The 10th cir­cle of hell

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

My mother sent me a text mes­sage let­ting me know my un­cle voted for Don­ald Trump, re­in­forc­ing my be­lief that clos­eted ho­mo­sex­u­als are a dan­ger to them­selves and oth­ers. This is the same Mid­west­ern lib­eral who a few years ago proph­e­sied the rap­ture oc­cur­ring at a spe­cific hour on the tar­mac of a small air­port in Rock­ford, Illi­nois, and that he, my clos­eted gay un­cle, would be­come the worldly ves­sel for the sec­ond com­ing of Christ.

Such is the un­godly, de­ranged zeit­geist of our re­pub­lic. If there were a mod­ern re­make of Dante’s In­ferno, the year 2016 would be added as the 10th cir­cle of hell.

Don­ald Trump is our pres­i­dent-elect. That is one the most in­com­pre­hen­si­ble and fright­en­ing sen­tences I have ever typed.

I can­not yet talk about a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion with­out sound­ing as crazy as my clos­eted, anointed un­cle. As some­one who’s never re­ally ques­tioned his at­tach­ment to san­ity, it feels bizarre to be con­tem­plat­ing food lines, nu­clear geno­cide, clan­des­tine re­sis­tance and how many days un­til our fu­ture pres­i­dent is shoot­ing him­self in an un­der­ground bunker.

I rec­og­nize how generic it is to com­pare some­one with dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal views to Nazis, and how my alarmism echoes the tin­hat­ted pre­dic­tions by Pres­i­dent Obama’s crit­ics. But Trump’s mes­mer­iz­ing po­lit­i­cal rise, fu­eled by nar­cis­sism and big­otry, is un­like any­thing our pol­i­tics have seen since An­drew Jack­son, who at­tempted to make Amer­ica great again by ex­ter­mi­nat­ing its orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants – some­thing Trump might ad­mire if he knew any­thing about his­tory.

How­ever, the most wor­ry­ing as­pect of the 2016 elec­tion is not Trump (a buf­foon who did ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to prove how un­qual­i­fied he is to be pres­i­dent of the United States), but rather the more than 61 mil­lion Amer­i­cans who ig­nored all of that and made him the most pow­er­ful per­son in the world. It’s the Repub­li­can lead­ers who early on iden­ti­fied Trump as a dan­ger­ous racist with un­con­sti­tu­tional and to­tal­i­tar­ian ten­den­cies, but now pre­tend he is a re­spectable leader af­ter months of Trump do­ing noth­ing but con­firm­ing the ac­cu­racy of their ini­tial assess­ment.

There’s angst on the left about how to un­der­stand and char­ac­ter­ize Trump vot­ers, but they de­serve no nu­ance or em­pa­thy: any­one who voted for Don­ald Trump is a racist. 61 mil­lion Amer­i­cans ig­nored Trump’s fail­ure to ar­tic­u­late a co­her­ent pol­icy po­si­tion on any is­sue with­out con­tra­dict­ing him­self within a few tweets, how he has the emo­tional ma­tu­rity of an 8-year-old with an ear in­fec­tion, his ad­vo­cacy for war crimes and sex­ual as­sault, and they did so be­cause they fun­da­men­tally agree with the sin­gle con­sis­tent theme of his cam­paign: Amer­ica was a bet­ter place be­fore it had to worry about Mex­i­cans and Mus­lims, or black peo­ple whin­ing about be­ing ex­e­cuted by agents of the state.

At least the cit­i­zens of 1930s Ger­many have the ex­cuse of be­ing hyp­no­tized by Hitler’s gifted or­a­tory; Amer­i­cans were ob­tuse enough to be en­ticed to­ward fas­cism by a man who doesn’t know a syn­onym for “tremen­dous” and is un­able to com­plete sen­tences. Who needs fancy words or lyri­cal syn­tax when you’ve got dog whis­tles to “say what’s on peo­ple’s minds”?

LGBT Amer­i­cans must not join the duped, even as Trump soft­ens his reck­less cam­paign pledges on our is­sues. I’ve never per­ceived Trump to be ra­bidly anti-gay, but if you think that means we will be pro­tected from the big­ots he is em­pow­er­ing, or that LGBT Amer­i­cans won’t be af­fected by the night­mare of his pres­i­dency, I’ve got a ticket to the rap­ture I’d like to sell you. Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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