This is a guest post from Allen Harris. Allen is an advocate of Gamergate and a voice in favour of considering all sides of an argument. You can follow him on Twitter here: @crash_matrix. If you want to be a guest blogger on Godlessmom.com, click here.
It’s a very difficult proposition, explaining tRump supporters to those who hate tRump. Most are simply unwilling to listen, because they view tRump’s supporters as evil, or stupid, or hateful. But it’s not black and white. Many of these “evil” people are my friends, and their motivations are much more sensible than has been portrayed in media and social media.
Now I didn’t vote for tRump, I voted for Johnson. In fact, I was very much opposed to tRump and actively advocated against him as a candidate. However, as to his supporters, we share certain important traits, and it’s these cross-overs that I can speak to. And I say they’re important because, in my discussions with tRump supporters, these appear to be common traits among them all.
Try, if you are so willing, to think of a person. This person has a set of political views – views that aren’t popular. They’re not evil or hateful, but not popular.
We’ll take, as an example, the absolutely-never-controversial-in-a-million-years political issue of “illegal immigration”. Set aside your distaste for people who oppose illegal immigration for a moment – that bias will make it impossible to enter the mindset of this imaginary person.
Have you set aside your distaste?
No, seriously, don’t lie – set it aside.
Let’s say this person has taken a position that illegal immigration is harmful to either him, his family or his country. Perhaps he lost his job to one. Perhaps not. Perhaps he witnessed many instances of crimes being committed by illegal immigrants. Perhaps not.
Whether this position is accurate is irrelevant to our discussion – what’s relevant is that this person…let’s call him Jim…What’s important is that Jim really does believe that – there’s no hate for Mexicans or latinos here – just a real belief that illegal immigration is doing some sort of tangible, reasonably preventable harm.
Jim sees a number of people every day he knows, or believes he has a reasonable belief, have immigrated here illegally. He takes exception to this, because of his belief that they are contributing to a harm being done.
Does Jim go out, put on a hood, brandish a gun and attack these immigrants, or perhaps destroy their property, in an illegal attempt to scare them into leaving?
No – Jim writes his Congressman, and the local papers, and takes to social media, expressing rhetorically that he’s seeing “too many immigrants here illegally, contributing to harm being done”.
Enter, the Others
A local news station notices Jim’s op-ed in the local paper, and, misconstruing his arguments, paints him out to hate Mexicans. This local news piece is picked up by larger media enterprises and rolled into a larger narrative of “all these people who hate Mexicans”.
The nation, and the world, absent the nuance of Jim and others shown in the larger media’s sport, is shocked to see how many people in America “hate Mexicans”. How can America, the Greatest Nation in the World, have such hate, such racism, such bigotry, in such large amounts?
Jane, a die-hard Democrat activist, sees this large media company’s spot, and notices Jim’s twitter handle. She tweets to her 40,000 followers that this person, and others she’s identified, is a horrible racist. A mob ensues, pelting Jim’s Twitter and Facebook accounts with vitriol and hate.
“Get out of my country, you racist bastard!” they, by the thousands, hastily type on their keyboards.
Jim is inundated – for every user to which he explains that his issue was just with immigrants circumventing immigration law, and doing harm, 20 more users throw hate onto his mentions.
Finally, Jim just can’t keep up, and chooses to close his social media accounts. He feels, quite justly, that noone is listening to him. The media deliberately misconstrued his comments to make him look like a hateful monster, and keyboard warriors, with contempt, didn’t care about his defenses. Nobody cares what he thinks. They ignore his reasons, don’t listen to his arguments, and white-was him as hateful, racist.
Another win for liberal ideals, right?
No, it isn’t. A mob using sheer force of numbers, and media deliberately warping his comments, all to shut him down, is expressly illiberal.
So, What to Do?
So, what happened next? How does this Jim thing have anything to do with tRump?
Well, Jim has a friend. A tRump supporter. And they get to talking.
“tRump INFURIATES the establishment, Jim, ” Jim’s friends tells him. “You want to get back at the establishment – the media and the government, for not listening to you? For labeling you a racist without good cause? Vote for tRump – nothing will piss off those keyboard cowboys, those Senators, those journalists more – than if tRump wins.”
Jim sneaks back onto social media. He notices how VITRIOLIC these people are about tRump. How smug they are about tRump’s chances of winning. How much they get agitated when his name is even mentioned, or his face displayed on television.
“WHY ARE YOU GIVING THIS BUFFOON A PLATFORM?!” They scream from their fingers to their keyboards. “ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THIS GUY HATES WOMEN AND MEXICANS!!”
The more he watches, the more Jim feels a comradery with tRump.
“That’s it, ” Jim says to himself. “That’s how I can get back at them. A vote for tRump? That’s what I can do.”
So, to express his outrage, Jim decides he’ll vote for tRump, and seek out and “bring into the flock” anyone else who’s had to deal with what he’s had to deal with.
He doesn’t riot. He doesn’t burn down buildings, or block traffic, or kill police. He doesn’t call people’s work and try to get them fired for openly opposing tRump.
He chooses to exercise his constitutional right to advocate and vote for tRump. That’s all.
And the movement snowballs, because, much to Jim’s surprise, he finds there are millions of people who’ve had similar experiences.
This is the common theme I’ve observed among the supporters of tRump with whom I’ve talked. Every single one has a similar story – though some of the details change, the theme stays the same: They had a relatively benign political belief that they expressed, and found themselves portrayed as monsters, or idiots, or rednecks, just for expressing it.
And this doesn’t stop at beliefs on illegal immigration. It extends far beyond that – being called racist for criticizing criminal acts committed under the banner of BlackLivesMatter; being called a woman-hater for believing that protected life begins at conception; being called sexist for criticizing radical feminism; being called stupid for wanting lower taxes. The list goes on ad nauseum.
This is what fueled the tRump movement.
Now that you know, what are you going to do?
This was a guest post from Allen Harris. Allen is an advocate of Gamergate and a voice in favour of considering all sides of an argument. You can follow him on Twitter here: @crash_matrix. If you want to be a guest blogger on Godlessmom.com, click here.