Here in America, the election is coming to a climax, and everyday things get weirder, crazier, and more and more exasperating.
This past week I have had enough. I was pushed to my limit after hearing Trump’s talking heads and surrogates condemn Clinton for her “basket of deplorables” comment. I lost it when I heard them attempt to twist her words after she called out a faction of this country we have all been ashamed of. When she mentioned a fact we already knew, that those people we are ashamed of have recently become emboldened and have decided they have a place at the table.
They took the comment out of context and twisted it into something ugly and untrue. This time, I am pissed.
On the surface I get it. If I hadn’t taken the time to find out what Clinton had said exactly, if I had just taken Trump’s word for it, if I only heard his attack ad, I might be offended too. Luckily, the Internet exists, and humans possess the gift of logical thinking, mostly.
Luckily, I am here to explain things.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
“But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.“
I took the liberty of emphasizing the important parts for you.
Clinton starts by saying not only is she grossly generalizing but she’s only talking about half of Trump supporters. This is an instance of “If it offends you it might apply to you, and if it doesn’t apply to you, you shouldn’t be offended.”
Clinton didn’t say all Trump supports; she didn’t even say half of all Americans. She said what we all already know to be true. That the kind of people who hold sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic views tend to say they are in support of Trump. Hell, we all know that those kinds of people tend to support Republicans in general. This is nothing new.
Not all Republicans or Trump supports are like that; we know that. We know that there is more to being conservative too. There are issues of fiscal responsibility and personal liberty, but we also know that these matters have been overshadowed.
There is a fear among many Americans that the Republicans who are saying those hateful things are the ones who are going to be running that party and possibly running this country. That is why it is important for Clinton to point out which party that particular group of people has decided to join.
I think we can all agree that sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, eat., have no place in America. We know that.We all know we should be accepting of people who are different from us. We know that is what America is supposed to be about. Freedoms to be who you are regardless of where you have come from.
What I see, and what many other non-Republicans see, is a party that accepts the people who think America is only for people who look and believe a certain way. They give those people a home and make promises to them for votes, and that is very dangerous. Republicans think they can shelter and condemn all at once. Republicans think they can spin the support of these “deplorables” and continue to cry innocence. Clinton is pointing out the fallacy and the danger of this hypocrisy.
Whatever you may think of Clinton, she told the truth up there. The fact is, people who hold such hateful views tend to support the Republican Party. In 2008 The American National Election Studies ran a poll and found that 45% of white Americans he’d negative views of black people, in 2012 that number had jumped to 62%. Those people were also heavily skewed toward Republican, and we know they still are. That poll only looked at racial bias, what about sexism and homophobia/transphobia?
The folks over at FiveThirtyEight discussed this very topic and shared a lot of data and opinion. They concluded that not only do most people who hold those views tend to identify as Republican but that they preferred Trump over any other Republican candidate. I think we can safely say that whether or not half of Trump’s supporters are deplorable isn’t the point. The point is, he is definitely their candidate of choice, and there is nothing at all wrong with pointing that out.
Hell, even Trump himself has used questionable language. He’s blamed immigrants for everything going wrong in this country and even called them criminals and rapists. He told Black people that they had nothing to lose since they were already living in poverty and sending their children to crappy schools. He wants to ban all Muslims and has accused refugees seeking safety within our borders of being terrorists. In my opinion, he is one of the “deplorables” Clinton is talking about.
Some say calling these people names and condemning them might be making the problem worse. They say instead we should be showing them that the people they hate are in fact people, and you change their mind. They sat we should lead by example. The logic behind it is sound; there may even be science behind it, but the reality is, we’ve tried that, and we are tired.
I am now in favor of a two-pronged approach. Yeah, use empathy and understanding and lead the horse to the water, sure, but sometimes a little tough love will do the trick.
Sometimes “deplorables” need to be reminded of what they are. They are always in danger of believing that their views are not only right but widely held, and I think it’s a good idea to say “Hey, you are hateful, and there is no place in the future of this country for hateful people.”
That being said, I do encourage everyone to begin emphasizing the second part of Clinton’s statement. She mentioned the people who legitimately support the Republicans, and I do believe there is a legitimate reason to be a Republican. They are the people who worry about our economy, our freedom, and our military. They see a different set of problems and propose a different set of solutions. Those people do have a place in this country. Those people are worth listening to and understanding.
Those people are a part of America too.
Clinton is saying she has heard them. Clinton is saying they matter. She is urging her supporters to hear them too.
That was the point of her speech.
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Original image via Gage Skidmore