Trump did not cause the deep division in the country. It caused him. There are two very different Americas. I suspect that the half of the country that voted for Trump, that voted with wild enthusiasm, that roared at huge rallies, was not so much voting for Trump as against the other America. It was just that they had never had a chance before. The two countries have little in common and do not belong on the same geography.
Whether Trump proves to be the catastrophic buffoon he apparently aspires to be, the current protests illuminate a stark difference between his supporters and Hillary’s. The chasm is far deeper than just politics, embracing culture, taste, manners and morals. The groups are distinct and incompatible .
The difference begins with manners. Throughout the campaign Trump’s partisans forgathered in huge rallies, applauded, calmly went home, and later voted. At the same time we saw on Clinton’s behalf mobs of ill-bred, worse mannered, loutish, perennial adolescents blocking highways, shutting down rallies, engaging in vandalism and physically attacking supporters of Trump. Cars were destroyed, fires set, ATMs smashed. Black Lives Matter, always ghetto predators, were worst, but low-grade college students and their equally dismal professors joined in. They were obscene, infantile.
We saw Ashley Judd, apparently an actress, addressing the “Women’s March.”
“I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege. I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokemon before their bodies have even developed. I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.”
Can you imagine any of Trump’s middle-American supporters accusing Obama of lusting for incest with his daughters? The two camps are different peoples. Half of the country seems culturally dominated from the ghetto. The other half embodies standards of behavior that have usually been thought congruent with civil society. While Trump himself is crass, making menstrual jibes on the air at Megyn Kelly for example, his supporters are not.
Any number of arguments can be adduced against Trump but so much of the outpouring of hostility, even from the intelligent, lacks thought. Thisaphobe, thataphobe, Nazi, misogynist. Putin’s Bitch. Most seem not to know what the words mean, or care.
Wild thought: We may be seeing Darwinian regression. The intellectual nanoparticles waving placards, the sobbing talking headesses may represent the return of the procaryote IQ. They give us a living paleontological record of what life looked like before it evolved. Think “Cambrian Implosion.” I imagine Rachel Maddow with twelve body segments and compound eyes.
Different peoples. I would like to see a comparative poll: How many women who voted for Trump would allow themselves to be associated with Ms. Judd’s remarks? None, I suspect. How many women voting for Trump would parade around in “pussy hats”? How many fathers voting for Trump would allow their daughters, have raised their daughters, to behave as the “Women’s Marchers”? Their children to copy Black Lives Matter?
The media are decidedly of the Clinton America. In Washington at least some journalists donned pussy hats and jointed the demonstrators. Trashy behavior has seeped into many in the professional classes. Trump recently sued a journalist and the London Daily Mail for describing Melania as “a high-end escort”–i.e., a take-out call girl, a prostitute. Can you imagine a conservative paper–say, the Washington Times, The American Conservative, National Review–describing Michelle Obama as a whore? Or Trump’s fans wearing scrotal hats?
There is a brattyness in the apparent belief of the Clinton Americans that they are entitled to the electoral result of their choice. When they don’t get it, they act like spoiled two-year-olds. Poor widdle fings! It is embarrassing. If Hillary had won, would disappointed Trumpists be squalling and posing in genital headgear or looting and burning? Whatever the merits of the politics of either side, the two have little in common culturally.
The divide is far deeper and more general than the heat of the election. The sprawling class from which the protesters come, not just in Washington or just recently, opposes the bedrock of our approximation of democracy. It is not an economic divide. On American campuses almost everywhere “students,” most of whom do not have the intelligence for college, use the tactics of Brown Shirts to shut down speeches by anyone who does not agree with them. They have no conception of reasoned debate, toleration of disagreement, or respect for law. Rather than promote assimilation to the American norm, or what was the American norm, the only hope to keep the country from devolving into warring tribes, they promote identity politics. They do not, for example, disavow the depredations of Black Lives Matter. Any behavior is acceptable, even admirable, if engaged in by their side.
Decorum and its lack are recurrent themes. I have no hard evidence, but suspect that the Other America believes that men should behave as gentlemen and women, ladies; that sex should be a private matter and in particular that children should not be too early exposed to it. Clinton’s America leans more to the view that sexual language is authentic and natural. Hemorrhagic tuberculosis is natural, but perhaps not to be encouraged. And so from a mainstream performer, Beyonce, the lyrics
Painfully cute. Can you imagine Billie Holiday singing this? Ella Fitzgerald? From rappers there is far more explicit, scatological, and sadomasochistic “music.” Whether you think this is people’s art, the authentic expression of an oppressed race, or something that should be scrawled on the wall of a public toilet, tracks with who you voted for. Again, two countries.
For whatever reason, those who regard themselves as liberals are far more given to demonstrating and rioting than conservatives, and far more vulgar. I say “regard themselves as liberals.” Their behavior is opposite to classical liberalism. Vulgarity is not liberalism. Neither is arson. Neither is suppression of free speech. All of these are now the norm on campuses, in the media, among both students and professors. And among the protesters.
Protests as such give little to deplore. Demonstrations are both legal and constitutionally protected if well behaved, and the women in Washington were. It is the values they represent that marks them as another country. The self-satisfaction appalls, the belief that they represent the universe. Coming together in vast shared tantrums, endlessly reaffirming each other on Facebook, may give them an exaggerated impression of their numbers. Thus the frequent use of the phrase “we the people.” Actually they are “we, quite a large number of the people.” As I write Trump’s approval stands at 52%. My guess is that the man’s unending truculence will lower his numbers, but it hasn’t yet. And a complete failure of his presidency will not change the fact that half of the country is thoroughly sick of the other half.