The Dangerous Voices of America, Amplified and Televised

A couple of days ago Clay Shirky posted Tweets which should explain why and how Donald Trump has any support among the American electorate.  It’s an article that should be read, reviewed, and taken to heart.  Here’s a bit of the piece:

“I want to say something to my liberal white friends: Trump talked a lot of shit last night, but not one word of “I am your voice!” was a lie”

— Clay (((Shirky))) (@cshirky) July 22, 2016

Trump IS the voice of angry whites. He wasn’t on stage because he has unusual views. He was on stage because he has the usual ones, loudly.

— Clay (((Shirky))) (@cshirky) July 22, 2016

He is the voice of whites who want their neighbors deported if they speak Spanish. He is the voice of whites terrorized by seeing a hijab.

— Clay (((Shirky))) (@cshirky) July 22, 2016

He is the voice of people who think legal & cultural privileges for white conservative Protestants are God’s plan, not a bias to be overcome

— Clay (((Shirky))) (@cshirky) July 22, 2016

He is the voice of people who hear ‘hard-working’ as a synonym for ‘white.’ He is the voice of people who think black lives matter less.

— Clay (((Shirky))) (@cshirky) July 22, 2016

He speaks for millions.”

There are some other facets to cope with as well, Trump speaks for those who believe that if people in a room are speaking [Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, or German…] it must be because they are saying something they don’t want the “Americans” to understand.

His is the voice of people who don’t mind seeing Hispanic maids cleaning their hotel rooms, but don’t want them speaking up about making a living wage.  Or asking for better working conditions on farms, or asking for much of anything for that matter.  “They” are taking “American jobs,” according to the voice of Trumpism.  However, that doesn’t stop the Trumpers from demanding they do the work.  His is the voice of those who decry immigration from Central and South America, but “like the immigrants;” they just wish there weren’t so many of them.

His is the voice of all those neighbors we’ve heard who are outraged by the offer from the answering services that if we like to have the customer assistance in Spanish, please press “2.”

His is the voice of those who conveniently forget that Great-grandfather  came here and didn’t speak English, but now three generations later none of the descendants can do much more than order food in the original language.

His is the voice of those who denounce racism while adamantly opining that if “they” would just act more “white” there would be fewer problems.

His is the voice of the woman horrified that the lady sitting next to her wearing the hijab might be a “terrorist,” while nodding respectfully at a nun in her habit.  His is the voice of the man who can’t tell the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh, and doesn’t really care if there is one.

His is the voice of the person who believes that having to live in a country in which members of the LGBT community are open and honest about their relationships is “oppressing,” i.e. because the individual is uncomfortable with gay and lesbian people therefore he is “oppressed” if he is required to be tolerant towards them.

His is the voice of those who believe that if some one unlike himself is granted the full advantages of citizenship and freedom then it must be at his expense, without realizing he is arguing for white supremacy and institutional racism.

His is the voice of those who believe that there’s nothing wrong with flying the Stars and Bars – it’s just heritage.  That it is a heritage of hate isn’t to be acknowledged.  In short, Trump is the voice of Tribalism.

His is the voice of the person who thinks it’s President Obama’s duty to make him feel comfortable; and should the President offer an African-American perspective on an issue, then he is the one being “divisive.”

Unless someone has invented a magic solution to erase racism, misogyny, bigotry, and irrationality in the last month or so, these people will be going to the polls in droves to express their fears, their anxieties, and in some unfortunate instances their hatred.

They don’t care if Trump lies – he’s their voice, amplified and televised. They don’t care if he’s a hypocrite whose products are manufactured in the countries he attacks – he’s their voice, amplified and televised.  They don’t care if he’s got the foreign policy experience of a hamster – he’s their voice, amplified and televised.

Shirky’s advice is important, we have to campaign as if we are the minority, always remembering that there are now insidious Voter ID laws in 33 states, and gerrymandering in so many others.

Challenge the Trumper in the family – Are you really going to vote for a man who would deny healthcare for your wife and daughter? Are you really going to vote for a man who thinks African Americans are inherently violent/lazy? Are you really going to vote for a man who believes that NATO is something to be toyed with?   Are you going to vote for a man who has the support of white nationalists?  The usual response comes back, “I like him because he says what he thinks.”  If so, is he saying what YOU think?

Challenge the system – donate, donate, donate, when and as much as you can.  Help where you can and how you can. And every moment from now until election day remember that 40% of Americans believe Trump is speaking in their Voice.

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