Source: To the family Trumpists
During a heartbroken and angry moment near the beginning of his presidency, I wrote that blog post about and to the Trumpists in my family. Given the crescendo of Trumpism that was the insurrection and the cast of characters involved, that post comes surging back to mind.
In this nicely done speech, Arnold Schwarzenegger recalls the men of his childhood in post-WWII Austria:
Many just went along, step-by-step, down the road. They were the people next door.
My father and our neighbors were misled also with lies, and I know where such lies lead.
To the family Trumpists,
You went step-by-step down the road.
You believed obvious lies.
The generations that succeed you will know you as a cautionary tale.
The Lost Cause provided white Southerners-and white Americans in general-with a misunderstanding of the Civil War that allowed them to spare themselves the shame of their own history.
In conversations with my Trumpist family, I hear the Southern Strategy, Lost Cause, Confederate Catechism, traditional segregationist discourse, and Christian Alt Facts. I hear not just a “misunderstanding of the Civil War” but a fundamental misunderstanding of American history, one that “reverses the moral field of American politics and the basic structure of American history.”
The claim that Trump was denied a win by fraud is a big lie not just because it mauls logic, misdescribes the present and demands belief in a conspiracy. It is a big lie, fundamentally, because it reverses the moral field of American politics and the basic structure of American history.
My Trumpist family avowedly don’t know any of these terms I confront them with. It’s hard to perceive beyond framing you have no vocabulary for, so I curated relevant writing from historians into these blog posts that I wrote as post-conversational therapy.
- Spiritual Warfare and the Politics of Paranoia and Providentialism
- White Resentment: The Grand Bargain of White Supremacy
- The Segregationist Discourse
- It was about slavery.
You are the people next door. I’ve known that since I was a kid who quietly rejected my Southern Baptist upbringing and the people who perpetuated it as morally compromised by bigotry and patriarchal authoritarianism.
This is the shit you taught me. I’m not passing it down.