This, gentle readers, is what passes for a conciliatory voice from the Left. This is what the voice of progressive healing, unity and reason sounds like, courtesy, of course, of The New York Times, from an article titled Trump Voters Aren’t The Enemy, by Nicholas Kristof:
A few days ago, I blithely tweeted a warning that Democrats often sound patronizing when speaking of Trump voters. That provoked a vehement reaction.
‘Sorry,’ Jason tweeted back, ‘but if someone is supporting a racist ignoramus who wants to round up brown ppl and steal my money, I’m gonna patronize.’
‘This is normalization of a hateful ideology and it’s shameful,’ protested another.
‘My tone isn’t patronizing,’ one person responded. ‘It’s hostile. Intentionally. I won’t coddle those who refuse to recognize my humanity.’
‘What a great idea!’ another offered. ‘Let’s recruit a whole bunch of bigoted unthinking lizard brains because we could possibly ‘WIN!’
Oh yes, gentle readers, progressives really do think kindly of actual Americans, don’t they? Ah, the vaunted tolerance and inclusiveness of the left!
And so the comments went, registering legitimate anxieties about President Trump — but also the troubling condescension that worried me in the first place. I fear that the (richly deserved) animus toward Trump is spilling over onto all his supporters.
I understand the vehemence. Trump is a demagogue who vilifies and scapegoats refugees, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, racial minorities, who strikes me as a danger to our national security. By all means stand up to him, and point out his lies and incompetence. But let’s be careful about blanket judgments.
My hometown, Yamhill, Ore., a farming community, is Trump country, and I have many friends who voted for Trump. I think they’re profoundly wrong, but please don’t dismiss them as hateful bigots.
By all means, take the link and read the whole thing, where you will find Kristof exhorting the faithful to take pity on the poor deplorables, who, after all, can’t help themselves, so hobbled are they by their multitude of prejudices, character faults, and inbred intellectual disabilities. It’s touching, in an irredeemable sort of way, really. To save you a bit of time, Kristof ends:
Go ahead and denounce Trump’s lies and bigotry. Stand firm against his disastrous policies. But please don’t practice his trick of ‘otherizing’ people into stick-figure caricatures, slurring vast groups as hopeless bigots. We’re all complicated, and stereotypes are not helpful — including when they’re of Trump supporters.
By all means, denounce the subhuman and despicable Trump and his attempts to restore the rule of law and adherence to the Constitution. Resist his dismantling of the administrative state and the return of power to individuals rather than the state. Oppose his “otherizing” people by lumping them into unfair, bigoted groups like criminals, anarchists, Islamist terrorists and illegal aliens. Those are just stereotypes of complicated, special people, and they’re not helpful, even if they are enemies of our democratic republic.
I suspect I am like most Americans, and by Americans, I speak of those that support our democratic republic. If a candidate I don’t favor wins an election, as long as the election was fairly conducted, I don’t wail, gnash my teeth and rend my garments. I don’t protest, commit arson, beat people that don’t agree with me, and in general, turn into a red-eyed, spittle-slinging, screaming, walking vagina, pussy-hatted Communist determined to establish a permanent democrat majority worker’s paradise.
I actually have a job, pay taxes, and contribute to, rather than burn down, my community. I don’t have time to do all that—I work for a living and many people depend on me–nor would I. Behaving like a petulant child is best reserved for petulant children, and then quickly, and if necessary, harshly, corrected.
“Otherizing” is what leftists do. They are compelled to categorize everyone, to place them in a neat, easily quantified group–victim or oppressor–the better to determine how they should feel about them, because for progressives, it’s all about feelings. They ache to feel superior to those that don’t inhabit their lofty heights, thus does Kristof plead with the faithful to shower a bit of their enlightened understanding on the deplorables who follow “a demagogue who vilifies and scapegoats refugees, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, racial minorities,” and who is “a danger to our national security.” What sort of degenerates could possibly support a man like that?
Kristoff labors to explain the great unwashed to his pristine fellows. To them, it is as though the vast mass of Americans in flyover country are a strange, primitive lost tribe, only recently found in a remote stretch of the Amazon or in a cave in Africa. Possessed of bizarre language, eating habits, customs, and ideas, they are to be studied, perhaps pitied and turned into good little progressives, for their own good of course, such people having no idea what to think, what to say, or how to live their meaningless little lives. Good grief! Many of them even drive things called “pickup trucks!”
It will make little difference to beings that feel their way through the world, but let’s examine just a few of Kristof’s mistaken assumptions, shared no doubt, by his readers.
Does Mr. Trump vilify and scapegoat refugees? Not quite. His words and actions indicate only a desire to enforce immigration law to ensure jihadists bent on murder have a harder time slipping into the country, and his proposed pause in immigration from only seven terrorist-overrun countries is temporary.
Does he vilify and scapegoat Muslims? Only those intent on barbarous slaughter of infidels, which would include tender morsels like Kristof and his readers.
Does he vilify and scapegoat “undocumented immigrants?” No, rather, he recognizes them as illegal aliens, criminals by their mere presence in America, and seeks only to enforce the law. Odd that anyone should vilify a President honoring his oath to see that the laws of the nation are enforced, but apparently that sort of thing feels wrong when applied to the wrong sort of favored progressive victim group. Enforcing the law against domestic criminals also apparently feels wrong to progressives.
Does he vilify and scapegoat racial minorities? Perhaps Kristof might ask the thousands of racial minorities Trump has employed and promoted for decades. They might have a different perspective. In fact, Trump is the only politician in recent memory to actually be determined to improve the lot of inner city black residents, should they find themselves able to detach from the progressive umbilical cord and rejoin the American public.
None of this matters to progressives. They live and die by the narrative. Reality and fact must warp and conform to that.
I think of progressive philosophy far more often than I’d prefer as I daily fill the pages of this scruffy little blog. Yet for all that, I experience no anger, no anxiety. I engage in no hysterics, and go about my life calmly and peacefully, grateful for my many blessings. I seek only to leave others alone to do the same. While I find progressive ideology dismissive of human nature and essentially destructive to liberty, I take people as I find them, as individuals to be judged by their character and actions. I honor who progressives pretend to honor: Martin Luther King, who hoped his children would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I judge not by color, gender, nationality, economic station or appearance.
In this, I feel sure I am unremarkable among my fellow Americans, comfortable to live under the Constitution and the rule of law, content to allow others to do the same. Like me, they take others as they find them, but they are not fools. They do not forget those that would harm them, or those that, without knowing them or anything about their lives, would “otherize” them.
So gentle readers, go ahead and denounce Kristof’s smug arrogance and mock concern. “Stand firm against his disastrous policies. But please don’t practice his trick of ‘otherizing’ people into stick-figure caricatures, slurring vast groups as hopeless bigots. We’re all complicated, and stereotypes are not helpful — including when they’re of Trump supporters.”