A Quick Rant Regarding Trump’s Victory

RE: Donald Trump’s Nomination

There’s a tendency to think this event is some great regress in moral progress, and some new phase of American political or wider culture. It seems to me, however, that this is untrue, and that the widespread belief that this election is significantly regressive is a sign of widespread ignorance, particularly, of the culture.

I simply ask, in what respect has the nation backslid? Perhaps the electing of Barrack Obama marked significant progress, and perhaps that Hilary Clinton could win the popular vote does too. But how would Trump’s victory strip America of those progressive events, and the progress underlying them? How has it indicated that the culture, or, really, the people determining the culture, have suddenly become worse than they were before? Have we truly ever stopped being the people who would cane Sumner?

I doubt the American public has changed very drastically, especially in the last decade: I’ve sat in schools and in Churches–two large mirrors and influencers of culture. There, I have seen willful and sinful hate, purposeful ignorance and genuine confusion–a people who have not changed. I can truly claim that I was “plugged in” to much of the environment typical Trump supporters arise out of. And in 2008, the people around me were the same as they are today: I fully expected those people to vote the way they did.

People as a whole don’t change much, though individuals might. Human nature, if we believe in such an essence, is fundamentally the same through time, with all of its powers to do evil or to do good remaining intact, though variously hindered or enabled.

A myth of significant social progress has been propagated by appearances: currently political correctness and progressive values are in vogue, and are supported by legislation. But a trending fashion is something often not endorsed by the majority, unless you take the fashionable to be the majority and exclude all others. Many, if not most, remain unmoved: even law does not reflect those under it. To be shocked that something unfavorable, something so out of fashion, no matter how intensely we despise it, occurred in our lifetime, is naive. The shock felt by so many leads me to think that we’ve become a people of appearances, in that our conceptions of others have been shaped by their external attributes–what the many have been allowed to say and do, not what they would like to. Self interest rains supreme, in everyone’s hearts, and few overcome it, despite appearances.

Trump’s victory should come as no surprise: he’s been here all along.

2 thoughts on “A Quick Rant Regarding Trump’s Victory

Add yours

  1. First I want to say, I appreciate your calm thoughtful comments trying to understand what going on. I think there is truth in what you are saying but it seems one-sided. This is not clear and I could be wrong about this. In one sense you are not taking a side, but it seems you are implying or assuming one side is legit and one not. I realize that is not the point of what you a writing, but I think there is also purposeful ignorance and genuine confusion on the side of the anti-trumpers. I think given the prevailing cultural and media driven value of inclusion and tolerance it is harder for the non-trumpers to see this, as that is the core ethic they embrace. In particular, those in your demographic have been raised in this cultural milieu. It is the air that is breathed. Keep in mind, I am saying that as someone who DID NOT VOTE FOR and does not like DT. I think DT was a mistake. The point of all this is I think that seeing his supporters through the lenses of hate and racism is a mistake. A huge mistake. It is more of a symptom of the deeper issues and it is in large part a reaction created by an elite secular mentality.
    I also would dispute the caning of Sumner comment. As to human nature, you’re correct, we have not changed, that is fixed in its core of orientation to the self, but I think most Trump supporter would not agree to nearly beating someone to death in support of slavery, much less believe in slavery or segregation or Jim Crow, or generally infringing on the lives of other. (yes there is disagreement on abortion, pot and gay marriage regarding how infringement is defined) Anyway, I assume that is what you mean, although, that would surprises me, so I’m not sure. No we have not moved past Sumner in that human nature has not changed, but I think we have as an overall culture as the majority of people believe in live and let live, but they feel that they are the ones are not allowed to live and believe as they want without being labels as some kind of Neanderthal hillbilly. Compound this insult, their life style is being pulled out from under their feet. The day after the election, the lady I sit next at work was ranting about the hillbilly apocalypse and the hillbillies have taken over. I realize she was in shock. I don’t think most people expected Hill to lose, so I get her frustrated shock. This is the stuff books are written about, so my little comment is from the hip and very general so, I’m sure I’m missing a lot.
    As you can probably tell, this issue frustrates me in part because I think there is at least as much misunderstanding of each other on the various side, and as usual, the other is EVIL. We need to find ways to build bridges of understanding. Having said all that I will send you a series of scholarly articles that I consider to the best on this issue.
    Michael Lucas

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, the hillbilly apocalypse. This post was written in response to that sort of overreaction and apocalyptic thinking. So I simply want to write from a perspective assuming liberal values, and argue that, even on that view, this isn’t some cultural regress. It comes with less epistemic burdens in this case.

      I think you can tell that I don’t like DT, and that I find the massive support for him unsettling. But, and I’ve said this elsewhere, with great backlash, I understand the motivations for supporting Trump, and I think believing that the cause of Trump’s victory lies in a bigoted or an evil support-base is foolish.

      I will fully admit, I do not know enough about HC to feel comfortable coming to any judgements, and I am not at all confident in my views on legislation regarding abortion, etc. And that is just because I have a hard time sifting through the BS, and also do not have the time or energy to dedicate myself to having solid opinions on those policies. Maybe I should.

      So, I have little stake in the game. I have great sympathies for the pro-life movement, and stand with them in terms of ethics. But legislation is tricky. I also side with more Left leaning policies, too, regarding drug legalization, and public education.

      At the very least, what I want to say is that nothing much has changed: if any media is to be trusted, it seems that violence has broken out on both sides, and that there’s been plenty of evil brought to the surface. But my point is to emphasize that the evil has been brought to the surface, instead of somehow recently caused (I take a social regress to be a sort of caused change).

      And that is exactly my point: have we really changed from being the people who would cane Sumner? I doubt it: even though most have adopted a “live and let live” policy, when a threat is perceived to their way of life, violence erupts. Like I said, I completely understand the underlying motivation towards violence or towards immoral ways of thinking/believing, but I do not understand and can show no pity at all on those who choose to act out. I do think that those who choose violence are evil to a greater degree than others. And this is, hopefully, a small portion of the Trump or Hillary supporters. I don’t wish to make the claim that supporters of Trump would cane Sumner, to stick with that illustration, but that many would: and that is probably true for both sides.


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