Put Down Your Signs And Pick Up Your Guns!

I hate to sensationalize, but those sensational headlines get clicks and, as I’ve stated before, Clicks Rule Everything Around Me, CREAM! Get the money, dollar dollar bill, y’all!

There was a man who enthusiastically shouted this at an event I attended yesterday, the Protect The Vote rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Charlie Kirk was there, so was Alex Jones, and quite a few other prominent conservative influencers and apologists. I have a video of the man shouting this, but I don’t think I’ll share it right now, sharing it would be counterproductive to the strategy the Left needs to adopt. Right now we need to find a way to heal our wounds, to rebuild the moral fabric of our nation, to come together in solidarity. It’s going to be difficult, and we won’t always be successful, but it needs to be done.

I had a conversation with a woman at the rally. She asked if I voted and I told her the truth, that I voted for Biden. Now, as I’ve said before, I do not like Biden, but I am confident that a Biden administration will be easier to work with as an advocate and activist. When I told her that I voted for Biden, she looked shocked and offended, and asked why I was there. I told her I had friends and family who felt the same as her, and that I love them just the same and believe we all need to work together. I told her that I believe the working class needs to stand in solidarity, I told her about proletariat resistance to systemic oppression, I told her that I think she’s an ally not a deplorable. She smiled at me and gave me a good ‘ol God Bless, which I chose to interpret as a genuine well-wish, and we parted amicably, telling each other to be safe and have good days. I was surprised.

We of the working class need to come together. I do not blame Trump supporters for being angry, or afraid, or exhausted and misinformed. I am also afraid and angry and exhausted. There have been times when I’ve ridiculed Trump supporters, and I wish I hadn’t. Ridiculing and othering these people is not going to get us anywhere, folks. We’re still just as screwed as we’ve ever been, and we can’t be out here driving wedges in our base. We can’t be out here spreading biases and harmful narratives. These Trump supporters are people, and just like you and me they are capable of making mistakes, and capable of learning from them, and we need to accept the fact that there will be strong resistance to giving up ideas and beliefs they’ve held their whole lives. We cannot put these people into a basket and label them our enemies. We need to build a base that can withstand the systemic oppression of contemporary capitalism, we need to reach out to these people who’ve been taken advantage of by a predatory system and bring them into the fight.

I know this sounds like I’m moralizing here and trying to shift the blame. I’m not, I know for a fact that bigotry gave Trump and his band of Merry Misanthropes the momentum they’ve gained over the last few years. I know that Trump supporters are embracing racism and White/Christian/”European” Supremacy when they support his vacuous platform. I know the harm they do when they shout bigoted slogans and vote against human rights for any-and-all-but-themselves. The thing is, I can’t hate them. I hate the people who created the narrative that these people have bought into. I hate Fox News, I hate Trump himself, and his pals, the ones with the power and influence, but I empathize with the millions of fellow victims of the system. I’m all about ridiculing the public figures, the ones who’ve made huge profits by hoodwinking millions, Charlie Kirk with his tiny face and Ben Shapiro the cuck. I’m all about ridiculing their arguments and publicly shaming them for their bigotry. I am also aware of just how easy it is to conflate these figures with their audience. Every single one of us has implicit biases. There’s no way to control what anyone else’s are, but every single one of us needs to acknowledge and overcome our own, and give everyone else the opportunity to do the same. I am not perfect, I do not have perfect knowledge, nor do I have perfectly pure motivations, but when we are able to forgive one another our failings we are able to build a stronger community. I do not blame a working man or woman for falling for the lies, I do not blame them for looking up to the people they’ve been conditioned to look up to their entire lives, I do not blame them for blaming others, I love them and want to give them an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

