The Missionary Position

While the battles rage on the Democratic side of the aisle as to whether its failure to crush Trump was due to the fact that 73 million Americans are just horrible racists or the progressive wing’s radical messages were rejected by the vast majority of the nation, most Dems and all Reps, one person “tried” to bridge the gap. His name is

Who?

Wajahat Ali is a New York Times Contributing Op-Ed writer, public speaker, recovering attorney and tired dad of two cute kids. He believes in sharing stories that are by us, for everyone: universal narratives told through a culturally specific lens to entertain, educate and bridge the global divides.

Aside from being Muslim, it’s unclear what Ali brings to the table.

He also enjoys writing about himself in the third person. He frequently appears on television and podcasts for his brilliant, incisive, and witty political commentary. (That’s what his mom says anyway). Born in the Bay Area, California to Pakistani immigrant parents, Ali went to school wearing Husky pants and knowing only three words of English. He graduated from UC Berkeley with an English major and became a licensed attorney. He knows what it feels like to be the token minority in the classroom and the darkest person in a boardroom.

For a child of immigrant parents, it seems he did quite well here, even if the lawyer thing didn’t pan out for him, apparently distinguishing between a licensed and unlicensed attorney. Why he would be in a boardroom is a mystery, and the likelihood of his being the “token minority” being a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, this is how he describes himself, and lacking any reason to doubt him, so be it.

Since he “bridges global divides,” he left the comfort of his TED talk audience to go to the hinterlands to entertain the “real Americans.”

‘Reach Out to Trump Supporters,’ They Said. I Tried.

I give up.

Is Ali just a quitter?

The majority of people of color rejected his cruelty and vulgarity. But along with others who voted for Joe Biden, we are now being lectured by a chorus of voices including Pete Buttigieg and Ian Bremmer, to “reach out” to Trump voters and “empathize” with their pain.

This is the same advice that was given after Trump’s 2016 victory, and for nearly four years, I attempted to take it. Believe me, it’s not worth it.

Leaving the warm comfort of brilliant people who agreed with him and apparently knew who he was, Ali took to the road.

So in late 2016, I told my speaking agency to book me for events in the states where Trump won. I wanted to talk to the people the media calls “real Americans” from the “heartland,” — which is of course America’s synonym for white people, Trump’s most fervent base. Over the next four years I gave more than a dozen talks to universities, companies and a variety of faith-based communities.

Only people who are very important, and have very important things to say, have speaking agencies. I can only imagine the suffering endured by leaving the comforting bosom of sophisticated America to wander the “heartland,” which dopes like me thought referred to places rather than races, where the coffee was sold in large or small containers rather than venti.

My standard speech was about how to “build a multicultural coalition of the willing.” My message was that diverse communities, including white Trump supporters, could work together to create a future where all of our children would have an equal shot at the American dream. I assured the audiences that I was not their enemy.

What could be wrong with such a standard speech, sufficiently dumbed down to such banal notions as “equal shot at the American dream” that even a white Trump supporter could follow it? It didn’t work. They liked him well enough, for a Muslim, but despite his using small words, benign concepts, pretending not to be sceeved out by their grossness and deplorability, they just didn’t get it.

I did my part. What was my reward? Listening to Trump’s base chant, “Send her back!” in reference to Representative Ilhan Omar, a black Muslim woman, who came to America as a refugee.

Can you even imagine poor Ali, sitting in a diner in Boise, having some white single-mother waitress ask him if he wants a refill, calling him “honey,” not even an unlicensed attorney, not embracing Ilhan Omar? He did this for the sake of those dumb potato farmers, to enlighten them with his understanding by exposing them to someone so much smarter, so much more entertaining, so much more enlightened, then they could ever be. He tried.

We cannot help people who refuse to help themselves. Trump is an extension of their id, their culture, their values, their greed. He is their defender and savior. He is their blunt instrument. He is their destructive drug of choice.

After all, the only way to help oneself is to listen to people far smarter, far more sophisticated, far more enlightened than a deplorable can ever hope to be. Unless it has little to do with Trump and more to do with the sorts of things brilliant people tell them.

“Defund the police” is the second stupidest campaign slogan any Democrat has uttered in the twenty first century. It is second in stupidity only to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 comment that half of Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.”

A debt of gratitude is owed to Wajahat Ali for suffering for America’s sake by having his speaking agency book him in the heartland so that he could wander among the deplorables and teach them the truth. Don’t blame him for the fact that 73 million Americans didn’t embrace the one true secular god of progressivism for their own good. Like Father Juniper Serra bringing Jesus to the heathens, he tried to reach out to Trump supporters, but they just didn’t appreciate his brilliance and become good people.

25 thoughts on “The Missionary Position

  1. jeffrey gamso

    The guy gives “more than a dozen” talks (let’s say maybe 15) in the “heartland” over 4 years and still there are tens of thousands of people at Trump rallies who didn’t absorb his message?

    I’m no statistician, and sure as hell not much of a gambler, but I’d lay good money on the idea that he didn’t actually speak to most of those folks.

    Fucking idiot.

