So now that it’s been a few weeks since the election, people seem to be calming down. We’re all still worried about the quality of the incoming government, but I don’t see so many people talking about how alienated they feel as black/female/Jewish, how it makes them feel like the country’s out to get them. So it seems like a good time to ask – how scared should we actually be?
On the first impression, not very. Hysterical (or excited) Social Justice Warriors aside, Trump probably isn’t actually racist. Most of his followers aren’t either, so this election isn’t some kind of triumph of racism. Trump is xenophobic,and will probably try to deport more people – but Obama already deported quite a lot of people, and there’s a limit to how much Trump could step that up, in practice. More to the point, the vast majority of people feeling scared and alienated are not illegal immigrants.
On the other hand, consider why people did vote for Trump. My first inclination is to say that it’s a backlash by people sick of being accused of racism. People in the Midwest aren’t going to vote for a party that cares more about where some kid in North Carolina goes to the bathroom than about whether they have a job. And I kinda like this idea, since it lets me blame those nasty SJWs who keep using with technically-not-offensive terms like Privileged White Male. In this case, that’s even better – after all if someone like me, who’s been on the left my whole life, can be this alienated by the modern Social Justice movement, how much more can swing voters?
But still, it’s worth looking at what Trump voters actually have to say (the hardcore fans, not the ones who bit their tongues to vote for him because they always vote Republican). And while I’m not convinced it’s racist or misogynistic, it is full of hate. At immigrants. At “elites”, at people who live in coastal cities and go to ivy-league colleges and have advanced degrees. Most of Trump’s enthusiastic supporters will, when pushed to it, admit they think he’ll be a bad president. But they still voted for him, because they hate these people so much they would be willing to risk their own welfare just to give them the finger. Except I shouldn’t say “these people”, because I match every one of those criteria. I should say “us”.
Fortunately, Trump supporters are dying. I don’t believe in ever celebrating someone’s death. I was disgusted by seeing people whoop and cheer and celebrate when Arafat or bin Laden died (same goes for Margaret Thatcher, Scott). Because even though they were terrible people and their deaths were a good thing, cheering for the death of someone who was, in the end, human, is wrong. And it dirties the people who do it. But that doesn’t mean we have to mourn them either, any more than we mourn the million faceless people who die every day. And when people who make the world a worse place die, we’re allowed to feel a sense of grim satisfaction.
I don’t actually think most angry Trump voters make the world a worse place. In their day to day life they’re probably nice enough to their neighbors and do good work in their jobs, and that outweighs the harm they did by voting Trump. But I do think they hate me, just for being me. I didn’t hate them before this. And when they die, I’ll just feel a sense of grim satisfaction. Their neighbors and employers can feel free to mourn, but I won’t.
On the other hand, maybe Trump can unify the country after all. Not behind him, of course. But if screws up badly enough, he may be able to unify people against him. I supported Hillary in the election, because I thought she would be able to govern well and make good geopolitical decisions. But she would never have been able to overcome the biggest problem of all facing America right now, the partisan split and deadlocked, dysfunctional government. Maybe Trump can solve that one. It is said that there are two ways the messiah can come: If people are truly righteous, we get the good messiah, who will lead us to salvation and heal our wounds. But if people are truly wicked, we get another one, we get the dark messiah.
It’s been suggested that we should try to maximize wickedness, since we don’t really seem to have our stuff together to be righteous enough. The counterargument is that we have no idea how bad things would get before salvation, if we go the dark messiah root. But in this election, we just may have been wicked enough to have earned ourselves the dark messiah, in the form of Donald Trump.