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Wed Dec 28, 2016, 08:41 AM

On Trump Supporters and Empathy:

I know a Trump supporter who doesn't fit the stereotype : my cousin.

My cousin supported Trump, because he likes Trump's "machismo". . My cousin doesn't follow politics much, but he likes men like Trump and he is a bit like Trump himself : He loves to "tell it like it is", even when he's wrong. He sees Trump's gaffes as comedy and the times Trump's rhetoric veered dangerously into authoritarianism , he explained it away as Trump getting a raw deal by the press, and that he's "misunderstood". He also doesn't believe Trump will do what he says he will do.

My cousin is probably not the only Trump supporter who connects to Trump in this way. His supporters generally like his brashness, and in times of uncertainty, someone coming along and saying "I will fix it" , whatever that "it" is, has appeal. No further inquiry of what he's going to "fix" is necessary because the resentful , the fearful and the frustrated love Strongmen.
And when he targets "others" unlike themselves, they feel safe.

Trump knows that divisions and scapegoating makes his most ardent supporters cling to him ever more tightly, because it's only ever been about Trump.

This is not just a Trump supporter problem, but a voter problem. Instead of us focusing on effects of systemic and historic failings, we rather devote our energy to either falling in love or hating a personality or candidate- because it's satisfying to either love or lay blame at another group or a specific person.

So I can empathize, I understand the mindset.

But in all these calls for empathy, what of those most affected by Trump's bullying and dog whistling and hate?

And what of ALL OF US and our future if Trump has his way.

It's my empathy that inspires me to not give up on my cousin. We actually agree on many things but I don't have to gloss over inconvenient facts to engage with him. I don't need to compromise the truth by pointing out Trump's lies and deceptive nature, and I don't avoid asking him whether he considered the consequences of his support for a demagogue - the good news is that I think I'm getting through to him.

Trump is my cousin's blind spot but his flaw is a flaw I'm guilty of occasionally: i.e. the blind spot of not being honest about ideas and beliefs, people and institutions in which I place my faith and trust - and pointing out blind spots helps us gain a clear understanding of the world.

The Trump support spectrum ranges from extremists to those who are just plain uninformed and ignorant, yet even for Trump's most mild supporters, Trump's intent couldn't be more clear when he announced his run: he corralled support initially because of his deplorable comments about Mexicans , on top of his birtherism . Obviously this would make him attractive to racists and bigots. And we all know racists and bigots. Some of them are otherwise great fathers, mothers , daughters ,sons ,friends and colleagues. This is not an inconvenient truth to shy away from but an ugly truth to confront.

Confronting it doesn't make me a liberal elitist who is out of touch with the rust belt..

We can discuss strategies and methods of engaging people , but we should never deny , excuse, diminish or sweep under the carpet ugly motivations which inspired people to vote for a narcissistic bigoted egomaniac.

I will not coddle Trump supporters who get high off of the suffering of others, who believe it's their time now, and indulge in sick fantasies of retribution based on some false, misguided sense of persecution.

I will not coddle Trump supporters who disrespect not only me, but people who happen to not be white and christian, and relish the idea of liberals fearful of a Trump presidency .

Because our fear is real. It is a fear that our environment will be totally fucked, that Trump will turn the clock back to 1925, and I'm not here for the narcissism of anyone who thinks their guy winning is more important than the good of the country.

If a Trump supporter behaves like a disgusting human being , don't expect me to respect them.

There are limits to my kindness and empathy, especially if I am not afforded the same courtesy -

EMPATHY IS A TWO WAY STREET.

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:04 AM

1. People here keep doing this. They keep holding up one of their loved ones and saying, "This

person doesn't fit the stereotypical racist, sexist Trump voter, and therefore he is not really to be held accountable. He's different from the others." And then they proceed to detail the ways in which the loved one exactly fits the stereotypical racist, sexist Trump voter.

Here's what you say about him: "And when he targets "others" unlike themselves, they feel safe."

What is it, if not that, that would define your cousin's sexism and racism?

So no, it is most emphatically NOT a voter problem. It is a problem with those people who are racist and sexist. The stereotypical Trump voter. The ones like your cousin. I get it. My brother and a beloved aunt are two of them. But it's time we face what they are.

Trump is not your cousin's blind spot. Your cousin's racism and sexism is his "blind spot" though I would characterize it more as a fatal flaw of Greek tragic proportions. It will get people killed.

