in Hillary in particular. Heck, I might as well throw in the press as not being overly friendly to their concerns. No need for racism, although, yes, there are racists in all those groups.

The reason they are idiots is because:

1) Plenty of reasoned voices in the gun community correctly identify the near impossibility of gun confiscation or ammunition confiscation or both. That is not to say there aren’t unreasonable pressures on gun owners (talk to me about it or read my posts on the subject), but if you are in a panic thinking either the police or the army is coming to your home to rip your guns from your warm shaky hands, you border on being delusional. Now, Trump? He might actually do that. It’s what bullies do. Hence, idiots.

2) Plenty of reasoned voices correctly identify these so-called “attacks” on Christians are little more than a movement toward civility, compassion, and granting the same right to others that Christians take for granted — the very foundation of the very Constitution Christians profess to love oh, so much. Plenty of reasoned voices discuss the issue of abortion and the complicated history of it both in the religious and secular community, and anyone with half a brain can draw a direct line tying the abortion issue with a moronic insistence within the Christian community that sex is wrong, kids should not be educated in it, and god forbid that we should provide birth control. Side note: to their credit, pregnancies in teens is down . . . probably because they find other ways to have sex. I will leave that to your imagination, but it’s not difficult to figure out, and before you claim “no, no, they are not having sex”, note the rise of STDs.  But none of that matters. What does matter is that the Constitution is anchored in personal freedom and the security of that freedom from the encroachment of others, including the government. You may hold to your god’s law as superseding the Constitution, but if that’s the case, don’t call yourself a patriot, or even an American. Call yourself an idiot because if you are the one who has to defend your god, then your god ain’t worth spit. You tell him so and have it come down and talk to me.

2a) Here, the religious have a somewhat legitimate gripe . . . except, Christians easily dismiss the actions of “radical Christians” by labeling them as not “true Christians” even as they insist all Muslims are to blame for every act committed in the name of Islam. Can you see why I think they are idiots? Yes, we have a problem with Islam, a religion still stuck in the Middle Ages, but the same can be said for Christianity where there are people who still believe in witches and demonic possession and are willing to let their children die because they believe medical attention is “unclean.” Recognize that there are moderate Muslims, recognize that most people are no different than you are, recognize that the long-term answer is always inclusion. Yes, you have some legitimacy to your gripes, but still . . . Trump. Hence, idiots.

I’ve left out the same thing Democrats ignored . . . the economic plight of the Middle Class, something that I think many ignorantly still confuse and interchange with the convenient, dismissive, and racially charged shortcut of White Privilege.

I believed earlier this year, and I still do, that a significant number of Trump voters fall into this category; they don’t see their future written in the pages of this brave new world. I’m talking about an economic future, and frankly, neither do I (meaning I also don’t see their economic future doing anything but getting bleaker) and hence I am scared.

. . . and I call them idiots because Trump has not offered up anything tangible that will alleviate their economic concerns. I may be wrong. Maybe he will pull a miracle out of his orange-tinged ass, so maybe these voters are only provisional idiots. Call them idiots on probation.

So, there’s my defense of my use of the word idiots . . . but, what should these idiots have done? Well, the answer lies not in what they should have done this past Tuesday; by then the die was cast, as they say, and many felt they had no other choice.

No, the answer goes back many months, if not years. They should have informed themselves a bit better and focused on tangible and realistic answers that are inclusive of everybody’s concerns, not just their own. They should have pressured for candidates that have more than glib substanceless slogans. They should have been involved in the political process not with an eye to partisanship, but cooperation.

“But, but . . . the other side does not do that!” 

*Sigh* . . . I know . . . they too, are idiots.

This brings me back to the original discussion. While all racists are idiots, not all idiots are racists. I mentioned Scalzi above and while most have not clicked on the link, I’ll give you the short version of his argument as to why Trump voters — all Trump voters — voted in support of racism and misogyny and homophobia.

