On one of the places I freelance, I recently published Hey, Trump Supporters: Tolerance of Intolerance Isn’t A Thing.
I got the following as one of the responses to that piece, which I felt like sharing here. It was certainly not one of the more crass responses I sometimes get, but it’s still a pretty good example of how my experience with Trump supporters continues to be in complete misalignment. Though this person was polite in his critique, he didn’t offer any concrete points, or evidence supporting that he honestly has true understanding of the policies he says he likes. I guess, it seems to me that in his mind, those policies sound good in theory, so they must be just fine, right? I wonder, has he actually read the fine print?
What do you think?
Hello, Martie Sirois. I voted for Trump.
I basically agree with what you’re saying; that the ‘tolerate my intolerance unless you’re intolerant’ argument is stupid, and really not even an argument at all. But what frustrates me about modern politics is the intolerance of *ideas*, not hate speech. Of course, Donald Trump should be blasted for calling illegal immigrants rapists, and for half of the nonsense that he tweets, but, as for actual policy, what has he done that is so intolerable? What people do is far more important than what they say, and, as far as I’m concerned, cracking down on illegal immigration, adjusting our foreign relations in regard to NATO, and doing *something* to prevent incrisingly [sic] ambitious China from becoming the next world power are all very necessary things.
Now, I understand why the rhetoric, and even some of the policy put forth by this administration might be alarming, but labeling people who support the one out of two shitty candidates that you happen to disagree with more as racist and misogynistic is, as far as I can tell, just a way to dismiss their opinions entirely and avoid the reality that the world isn’t this black and white, heroes and racists land that you think it is, and that maybe — just maybe — Trump supporters have a point. Or two. Excuse my run-on sentence.
Hi _____, thanks so much for reading and responding. I appreciate your tone of civility. I’m always willing to engage with folks, time permitting, and especially when it’s furthering the conversation.
I agree with you that intolerance of ‘ideas’ is frustrating. It sounds like we also agree that tolerance of hate speech (especially from people in positions of power) should never be acceptable. I do know a few Trump supporters who love his hate rhetoric — I just simply cannot understand that, and those were the folks in my mind while writing this.
To answer your question about which of his policies have been intolerable, first I have to address the thing that transcends any policies: his senseless cruelty. Additionally, it’s every ethic that he breaches, every norm that he breaks, every institution he degrades, every conflict of interest he brandishes, every proven truth that he (and his administration) disregard, and so on.
It’s the fact that what’s coming out of Washington D.C. right now is a dizzying, frenetic, smoke & mirror show that nobody can keep up with (nor do they want to). This has always been Trump’s modus operandi — keeping everyone so distracted by the 3-ring circus going on over here, that they forget about the magic show going on over there. He banks on this strategy of distraction, because it will inevitably lead to voter fatigue where nobody is paying attention, all while our democracy is in a slow, gradual freefall towards autocracy.
On actual policies, he really hasn’t accomplished much. In 2017 he signed 96 laws and then lied, repeatedly, that he’d signed historic amounts of legislation, more legislation than any other President in their first year. This is easily fact-checkable. Those who signed more legislation than Trump during their first year? Obama, W. Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush, Reagan, and Carter. Of Trump’s 96 laws that year, NPR categorized them as such: more than three dozen modify or extend existing law; 16 repeal rules and regulations using a process known as the Congressional Review Act; a dozen commemorate or honor people and organizations such as by renaming federal buildings; and seven provide temporary government funding or one-time disaster relief funds.
Things he has done that I don’t like? Aside from all the immoral stuff, here’s a small list:
- ) Rolling back President Obama’s legacy on basically everything: labor regulations, environmental protections, health, gun control, education, telecommunications, and more broadly tearing down rules across the government.
- ) Rollbacks of civil rights protections.
- ) Immigration reform and the incessant demonizing of undocumented workers and the myth that they steal jobs from American citizens.
- ) His awful trade policy
- ) Zero tolerance and Family Separation policy
There are so many more.
I’m curious… do you feel like Trump posed solid ideas on the campaign trail or during debates? I honestly would like to hear what concrete ideas that other people heard that might’ve resonated. Not abstract things like “make America great again,” because that implies that we must have, at that time, sucked. Which to me was a lie, because even for all our faults, I’ve never felt like America sucked. I see Trump as nothing more than a two-bit con man, and not even a convincing one at that.
I’m wondering if any of you readers out there have heard from Trump supporters on any concrete, substantial policies of Trump’s that they like? What do they say those policies are? Do they understand exactly what that policy is doing, or are they just quoting what Donald Trump says will happen? Weigh in below in the comments!