Trump supporters and their Q-ist comrades are not inherently evil, my friends. Believe it or not, their ardent support doesn’t spring solely from racism and bigotry. The groundswell was enabled by the material conditions we all deal with. Most of them are deep in holes of debt and doubt and despair, and it’s difficult to see up out of those holes and realize what’s really going on. These millions of, mostly, hardworking Trump supporters are oppressed and exploited, the same as you and me comrades. We cannot forget that, we cannot blame them for being angry, we cannot hold their failings against them, lest they continue to do the same to us. Capitalism is incompatible with justice, the American Dream isn’t feasible, the ruling class cares nothing for us, and millions of angry Trump supporters are catching on to this. I applaud and support them; but they are being taken away from us by unscrupulous and insidious deep-pocketed actors like PragerU and Turning Point USA and Daily Wire and Breitbart and Blaze Media and so many others. These groups were founded by people who saw the unrest brewing among the working class and meticulously crafted narratives that would play on the fears of millions of people and suck them down deep, dark holes.

We are faced with an opportunity here. The fact that there are so many disaffected individuals who seem to have lost faith in the status quo, who are willing to rise up and fight back is, while terrifying, a chance to spread the message to millions. I want to do whatever I can to bring these Trump supporters over to the Left. Most of the Trump supporters I’ve talked to are suffering from the same systemic effects I am; the lack of meaning and the inability to live comfortably while the very few at the top continue to accumulate absurd wealth, the disenfranchisement and the desperation, the lack of opportunity. I’ve been able to move some of them over to the Left, through arduous conversations, but I get the sick feeling that some of us on the Left don’t want to do this. Now is the time, people. We’ve got an uphill battle ahead of us, against an administration that few of us actually wanted in the first place but that we’ve all got to deal with now. Trump is gone, and hopefully the worst of his buddies will fade away in the coming years, but that doesn’t mean we’ve won anything. We need to stay active, continue to fight against Neo-liberalism and Imperialism, and in this fight we must not confuse our enemy with our fellow victims.

It’s not easy, it’s not fun, it’s not always safe, but we’ve got to find a way to cut through the mind-numbing bullshit these people are surrounded by and educate them on the facts. Once again, not moralizing, not saying that we can ride our high horses into the white ghettos or suburbs and pass out pamphlets and copies of the Communist Manifesto and magically have a hundred million more comrades, I’m just saying that we should focus more on having conversations with these human beings rather than categorizing and reacting to them as dumb or vile or nothing more than racist assholes. Most of these people are earnest, most of these people genuinely believe that the system is irreparably broken, and most of them went with their gut rather than spend time to learn about the issues and effects of the system, because being a member of the working class has left them with a dearth of time to do anything but work and despair. Some of these people hold some vile beliefs, but that doesn’t define them. These people are suffering from the same oppression we are, and we owe it to ourselves to give them an honest shot at this political identity thing; none of us were born Leftists, we had to learn about it somewhere. Be that somewhere for someone else.

As I write this on Saturday morning I am listening to Ben Burgis relate the news that the election has been called for Biden. I know that there is a very small possibility that Trump can still find a way to destroy America, and I know that there is a frighteningly higher chance for violence to break out in cities across the nation, but overall I am relieved. I am looking forward to working against the Biden administration. I am looking forward to building bridges and organizing within the working class to educate and create a viable Socialist movement. I am excited to advocate for livable wages and decriminalization and democratic workplaces and decommodification and law enforcement reform and ending systemic bias and abolishing Imperialism all the other things that will bring Humankind into the future. I’m looking forward to teaching straight white Christian men that equal rights isn’t about identitarian scare tactics but liberty and justice for all. I’m looking forward to demonstrating to contemporary American Libertarians how the powers that be have been using identitarianism to infringe on their own individual liberties. I’m looking forward to fighting conventional Democrats on the corporatocracy they’ve embraced. I’m looking forward to progressive voices making a difference once again, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a chance like this, and I hope we are able to use it to our advantage.

Stay safe, folks, stay strong, and stay Socialists!

Secular Humanist writer, photographer, and quintessential millennial dilettante. Check out https://threebillionbeats.com for more, you can even buy prints!

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