It goes something like this and remember, this is his logic, not mine (and I’m paraphrasing; if you want the whole argument, the link is above):

Say you want HBO, but to get HBO you also need to subscribe to Cinemax because they come in a package. Whether you like it or not, you are a subscriber to Cinemax. It’s right there in black and white. Now, substitute any reason you have for HBO and substitute racism and misogyny and homophobia for Cinemax. Ergo, Q.E.D. Trump voters support and subscribe to racism and misogyny and homophobia.

I was surprised at this piece. Scalzi is usually better than that and he has often affected the way I think with insightful pieces about a variety of social and political subjects. Here, however, I think he is either purposefully naive and perhaps purposefully misleading.

Let me rewrite the above, Dispersifying it:

Say you want HBO, but to get HBO you also need to subscribe to Cinemax because they come in a package. But, more than that, say you need the Internet hookup and it too is only available in a package. You need the Internet to get jobs, you need it to provide for your family, to educate your children, to secure their future. Whether you like it or not, you are a subscriber to Cinemax . . . because you absolutely need the Internet, and there are no other providers. It’s right there in black and white. Now, substitute any reason you have for HBO and substitute racism and misogyny and homophobia for Cinemax and substitute your economic future and that of your children for the Internet. Ergo, Q.E.D. Trump voters support and racism and misogyny and homophobia . . . because they have no other choice.

Sure, it’s an imperfect analogy, but I’m working with what was handed to me.

Now, in the end, he is right. Voters supported a candidate that spouts odious views, who lack moral and ethical values, who is a bully . . . because they tried all the other avenues.

That’s an important qualifier because they have tried going with established parties for going on sixteen years now, and all they got was false promises, the continued erosion of their economic status, the stagnation of their wages, and the very real destruction of hope. They are watching what they consider the deterioration of their future and no one is even acknowledging it. Remember, I already said they are idiots, but what would you do if it was your life, your children, and all path are closed to you save one?

Please, please, please, understand I am not condoning their action, but I think I do understand them and I don’t have an easy answer for them. Sure, the fact they want an easy answer is in itself a problem, but that’s neither here or there.

Ignoring them did not work, and calling them racists is not going to improve anything. In that regard, my hope is that while they voted for Trump, they will be among the many “white privileged” who have previously stood against the oppression of the weak and mistreatment of minorities. My hope is not only that they will not watch Cinemax, but will unite with others to complain about it. History says they will.

As I said, this view of mine has labeled me a racist but . . .

. . . 29% of latinos, 14% of LGBT, and 8% of blacks (according to the latest numbers I’ve read) voted for Trump.

Is it so impossible to assume that whatever reasons those POC and LGBT voters found for voting against their apparent self-interest are the same reasons some white voters had for voting for Trump?

Let me guess . . . they are not “real” latinos, LGBT, or black individuals, or, perhaps, they are misguided.

I will call individual US voters anything from misguided to racist, but I think it’s naive — and a tad conceited, elitist, and dismissive — of Liberals and Democrats (many of them economically privileged) to assume one issue and one issue only — racism — was in the mind of those who voted for Trump.

Like I said, it’s complicated, and those who try and make it simple are, in my opinion, a big part of the problem.

That is my opinion.

Additional reading:

History tells us what will happen next.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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20 Responses to It’s complicated

  1. Selvam Veluswamy says:

    Emilio, great analysis and fantastic presentation. Answers almost all the questions. Thank you.


    • disperser says:

      Thank you, Selvam. IN part, I write these things to put my own thoughts in order. Glad someone else finds it of some value.

      Also, long time no hear. I didn’t know anyone from the HPI days read my stuff. I hope everything is as good as it can be with you and yours.


  2. Eddy Winko says:

    It’s only four years!
    The recent Brexit vote holds very similar questions about the British public and it is still a popular belief that racism, xenophobia and the like are the reason that the UK voted to leave the EU. Whilst there may be some truth in this I am coming to believe that much of it is whipped up by the press. The worrying thing is that the right wing of Europe seem to be riding the wave created by the press and I’m not sure when or where the wave will break next, if indeed it does.


    • disperser says:

      For some, that might prove a long time. As I mentioned before, this is not likely to impact me much short of some very drastic things happening. Like, for instance, Republicans acting on their oft-repeated statements that secularists — and atheists in particular — are a danger to this country.

