To My Republican Brothers and Sisters:
Conservatives have been asking, with the slightest whiff of schadenfreude, why liberals are whining so much. Why can’t we just accept defeat and move on, as if somehow our reluctance speaks to a deficit in us, and not in their candidate. They ask, as if they would have graciously accepted Hillary if she had won… as if they have ever actually accepted Barrack Hussein Obama… as if I simply imagined the most obstructionist congress in American history—denying the duly elected president the rights of his office—Senate republicans united in a fanatical realization of one goal—block Obama’s every proposal, sight unseen… as if the images of Obama in white paint with a Glasgow smile, a bone through his nose and a toothbrush mustache were all good-natured ribbing… as if…
You would have us believe we’re hypocrites for having difficulties with this election.
To these critics, my republican brothers and sisters, I have three answers.
The first is that, I’m sorry to say, it may take more than a couple of days for some liberals to come around to accepting the legitimacy of your president, especially since he spent the last eight years questioning the legitimacy of ours.
Second, this was not a regular election. What you either don’t understand, or genuinely take pleasure in ignoring, is that we’re not mourning the defeat of our candidate. We’re mourning the death of an idea. We are waking from our lives to learn that a beauty we had taken for granted was only a dream.
We truly believed the election of a man like Donald Trump was beyond the capacity of this country, under any circumstance—whether it be to spite the opposing party, or out of fear, or a desperate cry to be heard. We’ve always defined American Exceptionalism differently than you, but had no less faith in it than you. For many of us the death of this ideal has no parallel in our lives, save for the attacks of 9/11. Many of us are only just recovering from our new normal, emerging from the realization that fundamental assumptions we had made about the quality and character of our beloved nation simply aren’t true.
And while we feel it the strongest, we’re by no means the only people to mourn this loss. Around the world people are shocked, bewildered, and afraid for a very uncertain future.
For half this country, the United States died on Tuesday. And maybe I don’t know the plight of the tradesman in the rust-belt, or a small farming family living on the border, and so these disenfranchised masses are glad to shake things up for me, reminded me that they’re there, and that they feel ignored. And maybe there’s some truth to that. Maybe the plight of those in “the real America”, trying to freely practice their religion while providing for their families as the jobs dry up, have all fallen on deaf ears. And for that, I’m really sorry. You are our American brothers and sisters, and you deserve better, especially from us.
But there’s a flip side to that coin.
See, that same rust-belt tradesman is all too happy to ignore, or even make fun of me for my plight.
See I believe that the earth is warming, and we’re the primary cause. I believe it, I kid you not, as strongly as you believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that even now, with the Paris Accords and every country making a strong effort, an increase of three degrees Celsius is inevitable, and will displace one billion people creating the largest humanitarian crisis in human history. I believe another four degrees Celsius on top of that, and all life on this planet will be extinguished.
But I love my family no less than you, and if by sacrificing my life I could ensure you’re right, I’d do it without a moment’s hesitation. But that commitment is insufficient to affect any change.
You dismiss this plight (and a great many others) out of hand, call us fools, but I guarantee that you don’t know enough about the science to tell us why we’re wrong, or just what part of the picture is incomplete, or what bar would have to be cleared to convince you. You cannot claim to have arrogance less than ours when you can so casually dismiss out of hand that which thousands of independent researchers across every country of the globe have spent a lifetime studying. No, no, no you cannot claim that you, who live in the in “the real America”, are much of a better listener than I am because, on a clear day, I can see from the top of my Ivory tower just about as far as you can from atop that working man’s chip on your shoulder.
This is just one of a great many of our plights you’re too happy to ignore, even mock. But try as you might to insist that your families are more real, more important, more American…. They may be no less important, but they’re not more important either.
My third and final response to why this was no ordinary election, is that we’ve never sent you a candidate you had to fear. When Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, came to power, none of you had cause to wake up in the middle of the night, terrified that the government was coming to take you and your family. I’m all too aware that many of you felt that way. If you listened to Glen Beck, who riled people up with Nazi regalia, and stories of Obama’s brown shirt youth core, his secret Muslim plan to invoke Sharia law, put you in front of a death panel and take your guns, then Obama scared you. But it’s not our fault you believed the lunacy (and it was—utter madness what your side claimed of him).
