Don’t Worry. Do Listen.

Trascists won’t become violent – while the lights are on.

There’s a lot of worry about how the Orangutan’s followers might become violent after they lose the election.  That’s a real danger, but there’s a kind of self-selection process in effect here. A person with any courage would not, almost by definition, be a Trumpeter. Self-pity, blaming others for bad choices in life, fear of the Other, wrapping yourself in the flag so that when people salute you think it’s you they’re saluting – those are not aspects of courage.

Not that I think they are not capable of violence – quite the contrary.  But night and secrecy, disguise, and vastly superior numbers are their way, the way of cowardice.  They will certainly not fill the streets in the light of day; the back alley, silently, in hoods and sheets, is where they’ll be.

And of course, only against the weak.  Thus always with the mob, as Mark Twain pointed out: The defenseless, the children, the old, those are preferred targets as they move through the night, disguised and in numbers – the Trascists will take no chances of being in any danger themselves. If I remember my Huck Finn correctly, Mr. Clemens thought a 12-to-1 advantage is their minimum, and who am I to challenge that?

Hasn’t this always been the way with the far right?  Who have they ever attacked or worked against politically who was strong enough to fight back?  Taking food from the poor and from children, people who have little if any ability to push back politically – if they had, the R’s wouldn’t target them.

So, no rabid Trumpeters in the streets – at least, not in the daylight.  A Trascist is a coward.  If he or she wasn’t, she wouldn’t listen to The Donald.

But here’s the thing I do worry about.  I want there to be a landslide, to slap this man to the ground – even while, as I show elsewhere, I have enormous sympathy for this unfortunate, tortured, hobbled mind who’s being sucked up almost by accident into a whirlwind sown by the racism and cruelty of the Republicans for the last forty years.  Yes, he is contemptible.  But it’s also not really his fault.  And he is in pain – a pain, despite his appearance of a pampered life, I hope you never feel.

I can’t say what I’d like to – that he’ll be all right.  He’ll never be ‘right’.  But he’s just one man.  It’s his followers, and their pain, that I worry about.  A rejection of Trump will seem to them like yet another dismissal of their pain, their anger, their fear.

It’s complicated, as I speak of in other places here.  One side is deeply angry, deeply disconnected; angry people are very rarely able to analyze their own feeling and perceptions, so they both mis-identify the source of it and are easily led by the victim-milking industry to ridiculous conclusions and often self-damaging actions.  But their anger is real, serious, dangerous, and needs to be addressed.  If you believe in democracy, you are committed to listening not just to those who agree with you but even more closely to those who don’t.

The things the Trascists are saying are all uniformly wrong.  No, new Americans are not a threat, but a source of great creativity.  No, the undocumented are not sucking up our resources; quite the opposite, most pay taxes they’ll seldom if ever get a benefit from, and to the degree they are any problem, it’s a problem that can be solved most easily by acceptance. Other people’s private decisions, whether who to sleep with, who to marry, what language to speak, what to smoke in your pipe, whether to carry a baby full term – those things and many more are simply none of your, or my, business.

That’s a big part of their anger.  They feel that the rest of us are interfering in their decisions, their lives. They feel, as they are right to feel, that their own lives and interests are being usurped by choices we feel justified in making for them and demanding they accept.  They are angry, they think we’re not hearing them, and though they are right about little else, they’re right about that.

But do you think straight when angry and frightened? No, you don’t. That’s not a failing – it’s the way our minds work, for good or ill.

So I ask you, please: Don’t dismiss these many, many people.  Look past the silly, insulting things they say.  They are doing what you would probably do in their place, if you felt that disconnected from our developing, expanding culture.  Look beyond their words, to the hearts and minds of the frightened humans behind them.

I worry that a great loss, so reassuring to most, including me, will be yet another time their pain and their importance has been rejected as just so much noise and bother.

What has our nation become that so many would feel they are not a part of it?  If you believe in democracy –

You must listen, and hear the pain behind the often foolish words and misdirected anger.

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