So, there’s been a lot of rationalization and normalization of Trump going on. Like A LOT. People saying he probably won’t be that bad – he probably won’t even do half the stuff he has promised to do – and that if he is, well, that’s the price the liberal elite (by which they mean all non-white people and women and gay and trans people) will just have to pay for not having listened to white men enough. People are selling Trump’s election as some kind of secret socialist revolution. „The people wanted change, Jacinta. The left-wing had stopped listening to poor white people, and so they voted for change. It was an anti-establishment vote. The left-wing now have to listen to the poor angry white working-class that they’ve been ignoring for so long.“
IF THAT IS TRUE WHY DID SO MANY ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICANS GET IN TOO? They fucking cleaned up, is what. It’s obvious that any „change“ the white people who voted for Trump wanted – and let’s stop exaggerating how poor these people were, okay – was not a change from neoliberalism to a fairer, kinder society – but a change from multiculturalism (and you know, women & gay & trans & disabled people almost being treated like equals) to white supremacy. And we can listen to their reasons for preferring white supremacy to multiculturalism all we want, but one thing we can’t do is pretend that they’re decent, humane reasons. They’re mean, horrible reasons. White supremacy is mean. It’s unkind. Cruel. I can’t believe that since Trump’s being elected this has somehow become a controversial statement, but there you go. I also never thought smart phones would catch on, I thought they were annoying. The people who voted for Trump think that white people, especially white men, but including white women, and also especially white heterosexual people, white cis people, i.e. „normal families“ should have palpably better lives than non-white people, single mums, disabled people, gay people, trans people, etc. And they think the way to achieve this is to punish the weak: to punish and humiliate. Maybe even get a tiny bit of revenge. And this is what Donald Trump, in his actions and his words, has promised to do. He has promised to do it. And we have no reason to think he won’t.
One of the funniest things, for me, (and by funny I mean funny in that „isn’t this ironic, this is so ironic it’s almost funny, oh no sorry, it’s not funny, it’s really fucking depressing, thank God I don’t have any cyanide lying around the house“ kind of way) has been the attacks on identity politics. You know what identity politics is? It’s when people talk honestly about how being oppressed and discriminated against makes them feel, basically. Now, don’t get me wrong. I sometimes laugh at identity politics, too. The Kids take it too far sometimes. I mean, they’re Kids, that’s what Kids do, they take things a bit too far. Sometimes I literally think like „Oh God, things have gone too far now!“ I’ll even sometimes think or even say things like „Well, soon we won’t be able to laugh at anything anymore, will we.“ Sometimes I even sneer. But I think this is normal – I am 36. I’m not meant to understand twenty-year-olds. I’m not meant to agree with them. The world changes, society changes. I am an old fogie now. Some of the things The Kids get up to and come up with nowadays seem really funny/slightly ridiculous/totally übertrieben to me. There are things I have laughed at. There’s also things I have been genuinely annoyed by. (There are things I’ve changed my mind on, too – the first time somebody told me I shouldn’t say half-caste or Asylanten, I was annoyed, for instance. But I never say these words now.) One of the things I kind of laughed at, for example, was the idea that The Kids at a uni in England were going to clap in sign language. They thought normal clapping discriminated against deaf people, and they also thought it might trigger people who hated loud noises. I have to admit it, I laughed at that a bit. Well, I sniggered. And I did think: God, if clapping triggers you, how can you ever leave the house? Like what will happen when you hear a big lorry or a building site or one of those people at Neukölln who groan loudly and quote a religious book* at you?
This is the thing though: I don’t believe that all those people in America voted for Trump because identity politics has gone too far. I don’t believe they voted for Trump because Caitlin Jenner was voted Woman of the Year or because students get triggered too easily or want trigger warnings on books with rapes in them or because lesbians bake vulva-shaped muffins using their vaginal yeast or because trans women want to ban lesbians from selling vulva-shaped muffins using their vaginal yeast because they think it’s transphobic/biologically deterministic. I think this is a story people are telling themselves to make sense of a basic fascist/near-fascist having become the most powerful man on Earth. Because to be honest? I don’t think most Trump supporters know about the trigger warnings or the vulva muffins. My family certainly don’t. My brother is 25 and he thought „queer“ was still a homophobic insult until this summer when my Mitbewohner invited him to a queer party. I taught my trans auntie the word „cis.“ And I think my family are (and I don’t mean this in an arrogant way) a bit more clued up than most Trump supporters. They’re certainly no more ignorant than them. I think this PC-Diktatur is a comforting narrative, but a totally made up one. It’s as made up as astrology – it’s a projection which organizes and comforts, which helps us to pretend we understand. And to pretend we don’t think evil is winning. And to pretend there’s easy answers.
