[Below is a guest post from an anonymous Democrat who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.]
– by Anonymous Democrat
As a lifelong Democrat and long-time activist for social justice and environmental causes, I’d like to explain to you why I voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.
If you’re like many of my friends, you’re wondering why I crossed party lines to join the surprisingly high percentage of Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton’s much-reviled opponent.
It’s a great question and I promise to be honest with my answer. However, before I do so, I want to share some of my politics with you so you can’t dismiss me as simply a right wing conservative in disguise.
Here are just a few examples of my activist activities over the last year that reflect my values:
-During the latest threat to defund Planned Parenthood, I volunteered as a phone banker to encourage voters to contact their elected officials to ensure women’s ongoing freedom of choice.
-On three occasions I marched in Black Lives Matter rallies following the tragic, fatal police shooting of yet another (and another…and ANOTHER!) unarmed black man.
-I started an online fundraising campaign that raised over $26,000 for the blockade at Standing Rock, North Dakota as an ally of the Native peoples who oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across their ancestral lands.
Needless to say, I’m an environmentalist who believes that our carbon emissions have created a climate crisis, an intersectional feminist, and an LGBTQ ally who opposes discrimination against any individual based on their gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Instead of just posting on Facebook, I get involved in my community and try to enact positive change on the ground.
Now that I hope I’ve established my leftist credentials, you might be wondering why in the world I voted for a presidential candidate who falls on the wrong side of all of these issues I claim to care so much about.
At first, I had no intention of voting for Trump. In fact, I considered his campaign to be nothing more than a media stunt to call attention to himself and boost his business enterprises, and at best, a way to purchase air time to sledgehammer a few of his personal causes into the limelight. Instead of taking him seriously, I laughed off his childish posturing and even avoided mentioning his name, as I thought befitting a vanity candidate without any real platform or vision.
Imagine my dismay when, instead of ignoring the silliness like I did, nearly all of my liberal friends did almost nothing but talk about him all day long, on social media and in person. Even though probably no one we knew in our isolated leftist bubble would ever even think about voting Republican, somehow they kept repeating to each other about what a threat he was to Democracy, how he was the next Hitler, etc. I warned them that Trump was just a troll and that they were doing nothing but fueling his phony campaign with their wasted outrage over a fictitious presidency.
As the other weak Republican candidates dropped out, the left’s anti-Trump rhetoric became more extreme, insisting that anyone and everyone who supported Trump was a “racist” and/or “misogynist.” Always in search of conflict as a way to gain readers, the media obediently reported on the left wing’s fury over this absurd faux-candidate, which only further raised Trump’s visibility.
It was at this point that I started to get annoyed at my friends’ insistence that all opposing political viewpoints—even ones I, too, disagreed with—were automatically “hate speech.”
For instance, I strongly support a women’s right to choose—always have and always will. Yet somehow my leftist friends call anyone who doesn’t support abortion a “misogynist,” the definition of which is someone who “hates women.” If this is true (and other than a small percentage, I don’t believe it is), does that mean that the 46% of women who oppose abortion hate themselves?
Personally, I welcome immigrants from other nations who come to America seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Our country was founded by immigrants and that diversity has been a major contributor to its success.
The idea of building a 2,000 mile long wall along the Mexican border is laughable and only the most naive think it will ever happen. I don’t worry about illegal immigration, as these folks more than pay back the tiny proportion of resources they consume by taking on the low-wage drudgery jobs that few Americans are willing to do.
However, while I disagree with people who think illegal immigration is a problem, I don’t believe it automatically makes them “racist.” Remember, the definition of racism is “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” Racism is about racial superiority and using that term for anything else dilutes it.
Now this isn’t to say that racism and sexism in our country isn’t real. It is and it needs to be confronted, prosecuted, and shamed wherever it rears its ugly head. But labeling every point of view you disagree with as “hate speech” does nothing to combat racism and sexism. In fact, this crying wolf distracts attention away from the actual racists and sexists in our midst, while stripping the accusers of credibility.