    Reply
  2. Orthogon

    Persuasion is a lot more about listening than talking (or in this case preaching)

    Daryl Davis, a black musician, converted Klan members mostly by listening and befriending. Accepting their humanity and concerns without accepting their beliefs. Ali might try this approach if at first he didn’t succeed.

    Reply
  3. Griffin3

    I have it on authority that the standard order of coffee in flyover country is the “cuppa”, with “go-cup” a distant second. Cite: your nearest Waffle House.

    Reply
  4. grberry

    He thinks by speaking at universities he was speaking to Trump supporters? That is crazy talk. Apparently what he brings to the table is a massive disconnect from reality.

    Reply
    1. Paleo

      To the limited extent that he’s well known it’s due to the time he and Don Lemon and Rick Wilson got caught by a lingering camera openly laughing mockingly at the ignorance of Trump supporters.

      So this attempt to speak to Trump supporters wasn’t done in good faith, if it actually even happened.

      70 million people voted for Trump this time. In a crowd that large, you’re going to find a wide (dare I say) diversity of attitudes and opinions. If you can’t find anyone to talk to among 70 million people, the problem ain’t them.

      Reply
  5. Jay

    There’s nothing more bemusing then Greenfield, a man utterly removed from the heartland with no understanding of what it’s like to live around the Trump supporters he only ever sees on tv, heckle another new yorker for not understanding them.

    You don’t know a damn thing Greenfield. No more than this quack. But he’s closer to the truth than you are. Trump supporters are living in a made up world that they refuse to part with. They are violently angry with everyone else. I get that you live in a blue place and have no chance to be upset by the words and actions of Trump supporters, but you’re a fucking fool to think they’re not a massive threat to our country. Wake the fuck up.

    Reply
    1. Paleo

      WTF Jay. I was born in and have lived my entire life in places where the majority of people are Trump supporters. I am not one myself, but they are all around me.

      And for the most part they’re just….people. They aren’t any more dangerous than the average citizen. They aren’t nearly as big a threat to our liberty as the progressive subset of the left.

      I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you need to find a new source.

      Reply
      1. Richard Kopf

        Paleo,

        Ditto! Since have not voted since 1987 when I became a judge, I don’t express my views on Trump or Biden or Putin. (Although Putin seems pretty buff to me compared to the others.)

        But, I can and do say that the majority of Trump supporters here in flyover country of which I am aware are folks you would otherwise call you friends unless you really, really are a misanthrope. We must stop making politics into a blood sport.

        Thanks for writing your comment. It needed to be said.

        All the best.

        RGK

        Reply
    2. L. Phillips

      Jay, a word of advice. In this venue if you are reduced to throwing the f-bomb around my assumption is even you know you have lost the argument. At least you could surprise us with a little creativity.

      Reply
    3. Rengit

      I grew up in a suburb that was pretty evenly split between old-school Democrat (unions, minimum wage, environmental regulations, etc) and Reaganite Republicans, and now while those two camps still constitute the majority, there are growing numbers of well-to-do Clinton/Obama social liberals and some Trumpish Republicans. But if you drive just about 20 minutes south on the interstate, you’re in Trump country, and most of the Democrats that are there are of the old-school variety. It doesn’t feel like I’m in another world, the people are nice, and while I wouldn’t want to live in a place where the 30-pump gas station is a major hub of social activity and cuisine, it’s a generally ok place and it’s still America.

      You and the people who agree with you need to stop talking about these places and the people who live in them like they’re another Afghanistan to be invaded and pacified. They’re not, they’re America and they’re full of Americans, and the rhetoric you use is facilitating a destructive cycle of radicalization. What are you going to do, lead a Maoist “Down to the Countryside” movement and humiliate and beat them until they renounce The Four Olds?

      Reply
  6. DaveL

    As a longtime resident of the very cloaca of the Midwest, who knows many Trump supporters, allow me to inform you that you are completely full of crap. Sure, you can find the occasional idiot who thinks Hillary Clinton was involved with a pedophile ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant, and doesn’t want the government to get involved with his Medicare. I can match every one of them with some SJW nutbar who wants to abolish police, or thinks that marriage is racist, or that even questioning whether a man can give birth vaginally is literal fascism.

    The difference is that the former don’t get column-inches in the New York Times.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      “…allow me to inform you that you are completely full of crap.”

      Was that any “you” in particular or just the generic “you”?

      Reply
  7. David

    Hmm. If no-one reached out to 2016 Trump voters, would he have won in 2020? Didn’t white males, unlike pretty much every other group including minorities, vote for him less in 2020? And If no-one reaches out now, will he run again or someone like him and win in 2024? Even if one has a misanthropic view of everyone who says “Trump” without sneering and spitting, pragmatically one should want to engage with them.

    Oh, and as an aside, perhaps “licensed attorney-at-law” vs. “unlicensed (but authorized) attorney-in-fact” (POA)? Thinking also of the pleonasm of describing oneself as a “registered patent attorney” though that at least may be based on uspto descriptive language.

    Reply
  8. KP

    “how to “build a multicultural coalition of the willing.””
    Maybe he should have been giving that speech to the Saudis behind 911, or the Taliban, or ISIS, or…

    Hopefully the Trump supporters WILL fight the changes being forced upon them, because America will be a strange land if the woke make their paradise.

    Reply

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