The New York Times has published yet another in its interminable series of articles explaining that Trump's supporters aren't really bad people and we just need to reach out to them:
If, on the other hand, you’re a white liberal whose goal is to foster a more equitable culture, you need to stop yelling “Racist!” at anyone who doesn’t see the world exactly as you do. Somehow you need to find enough common ground for a real conversation about race. Very few people are stupid or irredeemably mean. They’ll listen to what you have to say if they trust you’ll listen to what they have to say back.
I can't be absolutely certain but I'd be willing to bet good money that there is not a single article written between 2000 and today exhorting conservatives to stop calling liberals "traitors" and "terrorist sympathizers". I would be stunned into a coma if the "liberal" New York Times had a single articles suggesting that calling liberals "baby killers" and "Godless atheist monsters" might be pulling the country apart.
I wonder how many pieces about radical leftist activists the Times has published explaining that they're just like everyone else? My guess is somewhere between "Zero" and "Get this fucking article off of my editor's desk. You're fired." That's just what happens when the default position of the press is "Anything conservatives do is permissible and liberals just have to be polite and civil."
To that I say, "Fuck off."
I could write an entire article about how modern conservative politics are toxic to human existence but instead I want to focus just on conservative behavior. The writer of the Times' latest "Can't we all just get along?" article is Margaret Renkl and she waxes poetic about how we're all in this together:
But the grumpy old neighbor who voted for Donald Trump out of frustration with Washington? The high-school classmate who posts an Obama joke on Facebook? The white woman on the plane who tenses up when a Middle Eastern man sits down in the seat beside her? Try not to give up on them yet. These folks are your sisters and brothers. You belong to one another in exactly the same way that you and the targets of their racism belong to one another. Welcome to the Hotel California: You are at the most uncomfortable family reunion ever, and you can never leave.
That is the writing of a white woman drowning in white privilege. These folks are no longer my brothers and sisters. These are soulless monsters that applauded when they saw children being torn from their parents and deliberately abused. And if they didn't openly applaud, they gave their tacit approval by continuing to support Trump.
These folks are not my brothers and sisters. My brothers and sisters would not embrace white nationalism, the ideology of genocide. These folks have said in a very clear voice that I am their enemy and that they will no longer countenance my existence or the existence of my children in "their" white America. These folks are no longer interested, as Renkl describes, in preserving Confederate statues or waving the flag of slavers and traitors to announce their racism to the world. That's not enough anymore. They are now pursuing an agenda of soft ethnic cleansing, working their way up to more aggressive measures to make America white again.
Renkl is blind to the threat because it's not a threat to her. Why would it be? She's not the kind of person Trump and his mob of soulless monsters are trying to eject from the country. She's a nice white Southern woman. She's part of the chosen, by golly!
Maybe if she were Jewish (like me). Or black. Or Gay. Or Muslim. Or Latino (also like me). Or any of the other groups that white nationalists want exterminated (and that is what they want, they're not shy about it), Renkl wouldn't be so sanguine about the prospect of sitting down and just having a nice chat with people who hate you just for existing.
The biggest mistake Renkl makes is to think that we haven't taken the time to listen, really listen, to Trump voters. We have and what we've heard is terrifying.
It's clear from her article that Renkl has not, herself, taken the time to listen, really listen, to Trump voters. Maybe it's time she started.