Almost all standard responses you get from Trump supporters when you criticize their idol are cloaked in whataboutisms. So, for example, when you mention the lies that Trump told (and continues to spread), you get an immediate response of “You don’t think that Biden lies?” as if there’s an equivalence – as if both of these men are in the same area code for lying when nothing could be further from the truth.
Trump’s lies and lapses in morality are now coming to light since the orange abomination left office. Members of the military say that Trump was a clear danger to the republic. This crazy narcissist suggested executing people who leaked stories to the press or shooting protesters in the legs. Comparing Trump’s lies and behaviors to past presidents (republican or democrat) is like comparing the flames in my backyard fire pit to the wildfires raging across the midwestern U.S. — they’re both fires, but. . . .
The 2016 election was not that long ago; those of us without dementia remember the aftermath.
Were there claims of election fraud? Yes.
After her loss, did Hillary Clinton go on for month after month after month about a stolen election? No.
Do you remember a constant, never-ending push of lies about Hillary being the real president-elect? No.
Do you remember Hillary riling up her base, inspiring and praising a traitorous assault on the capitol to try and stop the election from being certified? No.
The false equivalence that Trump supporters employ is stunning, but what’s even crazier is the total disregard of their own senses and experiences. Like me, they lived through 2016 – was that post-election experience anything like what we see now? No, it was not. And how do we know the situations were different? Because we observed, experienced, and lived through both.
I saw Fox news show a montage of Dems claiming the 2016 election was rigged, suggesting that what Trump did (and continues to do) is no different than what Dems did in 2016. The strategy behind these types of videos is not to inform viewers but rather manipulate them into believing the claims made by democrats back in 2016 were frenzied and constant, that they had a velocity and critical mass and are no different than what Trump is engaged in.
But anyone who lived through 2016 knows that’s not the case at all.
There was no massive push to overturn the elections or fake ass “fraudit” of the vote conducted by partisan and conspiracy-addled companies.
From Orwell’s famous novel 1984, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
When Fox News tells you the claims of election fraud by democrats in 2016 mirror what’s happening today, or when republican congressmen and senators tell you January 6th was just a regular tourist event, they’re telling you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. Don’t do it.
The impetus behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is systemic racism.
People join and support BLM to protest a system of justice in America that treats people of color differently than white people. From that perspective, the BLM movement comes from noble place – the desire to right a wrong in our society.
This past Summer, the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer sparked outrage and widespread protests, deservedly so.
Rising up and taking to the streets to protest that murder was an entirely appropriate response by Americans. And, if I remember correctly, when some of those protests turned violent, that violence was condemned by democrats and republicans alike.
Most Americans agree that violent protests cannot, and should not be tolerated. That said, it’s important to understand the psychology of a riot.
Marin Luther King said:
“I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.
And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.”
The BLM riots were the result of America failing to acknowledge the mistreatment of black and brown citizens by our justice system, which has been going on for years. Prolonged injustice needs but a spark to lead to protests and riots, and the George Floyd murder was that spark.
Contrast that with the January 6th “stop the steal” protest, which turned into a violent riot.
The January 6th protest had nothing to do with prolonged injustice. It was not borne out of years of systemic racism. Instead, the January 6th protest was a planned and calculated attempt by our president to disrupt the certification the 2020 presidential election.
The impetus for the January 6th protest was the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was rigged. There is not a shred of truth to that claim. But, as we all know; Donald Trump does not care about the truth. So, he pushed the false claim of a rigged and stolen election to millions of Americans in the weeks leading up to the January 6th rally. And on that day, he again lied to the thousands in attendance.
None of this is in dispute. We know that President Trump spread lies and false claims about the election, and we know that he assembled the rally on January 6th to disrupt the certification of the election by congress.
The primary difference between the BLM protests and the Stop the Steal protest is the legitimacy of the issue being protested.
Systemic racism is a real and legitimate problem in America. We have data showing black and brown citizens are treated more harshly than white citizens by both the police and by the courts. In short, for BLM protesters there’s a genuine issue at hand and a real reason to be angry, and George Floyd’s life being extinguished under the knee of a white racist cop, brought an ugly and graphic clarity about racial injustice, to millions of Americans.
In contrast, what Trump supporters were protesting on January 6th was not justified. The very foundation of the Stop the Steal protest was built on lies. There was no widespread voter fraud. The election was not stolen.President Trump did not win in a landslide.
How do we know that the issues being protested on January 6th were not legitimate?
We know this because:
The votes were tabulated and Joe Biden had 7 million more of them.
The votes were recounted several times, and Joe Biden still had 7 million more of them.
Every challenge that the president’s legal team brought to the courts was defeated in resounding fashion.
The Trump Administration’s Attorney General reviewed the claims of widespread fraud and said there was none.
The indisputable truth is that President Trump lost the 2020 election.
Now, if the candidate that I supported and trusted lost an election, and then went on to tell me every single day for weeks at a time, that the election was stolen, and that the consequence of that stolen election was that my country was going to be destroyed, I might have stormed the US Capitol as well.
