These are hard times. I can handle people who disagree with me about policy. I can handle if you think taxes should be lower and I think taxes should be higher. I can handle if you want a private sector solution and I want the government to do more. I can handle if you think that we haven’t found the right balance of how to help those in need. I can even handle if you think we should use our military more or less than I do. But I still can’t handle if you don’t seem the least bit bothered that a president you love is also loved by nazis. After the election, I hit a low. I wrote about it here. I bounced back from it a bit since, but I’m back to where I started again.
That night, on November 21, I just couldn’t imagine that people I know, love, eat with, hug, talk to regularly could have knowingly supported somebody who meant so much to neo-Nazi groups. It was after the video of Richard Spencer’s speech and the support he threw behind Trump.
And I watched this video, and my mind raced because I simply don’t know how I’m supposed to act anymore. I don’t know how anybody can expect me to sit in a room with them, knowing that they voted to empower this man. Knowing that they voted to support a movement that symbolizes the desire for me to die. They voted to support a Nazi movement, and even though none of them are Jews, their son in-law for the last twenty years is a Jew. They voted to empower a man who championed a movement that calls for my death. That proudly uses hand gestures as a tribute to the largest genocide of Jews in our history. And I’m supposed to look at them and smile? And they’re going to hand me Christmas presents, as if what they did with their vote is meaningless?
And here I am again. The events in Charlottesville brought it back. Nazis are marching in the street, and the President first said that both sides were bad (the Nazis and the people who showed up to kick their asses), then condemned the Nazis, then went back to both sides being bad, and even talked about the “fine people” marching with the Nazis.
My wife is not a regular FaceBook politics poster, but it even led her to post something:
The President just went on national television and made it crystal clear that he thinks actual Nazis are fine people who were attacked unfairly by a bunch of liberals. Not that it should matter because I’m just a decent human being, but my husband, and my kids, and my extended family are Jewish. IF YOU HAVE ONE WORD OF SUPPORT FOR THIS PRESIDENT, PLEASE DON’T EVER SPEAK IT IN MY PRESENCE. I’m trying so hard to go on about my life and spend a nice end of summer with my family, and instead I’ve gotta be worrying about a damn Nazi sympathizer in the White House. FFS.
I was happy she did that. It meant a lot. She’s very conflict averse, and doesn’t even like it when I spar with her family members (even though we clearly both usually enjoy it).
But here I am, still with the awful feeling that comes from having to share a life with people who willingly or unwillingly support this. They say they don’t. They say they don’t like it, but then they say things like, “I’m so glad Trump is President.” And I just can’t take it.
I don’t understand how it doesn’t mean anything to them that the man they support is loved by Nazis. I don’t understand how that doesn’t make somebody ask what they could possibly have in common with Nazis. I don’t understand how, especially when they have Jewish family members, they can stand knowing that the person they like in the White House is also loved by Nazis. I’d like to think that “loved by Nazis” is a deal-breaker for me.
Some (maybe those who only get their news from fringe right wing websites) will point to Obama and recollect that David Duke endorsed him. Well, he didn’t endorse him, and it was said in jest. Duke was talking about all Obama has done to be loyal to Africa, and seeming to be a kindred spirit in the parallels between what Obama has done for Africa and what Duke strives to do for white America. It was hardly an endorsement of Obama’s policies. But I haven’t been tested in this way, yet. Some day I might. Some day, there might be a candidate who holds positions that I find dear, and the Nazis or some other awful fringe group might love him/her for it. I’m a pretty introspective guy, so I doubt that any common ground between Nazis and me would go unexamined, but perhaps one day I’ll be tested. Given the kinds of candidates I support, I doubt it will be a test like that, but who knows?
Until then, I’ve asked and will continue to ask family members who cannot vocally oppose this shit to unfriend me. I clearly have a need in my life for FaceBook as an outlet, and I actually like the discussion/debate, and I’d rather have awful debate/discussion than none at all. But I can’t do it with people I see often. I can’t do it with people who could be at my house, who I could eat with at family parties. I just can’t. I ‘m going to need to find a way to keep them out of it, while I spar with people I don’t see in real life. I don’t know how to draw those lines, but I got a start tonight asking one to block or unfriend me. It seems that the request was honored, because the posts that pained me so are now gone. As if it never happened. I’m glad, but at the same time, I wanted others to see it, and know that I was talking to them too.
It’s a difficult time indeed.