      However, this feeds on itself. Trump gut a bit of a boost from Brexit, and now the victories will likely embolden other parties in other countries, especially given the immigration mess in Europe. I tend to agree that the popular narrative of racism and xenophobia at the very least don’t tell all of the story and probably are a secondary factor at best.

      I think Europe is seeing some very real and sudden encroachment in their values and heritage and even the rule of law because of the rapid influx of immigrants. That is not setting up anything good.

      Some might find this interactive chart interesting. Click on any country to get the instant numbers. Notice the bump starting in 2015:


  3. Emily Scott says:

    I watched a BBC documentary called something like ‘Trump’s unlikely fans’, presented by Angela Scanlon. She visited people like a black man who felt Trump would promote jobs and business and a woman who I think had Mexican origins and lived close to the Mexico border – she sees a lot of violence as a result and wants a wall to keep it out. She also visited a pair of twins who appreciated his pride in America and the ‘making America great’ message. Unfortunately, politics has become all about making an emotional connection with people (not about well thought out policies) and sadly Hillary made less of a clear emotional connection to get people enthusiastic about her.

    By the way, did you vote in the end?


    • disperser says:

      No. We had not planned on it anyway unless there were some measures on the ballot (there weren’t) so I did hold to what I said in March and for the first time in my life, I did not vote.

      I believe a fundamental change needs to be made to our election system, maybe institute the equivalent of a vote of no confidence, a.k. a. “none of the above”. Anyone who runs and is subject to a none of the above vote can then never run again and new candidates would have to be presented.

      Perhaps then, we would eventually get candidates who reflect the diversity and interests of the whole of the electorate and are willing to do something so few seem capable of these days: Compromise. 

      As a statement (me not voting), it didn’t mean much here as Hawaii went solidly to Hillary.


      • Emily Scott says:

        There could be a problem with the vote of no confidence if people kept choosing that, for instance if elections were being run over and over again without any satisfactory outcome. Eventually a decision does have to be made or nothing ends up being done.


      • disperser says:

        You mean like people would have to eventually come together and compromise? Find common ground so we can advance civilization?

        . . . there is also, of course, that when nothing getting done it can, sometimes, be the preferable choice over something being done that retards the advance of civilization.

        It’s the one unfortunate weakness of ‘democracy’ that it relies on the electorate being informed, engaged, educated, ethical, and empathic. I think that’s seldom the case.


  4. I found that article on history by Tobias Stone very interesting. Thanks for the link.


    • disperser says:

      You are welcome. It has a lot of assumptions, but he’s just addressing the question of how it might happen. The sad part is that the circumstances don’t look all that remote, especially given the current players.


  5. colonialist says:

    This is a highly informative and well-reasoned assessment.
    Voting systems have been devised by idiots for idiots. Perhaps we should move to one where leaders are elected by computers, based on a complex assessment of all the factors which would make up those most fitted to take decisions within their areas of expertise that will give the greatest benefit to the greatest number


    • disperser says:

      Thank you . . . I get lucky, sometimes.

      As for voting, I would prefer if we held our leaders to what they said they would do, what they promised to do. I’d even accept an explanation for why something can’t be done.

      Instead, the current system of corruption will eventually bring the whole thing down.

      As for computers, I would not trust that the selection computer would be hack-proof.


      • colonialist says:

        Any such computer would, indeed, need to be a lot tighter than Fort Knox.
        Actually, one is desperately hoping that Donald ducks out of doing a lot of what he said he was going to.


  6. What a great pity you didn’t yell this from the highest rooftops before the elections. You sat too long on the fence, disinterested !


    • disperser says:

      I was most definitely not disinterested. More like disgusted.

      However, you grossly overestimate the carry and potency of my voice. At best, the ones who would have heard me are the ones who already agree with me. Besides, there were stronger voices sending out cautionary messages (like those I linked in my March post and a few others). The problem is that people only listen to what they want to hear.


  7. I have had few words this past week and LOTS of emotions. Mostly sadness and shock. Those emotions are because of the election and because of some other stuff in my life.

    So, I say that to say this…Thank you for sharing your thoughts, words, and wisdom, Emilio, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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