No Empathy With Tyranny
This piece was originally published here.

I am happy the Trump regime is coming to an end. I am angry the Trump regime happened and isn’t over yet.

There may be a path to redemption for most of Trump’s supporters and enablers, but they do not get to tell us how to respond to their choices. Asking for empathy without making any attempt to listen is not it.

It is downright insulting to say Trump supporters are experiencing what the opponents of Trump experienced in 2016. We saw an authoritarian promising to do harm and constantly acting as a bully while crowds delighted in it. We saw Trump getting passes for his racism and his atrocious behavior toward others. We saw people who expressed open bigotry acting as if Trump was opening up opportunities for them to harm others. We saw corporate media treat it all like a profitable spectacle that audiences would love. When Trump won in 2016 his supporters laughed at us, they insulted us, and they said “Fuck your feelings.” The ones who didn’t do this directly made no effort to distance themselves from people who did because they were happy to be on the side of a bully who seemed to be winning.

The insults did not stop at fuck your feelings. We were told that our very perceptions of events were also invalid, that we had to accept the stories that those in charge wanted us to believe. We were told to ignore racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia that we saw with our own eyes, heard with our own ears, or read thorough analysis of. We were told that Trump represented the working class, apparently because the people who support an entitled and lazy bully work hard and the rest of us do not. Actual studies of Trump’s base of support were to be ignored or invalidated by a few exceptional anecdotes. We were told that Trump did not say things that he was recorded as saying – or that we can only understand his remarks in the context that his partisans serve us and not in the context of everything else we have seen, heard, and read since his campaign started or for our entire lives. A well-documented rise in hate crimes was called a hoax, the president’s obvious crimes were called fake news, and when right-wing mobs attacked people it was either to be ignored or spun, doctored, edited, and repackaged to suit the needs of regime propaganda.

Trump supporters are either mad that they are not in charge anymore, that the world does not belong to them, that they do not get to tell the rest of us how we can live or who we can be, and they won’t be rewarded for disrespecting others. Or they are scared because they bought into the propaganda of right-wing authoritarianism because it did something for them.

We were right to fear the Trump regime and we were right to resist it. The authoritarianism of the Trump regime has not been restrained by civility or norms. It has not been restrained by appeasement or by offering marginalized people for sacrifice. It has not been restrained by corporate media or collaborationist podcasters. The authoritarianism of the Trump regime is real, and it has been restrained by people taking action.

I was in the streets in the Bush years, the Obama years, and the Trump years. I will be building autonomy and opposing authoritarianism and harmful government action for the next years as well. I don’t care if anyone online is mad that I can share some joy with other people who hate Trump while he is finally facing consequences and his gangsters are losing.

No empathy for tyranny.

For liberty and solidarity.

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