When someone says, “I’m not a racist, but…” there is a 100% chance that the next utterance out of that person’s mouth will be racist. This is how people are starting to sound who say, “Voting for Trump doesn’t make me a bigot…”
I suppose, technically, that having voted for Trump does not immediately mean that you are a bigot or misogynist. It does, however, inarguably mean that you deliberately voted for a bigot and misogynist. If you aren’t a bigot, but you are OK with the highest elected position in the land belonging to a bigot, then I have to question your judgement. Policy preferences aside, being overtly bigoted ought to be disqualifying for the presidency. And I don’t mean that he is just bigoted in general, but many of the policy platforms on which Trump ran were blatantly bigoted. (Some platform positions were merely violations of international law, the US constitution, and US code –as previously mentioned – so no big deal there. )
But, some argue, he didn’t really mean the things he said. Why would anyone make this assumption? Trump has a history of bigotry and misogyny, from his Fair Housing Act issues to his eight-year insistence that President Obama is a Muslim, Kenyan, terrorist, to the seemingly endless stream of unkind comments about women, and to his recently revealed comments that sexual assault is OK if you’re famous, there is plenty of historical precedent to indicate that he really meant and means the bigoted and misogynist comments he made during his campaign. Campaign promises that he made relating to helping out small business, bringing back jobs from overseas, lowering taxes for middle- and low-income earners, and making it harder for corporations to duck their taxes? There is enormous evidence to indicate that he probably didn’t mean those things. First, there are the policy proposals that simply never worked toward any of these stated ends. Then there is the fact that he has no intention of divesting himself of a direct role in his companies (especially now that it has been clarified that conflict-of-interest laws do not apply to the president). Given his statements about how it is good business and “smart” to use legal loopholes to screw small businesses, investors, debt-holders, and taxpayers, why would he now use his position to limit his ability to continue to “make money” in this manner? Rational analysis points to Trump keeping systems in place that benefit Trump, and implementing systems that harm those he feels are inferior, or “losers,” as he likes to say.
But, even if he really meant those things, he can’t really do them, right? Again, if this is what you were counting on – that he meant the bigoted parts, but he wouldn’t be able to effectuate any of those policies – then I question your judgement. He is in the process of appointing key leaders who have their own checkered histories with regard to minority groups. Apparently his supporters have determined there is legal precedent for internment camps, meaning his Muslim registry idea might be legally defensible. The Republicans own both houses of Congress, and Trump can now appoint people to the Supreme Court who in the past could never have conceivably held such a position. Rather than draining the swamp as promised, he is giving the swamp prominent positions within his transition team and/or cabinet. There may be insufficient support within the Republican party to actually pass legislation for mass deportations, Muslim registries, or increased surveillance of citizens on the basis of religion or political affiliation, but the fact that people are seriously looking into this, and in some cases finding legal support for such notions, should be sufficient for us to know that he meant it and that he might be able to do some of it. If we don’t work hard to stop it…
For those of you who wish to plead, on whatever basis, that you share no liability for any harm caused by President Trump, your arguments have no merit. You chose this person knowing full well his intent. You voted for it, so you share ownership of the result. If you genuinely supported this man for non-bigoted reasons (such as supporting his positions on trade, economy, and foreign policy – most of which were soundly denounced by experts) then it is your responsibility now to join with those of us who would prevent this man from rolling back years of progress regarding civil rights and civil liberties in this country. Then, maybe, we might believe your claims.