I’m Afraid of (Undecided) Americans
I might dress up as the U.S. presidential election for Halloween, because it is the most frightening thing I can bring to mind right now.
Over the last few months there has been a lot of speculation about how Trump could have possibly gotten this far, how his defenders could be so incredibly gullible as to believe all of the backpedaling and denials about every second thing that comes out of his mouth. But this is a mistake. They are not gullible. What I have begun to realize is that it’s not that Trump supporters don’t understand what kind of a person he really is. And it’s not that they don’t care what he is. They support him precisely because of what he is.
Many of the people planning to vote for Trump are doing so because they love the fact that he’s a racist, sexist, xenophobic, lewd loudmouth. These are people who want to return to an age when white men could make horribly racist and misogynist remarks without any repercussions. When women, people of colour, gay people, or anyone else at the bottom of the power paradigm were openly bullied into silence. These are people who are seething with rage and resentment because they believe that they are the ones who have been shamed into silence by an overly “PC” world where their intolerance is not tolerated. Trump’s rise is giving them implicit permission to shake off the very thin veneer of civility that has been keeping them in check. Because if a Presidential candidate can say it, why shouldn’t they? Who’s going to stop them now?
It is bad enough that this man, this idol of entitled bigotry, has gotten as far as he already has. That in itself has caused enough damage. The thought that he could win, and turn this sickening wave of violent oppression into a tsunami, is one of the most alarming prospects I have faced in my own lifetime.
A Plea to Undecided and Third-Party Voters
It isn’t Trump himself that concerns me most at this point – yes, he’s a narcissistic bully, but actually just kind of pitiful. And it isn’t really even his hardcore followers that I’m worried about – I believe they are a very loud minority. It is the people who don’t like him, but who aren’t aware of how his manipulations are still swaying their perceptions, that make me fearful for the outcome of this election.
To those voters who are on the fence, or who think it’s a better option to vote for a third party, please, please hear this: If you have been led to believe that Hillary Clinton is as bad of an option as Trump, or that she is somehow less trustworthy or less principled than literally any other major public political figure in the entire history of Western civilization, you have been successfully indoctrinated by the Trump lobby’s smear campaign.
I’m not saying that Clinton is a saint. She is a typical politician. All people who reach such high positions of power, pretty much without exception, are ruthlessly ambitious and prone to modulating their stances to conform to the current social climate. So why is Clinton facing so much backlash compared to the legions of her predecessors? Two reasons: 1) she is a woman, and women in positions of power are always subjected to much higher scrutiny than their male peers, and 2) she is unfortunate enough to find herself in competition with an actual sociopathic liar. It is exceptionally clear that Trump has no qualms about making up whatever bullshit serves his purpose, and this should absolutely be taken into account when considering how he may be influencing the public’s view of his opponent’s character.
Clinton may not be perfect, but she is certainly no worse than almost any other President you have had in office since the beginning of Confederation. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is an actual nightmare. This is not a contest between two equally objectionable candidates. This is a contest between the status quo, and a steep and terrifying slide into a cesspool of hatred. Trump must be stopped. There is only one way to do that. Please, Americans – make the right choice.