The way forward

Guy Harrison on Facebook:

Please don’t hate, disown, or ostracize rabid Trump supporters. Yes, it may be necessary to maintain some distance for comfort’s sake. But if you turn your back on them you are no better than the Scientologists and Mormons who shun their friends and relatives for waking up. The most committed Trump supporters are lost and afraid, as we all are to some degree. That’s where their anger and prejudice come from. They aren’t aliens. They aren’t evil. And it’s not helpful to dismiss them as hopelessly crazy and stupid. Yes, they hitched their wagon to an incompetent lunatic of a leader, but they are still part of “us”. We are a bunch of inventive, neurotic apes, stumbling around on a warm rock in cold, dark space. We are in this together. Turning your back and giving up on them is not the way forward.

What bullshit. We’re not obliged to be cozy with Trump supporters, especially not rabid ones – as a matter of fact I don’t much want to be cozy with rabid people no matter what they’re rabid about. Combine rabies and Trump support and you’ve got yourself one unpleasant person, and we all get to turn our backs on unpleasant people.

The claim about Scientologists and Mormons is ludicrous. Yes as a matter of fact we are better than they are, in the sense that our reasons are better. On the most stripped-down level sure, walking away from people is walking away from people, no matter what the reasons are – but then walking away from people isn’t automatically or necessarily a bad thing (unless they’re your dependent children). It depends. It depends on circumstances, degree and kind of relationship, and reasons. Total incompatibility of thought and conscience is a perfectly good reason for walking away from most people.

And then the claim that the “most committed Trump supporters are lost and afraid” is wholly unsupported, and I don’t believe it for a second. No doubt that describes some of them, but the entirety of the set? Please. He must be swallowing the absurd myth that Trump’s supporters are all abandoned rust belt workers desperate for jobs in coal mines. Nope: lots of them are The Very Rich, looking forward to tax cuts funded by dumping people off health insurance. There’s no reason whatever to assume that all Trump supporters are lost and afraid. Some are found and emboldened and full of venom.

Nor do we know that being lost and afraid is where their anger and prejudice come from. That’s just another made-up fact pulled out of the air. It may apply to some, but why should we agree it applies to all? Maybe the anger and prejudice of many or most of them just comes from anger and prejudice. Maybe there’s no need to look for sentimental “there there sweetiepie” sources, maybe there just are a lot of furious malevolent bullies cheering for Trump.

Yes they are “aliens” in some senses. They’re not from other planets, but they are from an alien moral universe.

The rest of it is just tedious platitudes and more unsupported assertions. Why is turning our backs on rabid Trump supporters not the way forward? How do we know it isn’t? Maybe it is; maybe it’s a necessary division of labor; maybe their friends and relations can work to redeem them morally while everyone else concentrates on getting Trump the fuck out of there.

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