Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers on My Right

by Bill Brenner on November 16, 2016

The morning after Donald Trump was elected president, I posted this:

I didn’t vote for Trump. I don’t like him. I didn’t like Bush, either. But the left survived Bush and the right survived Obama. We’ll survive Trump, too. If we as individuals keep doing our best every day and be the blessing to friends, family and colleagues, everything will be fine. A better world starts with you.

I also posted this, after seeing a Trump supporter gloat over the despair of Hillary Clinton supporters:
To the FB connection gloating about how great he feels to see HRC voters at work dejected, you are part of the problem. People on both sides have been brutal this election cycle. You could have set aside political differences and been decent to your fellow human. You could have shown some compassion and humility. Instead, you were an asshole — no better than those who may have unfairly labeled you for supporting Trump.

Some of you didn’t like that, saying I should have shown the same compassion for Trump supporters traumatized for being called racist and sexist. Truth is, I find it just as bad when Trump voters are called names. As the old saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Mood music:

There’s plenty of blame to go around for this shitshow. Here are my thoughts.

When bigotry isn’t a deal breaker
It’s true, millions who voted for Trump are not racist or sexist. They chose based on years of economic frustration and a feeling that the left talks down to them. Some of you complained bitterly about being branded a hater. Fair enough. I know a lot of Trump supporters who are great people. But they still voted for someone who used hateful rhetoric to rile up people who are in fact bigots, and a lot of good people have a problem with that. Instead of whining about being labeled something you’re not, maybe you should listen to the other side and clarify your own views.

Personally, I thought Trump’s candidacy should have fizzled after he mocked a disabled reporter. I’m still floored that so many voters were OK with that. Do I think Trump himself is a sexist bigot? Well, he has placed women in high positions over the course of his career and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is devout in his Jewish faith. But his comments about women in that leaked Access Hollywood tape are impossible to ignore.

I’m also not encouraged by Trump’s decision to make Steve Bannon a senior White House advisor. Bannon, head of Breitbart News before joining Trump’s campaign, has linked Breitbart to the “alt-right,” a movement of people who view immigration and multiculturalism as a threat to the white race.

The inconvenience of truth
Instead of reasoned debate, a lot of you shared articles on Facebook that were false and often malicious. This was truly a bipartisan failing. Left- and right-leaning friends were equally prolific in sharing content that fit their preconceived notions. I often wondered if people were even clicking on these articles and reading them first. I have no doubt people saw headlines they liked and that was enough.

Posting untrue tripe on Facebook is nothing new, but some of you really upped your game this year.

Free speech didn’t end with the election
Some of you have complained that the election is over and that people unhappy with the result need to grow up, get over it and move on. That’s some bullshit right there. When Obama won in 2008 and 2012, a lot of you reacted the same way Clinton supporters are reacting now. You had your right to a mourning period. So do they.

And just as you are entitled to your opinions, so are those who don’t agree with you. Telling people to shut up makes you a hypocrite.

The left must listen
Now that we have President Trump, the left must come clean about a huge failing that helped feed the man’s rise. Specifically, some of you have repeatedly talked down to conservatives in rural America like they’re idiots when in fact they work hard and want the best for their families, friends and neighbors, just like you. Are there bigots among them? Yes. But most people are just trying to survive economically, and the global economy has not been kind to them. You should spend less time talking at them about how things should be and more time listening.

My friend Nick Selby said it best in this blog post: “Democrats believe truly that they have moral righteousness and certitude of intelligence. You don’t.”

Democrats also have to acknowledge that they left blue-collar America behind long ago. In the early 21st century, the party shifted from being one that stood by union workers to one that catered to Wall Street. Raising money became the priority, and the party lost its way. A lot of the people left in the lurch became Trump supporters. The same is true for the Republican party, but the left needs to own its own part in this.

I still believe humanity is good. I’ve seen people who disagree politically help each other time and again in hours of need and enjoy each other’s company during good times. When bad things happen, the best of humanity always steps up to alleviate pain and suffering, regardless of political beliefs.

Now, if we could just stop being assholes the rest of the time.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jonee November 18, 2016 at 11:22 am

blah, blah, blah about racist, bigotry, etc.
Bush took us into wars we didn’t belong and Obama will go down as the worst President – after Carter. HRC, I’m sorry, is sooooo corrupt – I would be in jail for a tenth of what she did. My God, …..putting our country in jeopardy with a private server in her basement?! Come on!!
Trump, I believe will clean up the corruption these so-called politicians are involved – look at the money they’ve made for themselves.
Be happy for this new and better future we have a chance at. He seems to love this country and will try to do his best. What don’t you like about him?

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