Donald Trump is the 45th President. Very few were expecting this. With your victory, many of those same people who weren’t expecting your victory are scared now, including myself. The current state of political discourse has given rise to echo chambers; something we’re both guilty of. Instead of pointing fingers, I want to break the echo chamber. First, I will make concessions to show I’m not arrogant and I respect my peers.
Liberals like myself, though I am more anarchist than liberal, were really pushing for social changes, and we made you feel like we were leaving you behind. I have read many Trump supporters talk about how they are losing their jobs, which is a very scary prospect. They also felt that the government wasn’t caring about them. It’s true that in the push for progress people were left behind, but things became worse. The social changes we pushed for were not properly explained to you so that you could consider them, but instead we called you immoral — among other things — and dismissed you. We never gave you the chance to become a part of our community, and we never took the time to include your concerns with our own.
However, I also want to take this time to explain why many people are concerned. Many are concerned with the essence of Trump’s politics. The political theorist Carl Schmitt thought all politics were identity politics based on a friend/enemy distinction, which makes intuitive sense. Trump’s identity politics are troubling because of the enemy identities he created. Muslims, LGBTQ (specifically for Pence) and others are enemies in Trump’s political system. The identities that Trump has made enemy are deeply personal and cannot be given up in the way power or wealth can. The only way for those of an enemy identity can please Trump, Pence and his supporters is to stop existing. This could mean extermination camps — but I don’t want to speculate. This could mean letting people die; for Muslims, this could be letting refugees die in war zones or drown in the Mediterranean, for immigrants it could be letting them die of poverty or letting them die of neglect during deportation. This could also mean violent conversion — for LGBTQ this means that particularly Pence will only be happy if such an identity is exterminated by letting people of this identity know that they are essentially evil, and that they must destroy a very important part of themselves.
Trump didn’t attack what people believed, he attacked what people are; he attacked the ‘rapist’ immigrants, the ‘radical’ Muslims, the ‘sinful’ LGBTQ, and many others. These are the politics you have chosen Trump supporters, and that is why many of us are worried. I hope you don’t believe it’s right to let the identities I listed die, because (and you probably haven’t heard this from a liberal) I think you’re good people. I’m just sorry that at this point you felt that the only way to reform the system was to throw a Molotov Cocktail at it with no regard as to who is burned.
Carl Teegerstrom is a sophomore philosophy major with a minor in mathematics.