One of the most disheartening things I deal with on social media is confronting the fact that some of my veteran friends have accepted Donald Trump... Or at least his perverted view of patriotism. We’ve been through some tough situations together, so our bond is very strong, even though we hate each other’s ideologies. Hate, by the way, is not too strong a word.
Normally, between our posts about families and past experiences, we’ll put something up—a meme, for example—that cuts hard. They normally bite their tongue when I post something political, and I normally do the same, unless I just can’t. When we do engage, we make it a point to attack the public figure(s) or the idea, not each other. There are lines, of course. I had no qualms unloading on a former friend (and blocking him) when he posted garbage about “child crisis” actors in shootings.
Surprisingly, at least regarding my little group of Trumpists, there is some diversity. These are communities that are constantly under attack by Trump and his goons, and surely they have to know they would never be accepted into his orbit, except as a prop. However, one of his most prolific defenders is a Hispanic woman I served with. She conflates criticism of her country with hatred of country—at least when a Republican is in charge. She raged during the NFL kneeling controversy. She posted some nonsense about all these “attacks on our president” meant no one wanted to join the military and complained that everyone is too focused on gender neutrality.
There were plenty of other posts, but you get the gist.
Trump did his racist tweets.
This was followed by the entire GOP justifying saying “Go back to your country.” This sent me on a bit of a tirade. I posted that I don’t care how much you hate someone: it is NEVER okay to tell someone that—especially since it’s only ever directed at brown or black-skinned individuals. I also ranted about how cowardly my Senator, Marco Rubio, has been regarding these tweets. His family fled poverty in Cuba. Rubio constantly criticized our former president, and I can’t imagine Obama ever saying something like that to him in frustration. I’m pretty damn sure if he did, the GOP wouldn’t say it was justified.
My friend liked what I wrote, which surprised me. That never happens.
Then my friend posted something that surprised me even more.
It was a direct link to a veteran’s Facebook post.
I originally posted the direct link to her Facebook, but I wasn’t sure that was something I should do here. I found a story about it and tweeted it so I could share it. (The story carries the direct link she posted.) See below:
I liked the post. (Well, I put the frowny face to it, anyway.) I can’t express how much disdain I have for these racist scumbags. My friend was livid.
Yet what she posted the next day didn’t just surprise me, but blew my freaking mind.
I haven’t seen a mention of Trump since.
I loved this post so much I have borrowed it. I don’t know where it came from, but it makes me happy just looking at it. Before I move on, I just have to say how much I admire these women. The “Squad” has been through so much; see, for example, what I just wrote about Rashida Tlaib. Trump has now put their lives in danger. Yet they have no fear and are still out there each day fighting for our rights and freedoms. They are the very definition of strength and patriotism to counter Trump’s fear and treason.
I know this story is anecdotal: In fact, after Trump’s racist tweets, his support actually grew among white supremacists and republicans—who are getting harder and harder to tell apart these days. This doesn’t surprise me at all and reinforces the point that these losers aren’t worth trying to seek a “middle ground” with.
And no, this wasn’t some sort of “strategy” about his base or Democratic Socialism—that’s just spin after he was caught off guard with the backlash. The point here is Trump badly needs to expand beyond his base to win, and this latest racist tirade against four strong women of color has spiked his disapproval rating among independents. 54% of independents now say they will DEFINITELY NOT vote for him. His potential voter pool has shrunk. Millennials who voted Green may not be so inclined to make a protest vote, and suburbanites in swing states are fed up.
And then there are the Trump-loving conservatives who look like my friend: people who finally realized they weren’t ever exempt from his bigotry and hatred.
I have been engaging and arguing with her ever since the 2016 election. Yet the orange Twitler was able to do something in just one racist tweet that I haven’t been able to do with dozens of arguments in two years: change her mind.
America is getting younger, darker, and more tolerant every day; pretty much the polar opposite of the GOP. Embracing racism is a losing strategy, no matter what they try to tell you.
And racism has consequences.