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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ruscoe

No olive branch for Trump supporters

His agenda must be driven from mainstream American politics

A Facebook friend of mine has been calling for “kindness” in the wake of last week’s presidential election, kindness in the interest of “healing” the country’s division. Hey, I’m all for kindness, and I’m never for cruelty. But in this case, we who opposed Donald Trump and supported Joe Biden must resist offering the traditional olive branch that follows a particularly contentious election. What follows is part of my response to my Facebook friend (edited for this blog).

What we have to remember here is what Trump and his supports stood for, and continue to stand for. They stand for racism. They stand for sexism. They stand for misogyny. They stand for homophobia. They stand for transphobia. They stand for xenophobia in all forms. They stand for white supremacy. They stand for anti-Semitism. They stand for mocking the disabled. They stand for disrespecting veterans who (in Trump’s words) “were captured.” They stand for science denial. They stand for travelling to foreign soil and cozying up to dictators. They stand for calling neo-Nazis “very fine people.” They stand for separating babies from their families and putting them in cages—and doing all of this in our names, both yours and mine.

I understand that the long-standing tradition in American politics is for the victor to extend an olive branch to the vanquished as part of the process of “healing” and “moving on” from a bruising election campaign…but this time, it can’t be. The people who stand for the things I’ve listed above will get no olive branch from me. The people who supported Trump and his principles must be repudiated IN THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS. Those who are trying to normalize the things I listed above and integrate them into mainstream American culture need to be assured that those views don’t fly in a place that’s trying to form, in the words of our Constitution, “a more perfect union.” To extend the post-election olive branch is to recognize that those views have some sort of political validity in American society. And I steadfastly refuse to do that.

I know people who say they have friends who are Trump supporters. I suspect that they, along with many other Trump supporters I’ve heard, commonly say something to the effect of, “Well, I don’t like Trump, and I don’t agree with everything he says and does, but I like some of his policies.” What we have to remember is that when it comes time to vote, for the sake of whatever policies these people support, these people looked at all the horrible, categorically, un-American things I listed above, and said, “Sure, four more years of all that is just fine with me.”

So, no, they get no olive branch, nor do they deserve one. I’m not interested in “healing” alongside the people who support Trump’s vision of America. I’m far more interested in repudiating them, totally and completely. I’m interested in “de-normalizing” the terrible things that Trump stood for and did. I extend no kindness to racists, misogynists, anti-Semites, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and people who put babies in cages, nor do I extend kindness to people who support politicians that fit these descriptions.

I’ve always welcomed discussion from Republicans, back when being a Republican meant advocating for smaller government, fewer regulations, and getting tough on Russia. I disagree on policy matters with these Republicans, but we all strive for a better America. The Trump agenda, however, is one of hatred, fear, cruelty, and slave-like devotion to a malignant narcissist. That agenda, along with the people who support it, must be driven out of the mainstream American political conversation and into the dustbin of history where they belong.

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