On the other hand, the person telling us that Trump is coming for us isn’t some left-wing radio show nut-job, but the candidate himself; and we take him at his word. He’s defended the practice of internment during WWII, and suggested we might need that again (a claim he’s since flatly rejected, but that’s cold comfort to the 3.3 million Americans he’s said he wants to surveil), that he thinks people who disagree with him should be punched in the face or have their head bashed in, when he can’t condemn the KKK or his own supporters saying that they should light a black man on fire, when he offers to pay the legal fees of a man who sucker punches a protester, when he says he’s going to shut down any newspaper or media outlet which says something he thinks is unfair (which, surprisingly, is anything that even whiffs of disagreeing with him), when this man says he likes the law and order kept by people like Saddam Hussain, Kim Jung Un, and Vladimir Putin, and that he’s going to use the power of his office to lock up a political rival because he doesn’t like how the investigation by a republican FBI director panned out, and mistakes political punditry as fact—innocent until proven guilty a luxury democrats don’t deserve…
It has not escaped our notice that the vast majority of people affected by these policies don’t vote republican.
Tell me with a straight face that there’s ever been a person our side threatened yours like this, tell me I’m misrepresenting him, and I’ll sit down and shut up. I don’t think you can.
Attitude reflects leadership, and his attitude has already emboldened acts of racism, hatred, and violence against us as the KKK is emboldened more than any time in the last half century.
Let that sink in. Because of your candidate, the KKK is emboldened more than at any time in the last half century.
You can’t blame this one on the lame stream media. And you can’t blame it on us. You, the family values voters did this, elected this man who wants to grab my daughter by the pussy. You’ve sent us a candidate like no other, ask us to accept him, and wriggle with glee and call us hypocrites when we balk. And you say it is our fault. We forced you to elect him.
We’ve made a lot of mistakes, but we never sent you a candidate who threatened you, and we never called compromise a four-letter word.
That’s why we mourn, my American Brothers.
The reason this is different than past elections is because we never asked you to accept a fascist. He is the antithesis of American values to the extent that not a single living US President endorsed or voted for him.
I have to say, for a “party of the constitution”, electing a man so dedicated to violating it… a man with a gold-plated toilet whose never once applied for a job in his life who you tell me speaks for the working class… Yeah… that one caught us by surprise a bit.
I am committed to reviewing all of Trumps plans (when he has them), and considering each on their merit, a basic fairness you and your congressional representatives denied President Obama. And given that you elected a man who was a pro-choice, pro-single payer, lifelong democrat until he wanted your vote, maybe he’s not going to do half or even any of what he says (and I’m not sure you care either way).
But we will vehemently oppose any of these proposals, or any like them, and based on his tenor and temperament, must and do begin opposition to him immediately on the assumption he intends to do what he says he will.
And for that, I must issue a reluctant thank you.
I’ve slept an average of three hours a night since the election, defending friends from online assaults, comforting my liberal brothers and sisters, some so terrified that they’ve made themselves sick (they include African Americans, Jews, Middle-Eastern immigrants, Hispanics, and friends who’s lives depend on provisions of the ACA). I remind them all of one thing, one little solace. We will win this.
How do I know that? Because we’ve always won.
See, we may lose every god damn battle, but we’ve won every war. In the 238-year history of the United States, we progressives have always won, and history has always proven us right. From freeing the slaves, civil rights, woman’s suffrage, ending child labor, the FDIC, Medicare, gay rights, food and drug inspection—all this country’s greatest moral achievements were achieved by liberals in the face of fierce un-relenting opposition by conservatives.
No matter how long it takes, we will win. We’ll beat back the forces of bigotry, misogynism, and brutality. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.
And we actually owe you a debt of gratitude, because we’d become complacent. We’d let our enthusiasm wane, let our leaders choose our candidates for us, stifled competition and good ideas within our own party…. we had become lazy, complacent, arrogant. We thought we could win simply by having good ideas. We forgot we had to live by them. We forgot we don’t win just by showing up, or by thinking of ourselves as better. We have to fight.
I do not fear Trump. He cannot intimidate me, he cannot bully me. And when the shock has worn off of my brethren, he, and every ignorant, race baiting, homophobic, xenophobic, islamaphobic self-righteous bible thumping holier-than-thou-conservative he’s placing in his cabinet, will find a wall of idealism, an army of people he cannot bully, intimidate, or shake.
You ask why we will not stand with this “president”? Because he never offered. He has spit in the face of people looking for unity, to come together. He is a bully, there can be no debate on this, and he wants us exactly as his director of African American Outreach so gleefully pointed out: on our knees where we can “bow down before him” worship “the most powerful man in the universe”.
I will never do any of those things. Ever. And so long as he demands just one of us kneel before him, we will stand. All of us.
I’d have thought you’d have had enough self-pride to realize that was too much to ask of any man.
And as I reach the conclusion of this letter, which you have patiently read to the end, I do have one request, and I make it to the man himself. The rumor is, Donny, that you’re keeping an enemies list. I hope it’s not true, that kind of thing has a bad precedent, and for good reason. If, however, it is true, I ask only one thing:
Kindly put my name at the top.
Nicholas Lamar Soutter