Hate and racism have always been the province of “good people.” To treat Trump voters as presumptively innocent—even as they hand power to a demagogic movement of ignorance and racism—is to clear them of moral responsibility for whatever happens next, even if it’s violence against communities of color. Even if, despite the patina of law, it is essentially criminal. It is to absolve Trump’s supporters of any blame or any fault. Yes, they put a white nationalist in power. But the consequences? Well, it’s not what they wanted.
“One can be, indeed one must strive to become, tough and philosophical concerning destruction and death, for this is what most of mankind has been best at since we have heard of man,” wrote James Baldwin in his seminal work, The Fire Next Time. “But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.” We can hope Trump was bluffing about his promises. If not, then the next four years will be hard for the Americans he plans to target. What we cannot do is pretend this wasn’t a choice, that no one was responsible.
Ross Douthat wants to know how Bouie thinks pro-lifers should apply that moral reasoning to fellow citizens.
Now, what was Jon Haidt saying about the ongoing fragmentation of the country?
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) November 15, 2016