Thing is, though: EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE WHAT WOULD IT MEAN? Like even if you’re one of the people who think Caitlin Jenner shouldn’t have been woman of the year. Or that students should clap normally, as people have done for hundreds of years. Imagine. Imagine being really, really sure of the fact that Caitlin Jenner shouldn’t have been woman of the year and people should clap out loud. Well. If a group of uni Kids you have never actually met and never actually seen clapping in a way you dislike is enough to make you say „We need to have a few years of fascism, now, that will make them clap in a normal way again!“, then, to be honest, you were never much of a non-fascist to begin with. Look, there are loads of things I dislike. I hate baseball. I mean, I’ve never watched a game, but I imagine it would be very boring. I hate watching cricket. I think Scientologists shouldn’t force their women to give birth in silence. I hate pears. They’re shitty little apples. Like really rubbish apples. God, I hate pears. Writing this has reminded me how much I hate pears.I quite dislike tennis. I think those earrings people put in their ears to stretch their earlobes out are really awful. Yuck. But here’s the thing: I don’t think I have any power over people who play baseball or cricket or Scientologists or people who eat pears or play tennis or wear those ugly earrings. I don’t have power over them and I don’t want to have power over them. I don’t need to have power over them. I am just sitting here, chilling, pretty glad I don’t have to eat those manky apples a.k.a disgustingness also known as a pear, watch baseball, cricket or tennis, give birth in silence or stretch my ears out in a really quite horrifically grotesque manner.
I don’t have power over people who eat pears, and them wanting to eat pears is not a direct attack on my freedom. But why would anyone think they should have power over The Kids who clap in sign language? Why would you care? And why would you are enough to think the answer is fascism?
The fact is, the whole identity politics-Keule is an excuse, it’s not the reason. It’s a story people are projecting onto Trump’s victory to comfort themselves. There’s no way even literally one person voted for Trump because Caitlin Jenner was voted Woman of the Year. Not even literally one person.
But: the fact that this is the story people are telling themselves means that deep down, people know that a vote for Trump was a vote for white supremacy. I mean, apart from the fact that Trump’s campaign was almost entirely based upon him promoting racism, racism, racism, racism, racism and then a healthy dose of misogyny on the side, so obviously we all know it was a vote for white supremacy. But the fact that even people who consider themselves to not be racist are saying: „Well, what did you expect, all that clapping in sign-language.“ What people really mean is: „Trump won because non-white people and women and gay and trans people and disabled people demanded too much power. Look what happened. You wanted power and equality. Now you’ve ushered in four years of real oppression. You’ll wish you hadn’t been such dicks to us then. You’ll wish you’d known your place.“ THIS PROVES THAT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT TRUMP IS A WHITE SUPREMACIST MISOGYNIST AND THAT HIS TRIUMPH IS A TRIUMPH FOR EVIL. You can talk about identity politics all you want. I think there’s just right & wrong, moral and immoral, good & evil. And really, you do too. You know what Trump’s victory means. It means that at the moment, evil is winning. But it doesn’t actually have to. We don’t need to give up. We can keep on fighting. But, and I know this sounds tacky. But we’re going to have to be brave and we’re going to have to be strong. And we’re going to have to fight. And we’re going to have to be honest. Stop saying silly things about identity politics. Trump won because people are more racist and sexist than we thought they were. And the AfD could win here, too. But we’re going to have to fight. We’re going to have to fight more, and harder, not less.
- Here’s a great article about how people all try to understand Trump supporters, but never Hillary ones – warum nicht eigentlich?
- Here’s a really good analysis of what Trump’s victory means for both America and the world
- If this doesn’t put the fear of God in you, then you either have part of your brain missing or you’re in serious denial.