Dear Trump Supporters,
While I was an outspoken supporter of Bernie Sanders, I have remained mostly silent (except for obligatory #debatenight tweets) since the final leg of the 2016 presidential race commenced. Like many of my fellow Americans, I have simply tried to survive the election process until November 9, in the hope that on that day, Donald Trump will go back to running under-performing businesses and get out of my life.
I reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton, checked that off my list, and moved on—avoiding the news as much as possible.
Yesterday, I read Robert Reich’s retelling on Facebook of a conversation he had with a former Republican member of Congress. The gist of the conversation was Reich asking the former congressman why he wouldn’t publicly say that he’s not voting for Trump, “a clear and present danger to America.”
Because “I’m a coward,” he said.
While I haven’t avoided speaking out due to fear of retaliation from a rogue Trump supporter (since I’m not in the public eye), or because it would end my political career (since I don’t have one), this exchange encouraged me to say something—before it’s too late.
Trump supporters, I have a message to you from the past:
You are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings. You are made to hate each other because upon that hatred is rested the keystone of the arch of financial despotism which enslaves you both. You are deceived and blinded that you may not see how this race antagonism perpetuates a monetary system which beggars both. —Tom Watson (1856–1922)
Prominent Populist Tom Watson spoke these words to encourage a union between black and white farmers against a common oppressor—the white elites. He didn’t succeed, but his words ring true today.
Donald Trump has based his campaign on division and fear. Fear of the Other. Fear of people who are not like you and who supposedly threaten your way of life.
I have news for you. This is an ancient strategy known as “divide and conquer,” in which rulers gain and maintain power by breaking up other powerful groups until they lose their power.
You shouldn’t fear Muslims, Syrian refugees, Mexicans, paperless immigrants… If anything, you should fear the corporate elite. Because while you’re worrying about all these other people who are really just like you when you peal away the layers of fabricated prejudice, the leaders of large corporations are laughing around their boardroom tables: “Look how easily distracted these people are!”
If you lost your home during the Great Recession, blame the Big Banks, not Mexicans.
If you’ve had to declare bankruptcy because of huge medical bills, blame Big Insurance and Big Healthcare, not Muslims.
If you’re working a low-wage job, blame the Big Businesses who lobby against a higher minimum wage, not paperless immigrants.
And if you’re disabled because you fought for our country in one of the several wars we’ve waged for no good reason, blame the Military Industrial Complex, not Syrian refugees.
Let’s put an end to the divisiveness that plays right into the hands of our common nemesis—Big Business. Let’s work together to move our country to the next level where everybody has what they need and where Big Money is not allowed to dictate our ability to be well. Let’s stop with the conservative and liberal rhetoric and realize that we have more in common than that which divides us.
I don’t think you’re deplorable. I think you’re scared, fed up, and want what’s best for your family. Guess what? So do Muslims, Syrian refugees, Mexicans, paperless immigrants—and everyone else you’ve been told to fear.
Donald Trump is not the solution. He doesn’t care about you. He only cares about his (ivory) towers.
You have one vote—use it well.
Tabita Green (insignificant blogger, mother, wife, humanist, optimist, immigrant, and US citizen)