I am well aware that the election is long over, Trump is our president now. It might seem silly to even bring up why people voted for him, but I think it’s important to understand why he was elected. He spoke to enough people on some level that they decided they wanted him to be president and now we all have to live with the consequences. So with that in mind…
I can’t believe that I’m going to type this but recently I’ve come to realize (to a VERY small extent) why some people voted for Trump. I’m not even talking about the absurd promises he made to blue-collar workers about bringing back jobs that either don’t exist or can’t be brought back or the promises based around his bullshit racist/bigoted rhetoric. Those are deplorable and I can “understand” people are racist, islamophobic pieces of shit, but I’m not going to give them a pass. I’m talking about the people who admire or at one point admired Trump. Trump is bombastic, “high” energy, and definitely believes his own bullshit 100% so he “tells it like it is” from his incredibly limited, specially filtered version of reality. Previously I didn’t understand how people could admire Trump, it honestly baffled me, but I realized how you might find him admirable after a fashion while talking about a former friend of mine.
When I was a young 20-something, I met and made a friend online in fandom. She was charismatic, held incredibly strong opinions, wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, wasn’t going to bother sugar-coating things for people’s comfort, and was willing to stand up for herself and what she wanted or believed in.
I had a history of being mousey, so the thought of just doing what I wanted or saying what I wanted and damning the consequences was quite appealing. And I’m not going to blanket say that there aren’t times and places for those things, because there are, but those times tend to be few and far between. The point is, she embodied traits that I wanted to have for myself and a position in life where she could get away with her behavior (because whether we want to admit it or not; people with power and/or wealth can more freely behave the way they want without highly negative consequences). It didn’t hurt that we were both part of a group of people who often felt maligned (fandom) and she was fairly intelligent. Even outside of fandom there were things we both agreed on like the importance of animal rights among other things.
While we only met a handful of times (we lived in different states) we got along well and remained in contact for several years. Over time I became less mousey and more willing to speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believed in and a strange thing happened. I started to realize that I was wrong about several traits of my friend. She was only charismatic in the sense that she had been older than me and seemed to have so much more confidence that I was overwhelmed into being unquestioning. She didn’t have “strong opinions” she was right, period and utterly unbending and unwilling to listen to other opinions. She wasn’t just willing to speak her mind, she’s willing to speak over everyone else too. It wasn’t that she didn’t “sugar-coat” things, she could be deliberately cruel and didn’t care about who she could hurt. She felt that she was far smarter than just about anyone else in the room.
It’s only gotten worse over the time I’ve known her to the point where I don’t even recognize her anymore in part because she’s a bit fallen in with a bad crowd that has promoted an undeserved feeling of entitlement and disenfranchisement that frankly doesn’t exist (she’s an upper middle class white woman).
While Trump roared in with an undeserved feeling of entitlement, has been utterly unbending and overconfident and generally douche-y from the beginning: to the right people he could seem charismatic and speaks to some of their long held feelings of being ignored and has the platform to say things they might have wanted to say. The problem was that while they liked him for certain things, by electing him they also co-signed to his hateful rhetoric against Muslims, women, and other actually marginalized and disenfranchised groups and at the end of the day that has to be acknowledged and should have counted for more.
But the election is over and many are realizing the longer he’s in office: He’s problematically entitled, he’s unbending and unwilling to attempt to see issues from any view other than his own very narrow one. I think it was pretty obvious during his campaign that he didn’t just speak his mind, but spoke over others and often attempted to be deliberately cruel and hurtful BUT people are realizing that he’s willing to be like that with anyone, not just his political opponents. He sold himself on “telling it like it is”, but has been dishonest or at least deliberately unclear about certain issues. And he obviously thinks he’s the smartest in the room even when it’s painfully obvious that this is not the case.
There’s a lot that’s troubling about the current Republican Administration and while it’s somewhat vindicating to see people realize just how bad it’s getting at the end of the day that’s not productive. Troll through Trump Regrets and enjoy a bit of schaudenfreude, but remember at the end of the day it’s better to reach out to these people and talk about the best course of action to limit the damage being done together.