Trump Voters: I blame you.

Actually, I think “blame” is the wrong word. Better: I hold you responsible.

It feels like many Trump voters wish the rest of the country wouldn’t hold them responsible for the things Trump is doing, as the backlash intensifies and settles in for the long haul. I still see posts and tweets from Trump voters that seem to be saying, “why are you so upset at me?” or “Why isn’t your criticism ‘balanced’ to include [Obama/Clinton/protesters]?”. But the criticism should not be “balanced” like that, and the nation absolutely should hold you responsible for Trump’s behavior, for some good reasons (none of which are “you’re a bad person”).

  1. You are the main hope for change.
  2. You won.
  3. It’s your mess.

Explained below.

1. You are the main hope for change. Non-Republicans are already almost 100% opposed to the lies, discriminatory policies, vicious and petty speech, hostility to the constitution, and rejection of the rule of law coming from this administration by the bucketload. Conservatives who object to some or all of Trump’s actions are the remaining “moving parts.” Everyone else is pulling; you’re standing there worried about what your family would say.

2. The criticism should be directed at you because your guy (and your Congress) is in charge. You’re not the insurgency; you’re the occupation. You’re not the rebels; you’re the empire. You’re not the resistance; you’re the government. Complaints about the government’s actions go to your representatives and to you, the constituency who voted them in. As Trump has emphasized so vehemently, you won. Accept the responsibility that comes with that.

3. You really are responsible for this mess. Democracy. Even if you voted as a “lesser of two evils” thing, you thought this level of evil was acceptable. This is your mess. Trump has behaved almost exactly as he said he’d behave. He is exactly the man you voted for, and now he runs the country. Further, if you identify as Republican or conservative, Trump and the GOP Congress are your representatives–they represent your desires for government. If you haven’t vocally objected to the gerrymandering and voter suppression that got Trump elected, or to the steady flow of transparent lies and constitutional violations coming from the administration, why shouldn’t everyone else assume you agree with them? You’ve told us you’re conservative, and then said nothing else while leaders of the conservative faction have done these things. Of course you’re complicit, unless you speak up.

Note about #3: If you really only voted for (or otherwise supported) Trump out of fear of Killary or concern about abortion, etc., then now is the time to make that known–for the next four years, repeatedly. You knew you were making a deal with the devil, so there’s no need to tell your neighbors that now you really do love him, now you’ve gotten to know him better. Conservatives had no problem with dissent for 8 years; remember how that felt. Speak aloud those doubts and concerns you were so vocal with before the primaries. Become a freedom fighter. You don’t have to join the standard band of ragtag rebels; you can make your own. You don’t need to protest for the environment or women’s rights; you can protest for upholding the constitution (hell, you can even be a constitutional originalist for all I care). Become a McMullin supporter. But stop being silent. If you’re silent, and you are “a conservative,” the world will assume–and why shouldn’t we?–that you agree with Trump’s actions. And if you do agree with Trump’s actions, just accept that people will be upset with you. You support someone whose policies will (and do) harm many people. Those people, and people who care about them, will be upset. If you think this harm is acceptable for whatever benefit you get, then grow up and accept that. Accept the negative press–but stop trying to pretend there’s no harm done; that’s not honest or respectful to the people being harmed.

Note: “But the liberals are responsible, too!” Yes, they are. Democrats failed to reform their institutions sufficiently to stop Trump. However, they won the popular vote by a (historically) very big margin. Republicans won by gaming the system relentlessly, including voter suppression and gerrymandering. When a car gets stolen, the person who left the keys in the ignition bears some responsibility, but the guy who smashed the window and drove it to the chop shop bears more.

I’ve been disappointed (and even surprised) at how quickly conservatives have fallen in lockstep behind Trump’s screwed-up agenda.  I grew up thinking conservatives in this country were the ones thinking critically and independently, but as I see the Trump administration systematically violate key American values and the constitution–not “liberal issues” at all–conservatives have either said nothing or actually defended those actions. Trump didn’t “pivot” but conservatives sure did. Everyone remembers the intensity of many mainstream conservatives’ distaste for Trump before the primaries. It’s sad but predictable that legislators have eaten crow and lined up for their turn to beg for his favor, but the voters? I want to think your grandparents would have been horrified, and even that you might have been horrified, ten years ago, at what conservatives are doing now. Perhaps conservatives ain’t what they used to be. Or perhaps all those hippies were right–conservatives are just authoritarians waiting for a strong leader so they can stop thinking and do what he says… no matter what he says.