Sam Altman, a gullible Silicon Valley entrepreneur with no sociological qualifications, sent himself on a self-appointed mission to talk to Trump supporters. This was an
interesting and helpful experience, he says, although I’m fed up with attempts to puzzle out what Trumpkins have to say, so it was the opposite of interesting to me, and he fails to explain what’s
helpful about yet another set of rationalizations. In particular, his “TL;DR summary” of the various conversations is just self-serving extortion, and no, I neither accept this claim nor am I going to obey this suggestion.
“You all can defeat Trump next time, but not if you keep mocking us, refusing to listen to us, and cutting us out. It’s Republicans, not Democrats, who will take Trump down.”
We’ve been listening. We’ve been listening a lot. And it’s the same old crap that justifies mocking them. Like this quote:
“Stop calling us racists. Stop calling us idiots. We aren’t. Listen to us when we try to tell you why we aren’t. Oh, and stop making fun of us.”
But…they are racists! This is a racist comment:
“I’m so tired of hearing about white privilege. I’m white but way less privileged than a black person from your world. I have no hope my life will ever get any better.”
So is this:
“He is anti-immigration.” Note: This sentiment came up a lot. The most surprising takeaway for me how little it seemed to be driven by economic concerns, and how much it was driven by fears about “losing our culture,” “safety,” “community,” and a general Us-vs.-Them mentality.
We can hear them saying they’re not racist, and then making racist comment after racist comment. But then we’re supposed to not mention that what they’re saying is incredibly racist? Why not?
I think it’s way past time we stopped making nice with racists. If it hurts their feelings to point out that they’re racists, there are a couple of ways to resolve it: a) they could change and stop endorsing racist ideas, or b) we could obey their demands and be quiet about their racism.
Option B is no longer tenable, if it ever was. The ball is not in our court, but in theirs.
Then there is this: they say that the way Trump “talks about women is despicable”, but apparently not despicable enough to prevent them for voting for him, and then say stuff like this:
“He is anti-abortion.” Note: This sentiment came up a lot. A number of people I spoke to said they didn’t care about anything else he did and would always vote for whichever candidate was more anti-abortion.
They’re not only racist, but anti-woman. They don’t want us to say anything about Trump’s misogyny, or their implicit support for it.
Sam Altman isn’t very good at this cultural analysis stuff — he seems to accept everything the Trump voters say at face value, and then he turns around to chastise liberals for being mean to the Trumpkins. Not mean enough, I say: we need to make it crystal clear that their vile behavior is not acceptable.
“The left is more intolerant than the right.” Note: This concept came up a lot, with real animosity in otherwise pleasant conversations.
Then stop doing intolerable things, and we can be tolerant. Otherwise, we’re done standing silent while they promote racism and misogyny.
Also, we’ll keep calling idiots who voted for a narcissistic, incompetent toddler idiots, thank you very much.