Unlike you, I cannot and do not empathize. I DO NOT understand this mindset, and I DO NOT wish to.

The data is showing us that, contrary to the conclusions of the erroneous press and many here at DU, people did not in large numbers switch from Obama to Trump. Instead, Obama voters stayed home, and Trump racists and sexists voted where they usually do not.

We need to get those Obama voters out next time, but we MUST NEVER empathize with any of the sexist, racist Trump voter motivations. They are not acceptable, and they MUST be characterized that way by all of us, all the time.

You have listed the behaviors from Trump supporters that you will not coddle. Well, I will not tolerate the "soft" racism and sexism of ALL Trump voters - YES! ALL OF THEM! - that has led us all into danger and inevitable misery.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:34 AM

5. Laying out the reasons doesn't mean I endorse it...

Empathy doesn't mean I excuse away or justify why trump supporters voted the way they do.

All it means is that I understand - and empathy is tough in Politics.

It is a voter problem because we focus on personalities rather than policies, it's just this time around there was a Demagogue in the wings who knew how to exploit this...

But what I'm really addressing is the idea that to appeal to these people I have to whitewash the reasons they voted for Trump.

I do have a problem with all these efforts to reach out which excuse away racism and sexism- "Trump supporters aren't really sexist" "Trump supporters aren't really racist" not only gaslight me and other "PoC" but everyone who felt the brunt of Trump's BS all year.

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Response to JHan (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 11:01 AM

14. We are probably in general agreement on this. But are you saying you are able to "whitewash"

(good word) their reasons? Or willing?

I think that would be a fatal mistake for us.

And unlike you, I don't understand this great need to give "the other" unnecessary pain even if it means inflicting unnecessary pain on yourself.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 11:08 AM

15. I'm saying I disagree with efforts to "whitewash" ..

Understanding is not the same as making excuses:

I'm unrelenting with my cousin - I call him out on all of it.

And I'm able to get through to him because I get the mindset.

It's one thing to be empathetic and challenge BS, another to be empathetic and dilute that BS for fear of offense- and I think that's what many are doing. Afraid to speak the truth when "reaching out" - You don't have to shout at a Trump supporter or insult them personally to get the point across, but neither should we pretend what happened this year didn't happen. Whether they voted for Agent Orange out of ignorance or their racism, the result was the same - Agent Orange in the White House.

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:04 AM

2. Your cousin likes trump cuz he tells it like it is !



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Response to lunasun (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:06 AM

3. Exactly...............Sigh.

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Response to lunasun (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:06 AM

4. K & R!

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Response to lunasun (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:47 AM

11. Ha! I posted the same cartoon below, before reading the replies to the OP! nt

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:38 AM

6. Your cousin says he doesn't believe that.

Trump will do what he says he'll do. He will do things that he doesn't know he will do.

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Response to coco22 (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:39 AM

8. there are lots of low-information voters out there.

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:39 AM

7. They like a man who "tells it like it is" but ...

when I point out that they're idiots, suddenly *I'm* the asshole.

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Response to dawg (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:45 AM

10. Trump "telling it like it is":



Here is the caption on that cartoon:

“He tells it like it is.”

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:43 AM

9. That Trumpian "brashness" is the aggression display of a male chimpanzee, and

a lot of other chimps are easily fooled by such posturing. Humans are, after call, just jumped up chimpanzees, and the sort of posturing thast most chimps respond to works just as well on a lot of humans.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:52 AM

13. Yes, it explains his support among white men in particular..

who feel aggrieved and left out.

to which I say "welcome to my world, white dudes"

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:49 AM

12. An old, dear friend once told me that she expected my liberalness to tolerate her intolerance.

 

Union school teacher. Mother even.

Went into a voting booth and voted that I shouldn't be an equal person.

I don't have much to say to her right now.

But they DO expect 'us liberals' to be 'tolerant' because we are 'weak' and should just tolerate anything they want.

You cannot educate them. You can only SCHOOL them

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 11:11 AM

16. I have no empathy for Trump voters.

They can wallow in their own shit.

They heard that asshole live on TV call Mexicans rapists and murderers, they heard him call for Muslims to be denied entry and discriminated against solely because of their religion. They heard him call for bringing back Stop And Frisk. They heard him bragging about grabbing women "by the *****". They watched him mock a disabled man.

There's one word I have to describe those who watched and saw all that, and still voted for him.

SCUM.

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