A lot of people are upset about the election still — at least 3 million or so. And that’s not going to change any time soon, especially as the newly inaugurated president restarts the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, coincidentally shuts down the EPA and National Park Service’s communications with the public and disseminates “alternative facts” to the public through his personal flacks. It hasn’t even been a week into the new administration.
But, there’s another chorus of voices, those who can’t abide these bad feelings and rancor, who know that arguing about politics doesn’t solve anything, who wish we could all sit back and give the new guy a chance, who — let’s not kid ourselves — voted for him.
Do not be tempted by these voices, no matter their relationship. They voted for the “party of personal accountability.” If our anger at their decision is making them feel bad: tough sh*t. In the words of the last president, “Elections have consequences,” and chief among those is feeling bad when we’ve done something stupid that hurts a lot of people. And, brother, nobody prevented an oil spill by being polite.
60 million people want to convince everyone that they didn’t mean for everything that’s happening now — an insecure narcissist using the full weight of our most important office to investigate fraud in the election he apparently didn’t win hard enough. That this was an impossible decision between an unhinged person who’s building the Great Wall on our southern border (like he promised) and someone who mismanaged her email and would not repeat Ancient China’s boondoggles. Nobody walked away from this election unclean, right?
Let’s say they’re right. Let’s say that slightly less than half the country pinched their nose to vote unwillingly for Trump and slightly more than half did the same to vote for Clinton. If Clinton had won, how long do we think the “mea culpa” tour would go on? What would Clinton voters have to apologize to Trump’s voters for? Healthcare? Not covering Native Americans in tar sands crude?
Those apologies would not exist because, unlike many Trump voters, Clinton voters actually supported their candidate. They really were “with her.” They didn’t cast a thoughtless protest vote for a television punchline who — surprise — is actually a psychopath who holds press conferences over the size of his inaugural crowd. That’s what happens when people make a conscious, rational decision: they don’t have to feel bad about it.
So, don’t feel sorry for people who voted for Trump and didn’t expect him to really defund Planned Parenthood, repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, submit immigrants to religious tests, build an actual g*ddamn wall in our f*cking desert or appoint the triple platinum-level member of Amway as the Secretary of Education.
Don’t feel sorry for people who voted for Trump and can no longer relate to their friends and family who have real concerns about the world beyond how their take-home pay could be marginally higher. Don’t tone it down so that they don’t have to hear what a stupid thing that was for them to do.
And really don’t feel sorry for people who voted for Trump who actually want all the things he’s doing, but are afraid of what will happen to them if their peers find out. Everyone else has to live these cowards’ decision out loud; why should anyone be immune from the consequences?
How people feel about their decision to vote for Trump is not everyone else’s problem. If they don’t want the constant reminder that everyone thinks they’re at best a dolt, then that possibility should’ve been considered before giving the White House Press room to a conceited man-baby. All anyone can do is live their truth. People who thought that Trump was an acceptable choice don’t get to decide what is and isn’t acceptable to talk about.
We all owe that level of personal accountability to ourselves and each other. Be sorry but not sorry that Facebook makes people feel bad now.