I’m back from a self-imposed Facebook fast to make trouble for myself, wreck my future Social Credit Score, and become thoroughly Deplorable in respectable society.
I didn’t believe in voting prior to this election. The two parties usually run candidates who both do their best to be indistinguishable from each other in real policy outcomes. I still think voting one of the least important things you can do to change the world. How you live matters much more. The wrong will fail, the right prevail – only if you act with virtue and build a better world directly around you.
And yet –
I can’t convince myself to “not get involved” and keep my hands clean this time. There is a real culture war going on, and I give a damn because I reckon I’ll have kids one day who will have to live with what happens next. And I’m too inspired by Trump’s supporters and angry at the ways they are being put down.
I’d never join the MAGA crowd if I didn’t think that in the end they are decent people who want liberty, justice, traditional values, and peace and are willing to share them with others. For all of Trump’s faults, I do believe we will be better off if Trump and the MAGA folks succeed tomorrow. We will be better off with an independent (even if independently wrong) America than with one bowed toward China, or toward the technocratic globalism prevailing in the West today.
Since I’m not registered to vote, I won’t be counting this time toward that goal. But since I don’t think it’s right to “free ride” off of their effort, I’m writing this extra thanks to the people who are voting for Donald Trump tomorrow. They are going up against a massive machine, and I’ll have them know I respect them for it.
The MAGA people and I share a common love for traditional elements of American life: family, homeplaces, the religious and spiritual, the outdoors, and constructive work. And I can’t sit by while they get the disdain and hate of all the powerful centers of our culture in news, education, entertainment, commerce, and politics (all of whom hilariously style themselves as “The Resistance”).
The Trump supporters I know tend to be hardworking, kind people who don’t deserve the slurs used against them. They like being Americans. They like being independent. They like being free. They probably don’t hate you if you’re different – seriously. They’re probably nicer than you think. And they usually just want to be left alone.
Trump has been a remarkable champion for these people, and I’ve come to appreciate that and appreciate him for it.
Yes, my libertarian belief still holds that that government is best which governs least (or not at all), and I still believe there’s no president like No President. Yes, I believe Trump is enlarging the power of the presidency in a dangerous way (but then, so would Biden, and so has every other president in the past 160 years).
But what I do see is that he and the MAGA movement both frustrate the hell out of the worst people – and they can buy us the time we need to make a better defense.
Trump and the MAGA movement challenge the technocrats who wrap authoritarianism in the robes of “Science” and rule people as if they are numbers. These are the types who are now locking down Europe yet again, despite the disastrous results for mental health and livelihoods in the first world and starvation in the third world. Above all else, these lockdowners are the types who must be defeated this time.
Trump and MAGA increasingly reject the neoconservative view that the US should be policing the world – a policy which has tended to make places worse (e.g. Libya, Iraq), indebt the country, and erode civil liberties at home (see the Patriot Act, etc). Trump, though contradictory and even hawkish at times on foreign policy, has done something remarkable in being the first president in decades to not start a new foreign intervention. The warhawks and intelligence community types despise him and have supported his opponent in large numbers.
Trump and MAGA challenge the Jacobin leftists who want to erase nature – upending sexuality, erasing masculinity and femininity, and foisting plastic, artificial alternatives in their place. Trump has mounted significant challenges to their attempts this year to baptize people into the strange new religion of “wokeness,” which among other things has your HR department and your children’s schoolteachers explaining that every white person is a white supremacist, and that it should be a near-criminal offense to point out that men have male body parts.
Trump and MAGA challenge the multinational corporations who would have a government at their beck and call. By virtue of already being rich, Trump can actually act independently of lobbyists. By virtue of being traditional, independent, and productive people, the MAGA people frustrate the types who want us all to end up as property-less urban consumers scrolling Tinder and working in Amazon warehouses. These corporations have consolidated power during the COVID lockdowns while small businesses have died. A lockdown-friendly Biden administration would of course be lovely for them.
Trump and the MAGA movement challenge the Chinese communists, who would have us become their puppet state while they silence the people of Hong Kong, sway European and African governments, and “reeducate” the Uighur Muslims in camps.
Trump and MAGA challenge the media, who in the past 4 years have openly embraced their role as spokespeople for the Democratic Party. They have tried to make a scandal out of Trump’s every clothing choice or tweet punctuation choice, while suppressing the serious corruption of Hunter Biden and similar Establishment types. Trump has revealed the bankruptcy of the “information economy” like no one else, which I’d say is a good thing for everyone right and left.
Trump and MAGA infuriate the Hollywood types who guilt-trip you from their castles, numb you and your children with mindless trash, and take to their various stages to lecture you about (among other things) why having an abortion to further a career is something to be celebrated.
Trump and MAGA have all the right enemies. And because I want their enemies, I guess I have to wear my MAGA hat.
Trump has plenty of problems, of course. I continue to oppose much of his government. But he is wrong for reasons the media would never guess (insane fiscal policies, for one) and innocent in most of the ways for which they do attack him. He isn’t a monster, a crazed authoritarian, or a hateful bigot. He’s been a voice against authoritarian lockdowns and restrictions on speech in a time which most other Western politicians have claimed unprecedented power over their populations. He probably has more genuine popularity with minorities than any Republican in the last century. And despite the fears of so many people that he would unleash chaos, he has probably prevented wars rather than starting them. A careful look at his actual record shows a more complex Trump than the media would ever portray.
I can’t help but admire his energy, enthusiasm, humor and cockiness. It takes someone with his ego and fearlessness to confront power the way he has. If the future has any justice, we will be remembering Trump as an unlikely American hero in the mold of Andrew Jackson (others I think have made this comparison – it is probably closest). Flawed, but remarkable, and certainly brave and genuinely cool. If he goes down, he will be one of the great lost rebellious causes. If he wins, he will be one of the great underdog victors.
To my Trump supporter friends: sorry I didn’t speak up for you sooner. I believed the media for a while, to my great shame. You deserve better than you’ve been getting from the rest of us the past 4 years. You recognized some real problems and chose to do something about it, despite getting a constant stream of hatred for it. I enlist as a Deplorable alongside you, despite our policy differences. I’d like to see a country even freer than you hope for, but we can talk about that later. In every way possible to us, let’s Make America Great Again.
Peace to you all. Whatever happens, I am keeping the hat.
P.S. Shouldn’t need to be said, but I have plenty of Biden voter friends who truly believe they are doing the best thing for the country. As long as they are honestly pursuing their values, I don’t fault them for thinking differently than me. We start at different value sets and have been fed a different stream of information and news for years now. It’s not so much them as their cynical leaders I wish to defeat, and I reckon they feel the same way. Politics is so wrong and has eaten society in a horrible way. There are some places we can shake hands outside of it.