These are not normal times. In some ways, the current political climate is simple. When the President of the United States is appointing open fascists and white supremacists, it is easy for a rational individual to take sides. Over the last few years I have engaged in countless political conversations on and offline. I would often point out that the extreme right is significantly different than the extreme left because the extreme right is embraced by the Republicans whereas the extreme left is largely ignored by the Democrats. This point has become less and less true over time.
It is easy to explain the dangers of the extreme right because everyone understands what a Nazi is. It goes without saying that bigotry and fascism must be resisted at all costs. Our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought against such things. When you have the President of the United States attempting to ban all immigrants of a certain religion, when you have Republican congresspeople voting against something as simple as giving a woman the same rights as a man, when the Vice-President of the United States is not against so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for people who happen to not be heterosexual, it’s easy to be against them.
I see the current Republican Party as a former bastion of fiscal conservatism that has been entirely corrupted to the point where it has lost any claim of moral high ground and represents a clear and present danger to the future of the United States of America as we know it. They have become a party that embraces hate while claiming to be victims. They are systematically erasing safety nets for poor people under the delusion that anyone who is poor simply is not working hard enough despite the fact that most of them, including the President got their money from their parents. The cognitive dissonance involved in being a Trump-supporting modern day Republican boggles my mind.
We are at war right now. That war is a class war. And so far, all of the casualties have been on the side of the poor. They do not get too many headlines because rather than using tanks and bombs, Republicans use laws and fear to do their killing. This is not to say that poor people are not being shot. They are being shot every day. Some are shooting themselves as frustration turns to despair. Some are getting shot in domestic disputes. And far too many are being shot in the street by police officers so afraid for their own safety that they would rather shoot an unarmed black man than chance that he might have a gun. Worst of all, it is a class war that all Republicans and too many Democrats refuse to admit is even happening.
If this is war (and it is), then who we ally ourselves with is less important than their resolve to defeat the enemy and what they bring to the table. In World War II Allied soldiers did not spend a lot of time making sure that the soldier next to them wasn’t a racist. All that mattered was that they were willing to fight the enemy. In this case, if you want to take Trump and his ilk down and oppose them at every turn, I do not care who you voted for or if you even voted in 2016. All I care about is if you want to stop this shit show as quickly as possible. If you do, then we are allies. Period. I don’t care if you’re a so-called ‘Bernie Bro’, if you’re ‘Still With Her’, if you regret your voted for Trump, if you voted for Stein, if you wrote in your girlfriend’s name, or if you just wish you would have voted at all. It does not matter. Not in this war.
This leads me to the biggest problem the extreme left has. It is one of the reasons we failed in 2016. It is the one thing that can stop us in 2018 and 2020. We need to stop eating our own.
Last week Bill Maher and Cornel West argued about West’s calling the 2016 Presidential election a choice between a disaster and a catastrophe. Maher was indignant that West would dismiss Hillary in such a way. West went on about if only Bernie had been given a fair chance. Maher pointed out that literally anyone is better than Trump and logically endorsing Hillary in 2016 to stop Trump was the only choice. I would go on, but even if you haven’t seen the clip, you know this argument. You have probably had this argument. I know I have. Probably a few dozen times. They both have valid points and they are both wrong. I have been wrong when I have attacked Bernie supporters for being so stupid as to not vote against Trump. None of this matters. Bernie supporters should not be attacking Cory Booker. Hillary supporters need to get over the fact that some people will never like her no matter what. West and Maher arguing does nothing for our cause and helps only people like Donald Trump.
It goes further than this though. And here is where I expect things will get a bit uncomfortable for some people. This is not comfortable for me. I oppose bigotry because seeing an entire group of people as less than people is wrong. When someone is called out on their bigotry a common response is for the bigot to say that their accuser is actually a bigot…against bigots. This is not unlike a domestic violence perpetrator saying that calling him an abuser is abuse. And yet, there is a sliver of truth here. It is not abuse to call an abuser an abuser. But if we called that person an abuser and locked them in a cell by themselves 24 hours a day in solitary confinement, that is clearly abuse. Similarly if we call someone a bigot and then treat them as less than people, we are being bigoted. It is a fine line, but I think it’s an important one. The same smug feeling of superiority present in a Neo-Nazi is also present in the self-righteous left wing social justice warrior and in both cases it is a malignant affectation.
The solution to this is not an easy one. We must continue to condemn bigotry in all its forms. We must also continue to resist the urge to feel self-righteous. We must condemn without dismissing. We must reject without excluding. We must treat our enemy better than they treat us. And we must set aside our individual differences and recognize that our enemy is in the White House because in large part we were too busy fighting each other to fight the true enemy. It is okay if the person next to you or the person running for office does not share your every value. It is okay if we vehemently disagree on some issues.
Do you agree that Trump needs to be stopped and that resistance at this point has become a patriotic duty? Then you’re my ally. We can settle our other differences after we have won. Let us have the courage to accept each other’s differences. This need not be a weakness. The history of America shows it can well be our greatest strength.
– Jack Cameron