Not to mention the fact that tossing around the terms “racist” and “sexist” willy-nilly can be slanderous, hurtful, and rightfully breed resentment.
I have several family members who are Republicans, who I know for a fact do not think white people are superior to people of color or hate women, nor do they take actions to discriminate based on race or gender. I asked them how they felt when their concerns with abortion and illegal immigration resulted in them being called racist and sexist.
They told me that at first it shocked them. Then it upset them. And then it started to make them angry, the way anyone feels who is unjustly accused of a crime they didn’t commit.
Instead of changing their points of view, they just started to keep them to themselves, for fear of the havoc that these ad hominem attacks could have on their personal relationships in their community and their professional careers.
And that was the big eye-opener for me. Not that I was becoming more sympathetic to conservative causes—I wasn’t and probably never will be. Instead, it was because I knew all too well that awful feeling of losing the freedom to speak out about what I believed in because I feared that those with power and influence would target me, and attempt to destroy me.
I had spent my life fighting for the right to speak out against sexism, racism, and environmental destruction, and condemning anyone who tried to stifle my practice of the 1st amendment. And here, my leftist friends were the ones weighing in on the side of censorship!
Now, you might say that’s not true, that Republicans are still able to talk about anything they want—and so are those who choose to criticize them. But the thing is, this “calling out” rarely involves debating actual points, it’s mostly just personal attacks based on what they assume the other person really thinks…namely, that they are racist and sexist.
Accusing people of being racist and sexist is a pretty big deal, as these often casually applied labels can have very real effects on people’s lives. And that’s largely because of the power that has been given to those words. Power justly granted by the government to ensure that racist and sexist acts are illegal, and power of public opinion that has finally and rightfully decided that racism and sexism is wrong.
Now that the condemnation of racism and sexism has correctly become part of the dominant consciousness, deliberate misuse of those terms to silence a voice you disagree with is an abuse of power.
This censorship was further impressed upon me over the summer when friends invited me to an anti-Trump rally to stop the man from campaigning in my city to talk to his misguided supporters. I admit I was mystified by this, and asked my friends when the silencing of free speech by political candidates had become a leftist platform?
It finally occurred to me that the cause I cared about more than any other was the right to freedom of expression without people using the State against anyone they disagreed with to try to ruin their personal life and spoil their livelihood, and effectively stymie their Constitutionally-granted pursuit of happiness.
Even though I believe Republicans mostly spout off emotional nonsense that I find to be illogical and irrational, I also believe they reserve the right to do so. Again, not without criticism. But without unjust persecution.
I have no doubt that many centrists and conservatives voted for Trump not because they support his policies, but more as a “fuck you” to those on the left who have been harassing them for years with their largely unfounded and chilling accusations of “racism” and “sexism.”
I’m ashamed to admit that it’s the left, the Democrats, the Social Justice Warriors and P.C. Language Police that are the nation’s biggest force of censorship, the silencers of free speech, the ones using the tools of the State to crush dissent.
In my mind—and doubtless in the minds of countless others—a vote for the Democrats in the presidential election was the same as condoning this assault on the free expression of all beliefs, be they progressive or otherwise.
I continue to stand by my left wing values of advancing social justice and environmental protection. But to me it seems like a lot–if not all–of the talk about “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” is verbal masturbation and a perhaps a way to (consciously or unconsciously) avoid truly addressing the root causes of prejudice and discrimination.
The party I’m supposed to trust to ensure equal opportunity and a healthy planet is too busy calling out comedians for daring to expose racial stereotypes through their jokes, or condemning people for forgetting to use the latest acceptable gender pronouns, to actually tackle racism, sexism and other forms of oppression brought on by ignorance.
If neither party is going to actually do anything meaningful about these issues, I’d rather pick the one that will at least let me share my personal views–whatever they may be–without fear of reprisal.
All of this is just a long-winded way of saying that, if the Democrats want my vote in 2020, I’m going to need to see a lot less talk and a whole lot more action when it comes to the progressive causes that are the reason why I have always been—until now—proud to call myself a Democrat.