Take what Doctor King said about riots and apply it to what happened on January 6th:
I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear?
They failed to hear that my vote was stolen – that the election was rigged, that I won’t have a country anymore if the election is certified
I honestly believe that millions of Americans believed what Trump told them every day for weeks before and after the election – that it was rigged and stolen. And for the thousands that showed up on January 6th, the only way to stop the steal was to stop the certification, and that meant storming the Capitol building. So that’s what they did, at the behest of our lying president.
The issue many of us are grappling with today is how did we get to the point where millions of Americans are resistant to facts and immune to the truth?
How did this happen on such a mass scale?
I believe it was the perfect storm of the browning of America, globalization, religiosity, and an opportunistic and depraved leader.
More than any other President in our history, Trump understood the value of other people’s fear. He understood that he could use that fear to his own advantage.
Trump understood that connecting with people over fears about our changing demographics, what it means to “be American”, growing secularism, and loss of manufacturing jobs, would override everything else – including truth and facts — because fear, national identity, and religion resonate at an emotional level.
Trump knew the quickest and easiest way to get people to vote for, and support him (no matter what), was to connect with them over fear.
Trump’s connecting with voters over fear didn’t involve engaging in meaningful dialog or the difficult task addressing our changing world – instead he commiserated – not because he was genuinely empathetic, but because he knew both the power and expediency of commiseration.
Trump saw early on that if he could get the disenfranchised to believe he was with them in terms of their fears around abortion, immigration, and globalization – he would have them in his pocket. Once he achieved that, he could “shoot someone in the middle of 5th avenue” and it wouldn’t make a difference to supporters.
Trump’s fake commiseration around religious issues, immigration, and globalization led to a fact-resistant base of supporters, and emboldened the President to embark on his Hitleresque desire to rule a nation.
Trump knew that once he connected with people over fear, he could lie to them with impunity, and that they would follow him off a cliff, or to the doors of the US Capitol.
Republicans gerrymandered districts, closed polling places, and appointed a crooked pro-Trump Postmaster General, who, in the middle of a pandemic, ripped sorting machines out of postal facilities and removed drop-boxes to hinder the ability to handle an increase in mail-in ballots. And after all of that politically-motivated and strategic malevolence, Trump still got his ass handed to him in a big blue box, beautifully adorned with 306 electoral bows, in what the Department of Homeland Security called the most secure Presidential election in history.
And ever since that stinging rebuke of America’s one-term orange menace, we’ve had to listen to republicans’ bitch and moan (without evidence) about voter fraud — 0 for 13 in lawsuits at the time of this writing – laughed out of courtrooms across battleground states.
We watched in bemusement at the more than eleven thousand pathetically lost souls at the “Million MAGA March” with their “Stop the Steal” signs, and thought to ourselves how easy it is in America to sway the masses. All you need is a website, a lie, and a human desire to be part of something “big and just” and its down the wallpapered-with-Q-conspiracy-theory-rabbit-hole they go, screaming and yelling like snowflakes on steroids, like zombies on crack, like lemmings on Led Zeppelin.
Shut the fuck up already. You lost. Despite all the slimy underhanded efforts to suppress the vote and misinform citizens, YOU STILL FUCKING LOST.
Instead of bitching and moaning without merit, start thinking about putting up a better candidate in 2024, and while your at it, you might want to consider the fact that America is changing. We’re becoming more diverse, less religious, and more concerned about our planet – deal with that by backing candidates who will hustle for new voters, who will reach out to the people who live and work in their state and look to genuinely understand their needs and concerns.
And for the love of Mike, don’t blindly back a shallow and vacuous megalomaniac like Trump, who for 4 years padded the wallets of rich people, lowered the tax burden for multi-billion dollar corporations, ratcheted up fear, racism, and xenophobia, tried really really hard to limit access to healthcare, rolled back environmental regulations, diminished the integrity of the Presidency by lying at an astronomical rate, withheld lifesaving information about the dangers of COVID-19, tongue-kissed authoritarians across the globe, and wrecked America’s reputation around the world.
If you can’t elect a candidate better than Trump next time around, you deserve to lose again. Biggly.
And quit being that single-issue-ban-the-fetal-tissue-voter, because all that does is make you a target for manipulative vote-grubbing slugs like Trump, who, let’s be honest, would mandate abortion if it meant overturning the 2020 election results. If you want to reduce the number of abortions in America, let’s start with improved health education, reinforced by frank and honest discussions with children about sex, sexuality, and the importance of acting responsibly, and combine that with easy access to birth control. Then, implement these measures nationally, so everyone gets the same message at the same age, regardless of their background or where they live – that would do more to reduce abortions than 9 Amy Coney Barrets.
And finally, can we please get back to the core human values that actually have made America great – kindness, empathy, honesty, and integrity and get off the dangerous, religiously-fueled-patriarchal-cult-of-personality path we’ve been on for the last 4 years, because that shit is rotting this country from the inside out.