At my alma mater, students held a “cry-in” after the loss. Their world of absolute certainty crashed down around them, because no one ever told them that there would be loss in their lives. The past eight years was under President Obama, the nation’s first black president. And they were still sucking their thumbs when Shrub was last elected.
At Yale, students sought the concession from their Econ 115 professor to cancel his midterm exam. The claim to suffer “fear, rightly or wrongly.” may well be true, as is the pain. They just suffered the first smackdown of their values ever, and this wasn’t possible. They had been told that their values were true, were real, were absolutely right, and therefore there could be no reasonable disagreement. If true, and they believe it with all their being, then this was no more possible than pigs flying. And everybody knows pigs can’t fly.
So it had to be evil that permeated their country. Millions of racists and sexists stole control from them. It had to be. There could be no other explanation that meshed with their world view. The old aphorism, that there were two sides to every story, was a lie. There was no other side. They were right. They had always been right, and would always be right. There could be no higher calling than serving what was right, and it justified doing anything, anything, to achieve what was right.
Donna Brazile, who filled in as head of the Democratic National Committee after Debbie Wasserman Schultz got caught dirty, got caught dirty herself. But she was only contrite about being caught, because her giving debate questions away while (bizarrely) serving as a neutral commentator on CNN may have been cheating in the worst sense of the word, but her cause was just. And righteousness excuses every wrong.
The demographics showed that a majority of minorities voted for Clinton, though a majority of white women (who, it should be noted, are not a minority though they seem to think they are) voted for Trump. They “sold out the sisterhood,” provided you believe the sisterhood is real and the most important thing. But even though Clinton took a great majority of the minority vote, Trump did better than Romney amongst blacks and Hispanics. None of this made any sense, as pigs don’t fly.
There are messages here. A student at Wesleyan, subject to the indoctrination of social justice, explained his vote for Trump. In large measure, it was the absolutism of social justice that pushed him away, the silencing of heretic views. An op-ed by Phoebe Lett at the New York Times explains that white women failed.
Whatever the cause, the white women of the “pantsuit nation,” as many Clinton supporters call themselves, have some work to do.
They were wrong. They must be made right.
It is time white women start making change within their own circles. White women must talk to their sisters, mothers, colleagues and friends about racism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism. Prejudice must be called out, even in friends. These conversations may become uncomfortable, but so are these election results.
There is a message here, and that message can’t be heard by people who refuse to hear because of their incapacity to grasp that their absolutist world view isn’t shared by all. The Democratic party once stood for the working man. The Democratic party once stood for equality. The Democratic party now stands for a radicalism that has driven liberals away, and neither the children nor the extremists get it.
Classic liberals believed in, fought for, sought equal rights for women and minorities. They weren’t against a woman president, as the shrews naturally screamed. They were against Hillary Clinton. They were not prepared to sacrifice their beliefs for rearrangement of the social order so that their lives would be on the line for the sake of feminist tears, Ivy League black students crying about the horrifying pain of Halloween costumes or which bathroom a transgender student can use. It’s not that they’re against it, but they have bigger fish to fry. Like whether their children would have jobs when they graduated with a gender studies degree.
Were there racists supporting Trump? Obviously. Misogynists too. But there were also a great many people who had no animus toward anyone. What they did not have is the luxury of college students or academics, dedicated feminists or Black Lives Matter protesters, to ignore where they would go to work the next day.
And your gang had more than its share of nutjobs, liars and violent psychopaths, though you prefer only to point at the other team’s bad actors. People in the middle see both, even as you try to deny their existence. It’s just another thing that makes you look foolish.
Shouting ever louder doesn’t make your cause more persuasive. Riots and protests won’t do it. Lying about being harmed just exacerbates your failing. You won’t win by calling everything a phobia or everyone who disagrees with you “fragile.” But when you scream that classic liberals who believe in equality are racist and sexist, you lose credibility. You are just as intolerant and ignorant as those you despise the most, but you refuse to see it because you wrap yourself up in the righteousness of your views. Just like they do.
The system has failed a great many people, though in ways that have never touched your “privileged” lives as you ponder what words must be forbidden. Telling America that they’re doing great under Obama, and more of the same will be just as great, doesn’t put food on the table or eliminate that monstrous health care deductible. You don’t know of such things, because you’ve never missed a meal, never been unable to go to a doctor when you had an ache or pain.
The efforts to explain how racist and sexist America is appeal to your need for gestalt, but will never change the reality that the rest of a nation endures. It’s not your fault for failing to explain loud and often enough how right you are and how wrong everyone else is. It’s our fault for not throwing you out of the basement and making you learn to survive on your own. Not firing you from your jobs for sucking at them, and instead pretending you aren’t lazy and terminally self-indulgent. You needed to go hungry once in a while, but we just kept feeding you because we loved our children and didn’t want them to suffer. Maybe we were wrong to never force you to grow up.
The Yale professor should have required you to take the test even though you were in pain. Just because you’ve never experienced loss before doesn’t mean now isn’t the time to learn. And you can keep screaming about racism and sexism, because it no longer matters. At Thanksgiving dinner, you will eat our food while telling us how wrong we are. We will still love you as our children, but we will no more be convinced by your childish grasp of the world than we were before.
And just so you know, this isn’t because we voted for Trump, but because we realize that there are people who are good people, hard-working people, not racist or sexist people, who don’t share your absolute certainty that you are right and there can be no other reasonable view of the world. The people who disagree with you aren’t all evil. Until you realize that, you will never be able to understand that losing happens, and it isn’t the end of the world.
Here’s the weirdest thing. A great many of those who don’t share your orthodoxy aren’t so much against you as have other priorities, other concerns, that you have yet to appreciate. Stop driving them away by calling them names and trashing their cars in anger. They aren’t your enemies, but you have made them enemies. Of all the lessons you have failed to learn, this may be the most dangerous. Now eat your peas.