Wokeness Driving Gay Southern Liberal Trumpward
Over the weekend I posted a letter from a Latino college student telling how the militant wokeness in his university has driven him to plan to vote for Donald Trump in 2020. I invited readers who aren’t Trump fans but who expect to vote for him out of fear or loathing of the militant left to share their stories.
Here’s a great one, from a man whose name and institutional affiliation I know, but am withholding at his request. He’s not certain he will vote for Trump, but he’s considering it, despite being a liberal gay man. Why? Read on:
So, here is a story that I’ll try to share briefly. I think of this as sharing my reflections for the good purpose of welcoming others to reflect and to speak. It is not a testament or declaration: it is taking my turn in a conversation.
I work in an elite-ranked school of medicine. I have enjoyed my work but will thankfully retire and move away to a smaller rural town with my husband (we are two men, together faithfully for more nearly 40 years).
Some will ask: why would a same-sex couple select to live in a more rural place? Easy to answer: it is a welcoming small town, with a history of civil rights struggles and accomplishments that shape the community’s self-understanding and that inform how the community announces it values. And it is vastly more affordable. And less consumed with ‘wokety’ self-righteousness.
The writer of the ur-narrative in this genre said of himself that
I am a libertarian with traditional leanings who is most comfortable reading econ blogs … I’m only part Mexican and culturally assimilated…
I’ll reflect this narrative patterning to say that I am a Southern liberal — i.e. I am familiar and comfortable working with, worshipping with, and talking about almost any topic with people of color, who are individuals to me, not a ‘race’ or a ‘group’, with respectful humility in the knowledge of historical and continuing racism that broke bones, diminished opportunities, and shattered spirits of actual Black and Brown and other people that I know — and every vote (in every local, state, and federal election since the 1970s) has been with that humility. This makes voting for Mr Trump (pardon, but Southerners of my generation do still use formalities, such as ‘Mr, ‘Ms’, ‘Dr’, ‘The Rev’, etc). feel like betrayal of dear friends, co-workers, people who have helped me and whom I have helped, and fellow members of the Body of Christ who stand firmly against the un-Godly idolatry of racism.
The earlier writer said
The Left is insane. The Right has its issues, but at least I’m certain they don’t want me dead. When the Revolution comes, I don’t doubt for a second that my head will be on a pike next to yours and my capitalist father’s. I’m scared to death of these people.
Again following the ur-narrative, I remark that increasingly in the elite school of medicine and elite university where I work many of its ‘public intellectuals’ appear to be abandoning logical reasoning, intentionally, not ignorantly as it seems in the earlier writer’s example. Perhaps I’ll give away the school by saying that Richard Rorty once taught here. In an essay on ‘solidarity,’ Rorty discussed and expanded Nietzsche’s assault on Enlightenment conceptions of reason, with foundations in principles of morality, law and governance to be applied objectively and fairly to each and all. Rorty’s text demolished such an inclusive and hopeful worldview, advising, more or less, that those who think alike should gather in solidarity to create the world what suits them. And so, our ‘public intellectuals’ are doing that. And as the earlier writer described well this cadre of self-righteous solidarity can be objectively wicked if you ask questions that they don’t like; and if you call them out for opposing inclusivity and diversity of points of view, very wicked names may be called.
The writer of the ur-narrative described brightly the moment he found his clear strong voice. And the cadre in his workplace/school treated him wickedly. In part because I am an older person and have exquisite bona fides over a long life of standing up with (a truer meaning of ‘solidarity’) sexual and gender minority persons and communities, persons and communities of color, rural people and their communities, persons with mental illness, and others, supporting their humanity, and human rights — as an ‘Enlightenment’ liberal — the wicked must temper their incantations against me.
But they have other spells to cast: sidelining discussions that I raise, tabling recommendations that I make, and the like. They have fairly openly declared that decades of work supporting the humanity and human rights of others is forgettable, and unimportant now, because ‘wokety enlightenment’ has arisen.
Another scholar who used to teach here — Jonathan Haidt — has described very well the forces in American higher education that are silencing, sidelining, and abusing scholarship and scholars that ‘wokety’ cadres do not like, who reject or confound or offend their ‘wokety solidarity’.
But that is not why I will consider voting for Mr Trump — if he is the candidate — and depending on who is the Democratic Party and/or candidate. I leave it open — that I may vote for Mr Trump because of the abandonment of the generally good and generally wise approaches of scientific, philosophical and ethical rationality that is generally inclusive and hopeful. I do not believe that Mr Trump’s motivations are to destroy rationality, although he tweets irrationally, and with obviously racist meanings (c’mon, they are!) . I do believe that some forces gripping the Democratic Party Primary processes — and in our local and state Democratic Party — are intending to destroy scientific, philosophical and ethical rationality.
There are forces — self-named ‘Antifa’, gun-carrying anti-Capitalist squads, etc — that use threats and acts of physical harm and destruction of property, in ‘woke’ rages, to prove a point, to dare others to react, and destroy people and things. Waves and hordes of history have utterly destroyed societies, cultures, and civilizations. It happened and can happen again. Are we witnessing the rising of such a wave, or horde, or a some new form of consuming destroying rage?
It is ir-rational, im-moral, and un-Godly, I believe, to blithely or blindly partner with current waves of hordes of destruction. So, the ‘wokety cadre’ will call this an accommodation to systems that support racism, misogyny, intolerance, and hatred. It is not, because I am not motivated by racism, misogyny, intolerance or hate. I am motivated to elevate humanity and human rights. And so, if I will vote for Mr Trump it would not be out of racism, misogyny, intolerance, or hate.
I welcome your reflections on this, and your own stories. What I do not welcome are critical comments that are not constructive.