We keep trying to understand Trump voters. And I still think there are multiple groups represented: those who voted party over country, those who did not do any homework, and those who truly were gullible enough to believe his promises, and more. Journalists and behavioral scientists have spent months trying to fit people in neat categories in order to explain Trump’s rise to power and his win. I think I have identified another group, one with which I am painfully familiar, and that is the bullies.
Remember the bullies from middle and high school, the least educated, loud-mouthed, obnoxious little shits who stayed in trouble constantly? They always sought negative attention and picked on anyone who was even a little bit different? These are the (mostly) guys who never had any aspirations other than to get out of school and survive, somehow, if they even gave it that much thought. They loved to point and laugh, and truth or gossip or straight out lies were a nasty little inconvenience to be brushed aside with a wave of the hand.
Donald Trump is a seventy year old bully. And his loudest supporters are middle-aged versions of him. The only difference is money and privilege. The asshole who stole your lunch twenty, thirty, forty years ago, has a leader now. And that leader is running the United States, because these guys put him there. Suddenly, the anger and rage he had, but did not understand in school, but he was punished for routinely, is okay again; it is even encouraged and praised. He has reconnected with it. And like an addict who has tried to suppress his desire for his vice, now he partakes of it daily, out in the open. It feels good. It feels glorious each time it washes over him.
However, the stakes have changed. Instead of demanding our lunch money, they are demanding our health insurance. Rather than laughing at how we dress, they are laughing at our social justice concerns. Once again the truth is a nasty inconvenience; they do not care, and nothing will change that. The more we come at them with facts, the more they laugh at the little geeks trying to priss about and play perfect. This is how they can see the news media as elite, even though they make nothing compared to Trump and his administration. Elite for them is not about money. It is knowledge and intelligence and the ability to exercise those.
They despise feminism and pro-choice, because it represents power, specifically female power. They feel an overwhelming need to jump into conversations, especially online, and rage against anything that insults their god among men, to try to diffuse and reclaim that influence and confidence. Racism, sexism, and classism, and the almost animalistic need for more guns and more law and order all bubble up from this base hatred and fear of anyone other than them having, much less exerting, any power. They need to show the world they are in charge of it again. They playing field is finally theirs again.
Most of us were afraid of the bullies in school. Many of us are scared now. But it is different this time. We have fear with a foundation in facts. Our confidence comes from caring and concern for those less capable. Most importantly, we know we have one another, a network of friends and family we have built and now we rise up and say no more. For it is our time. The Resistance is here, and it will stay as long as it has to. We have played this before; we know what it’s like. Nothing will stop us. Nothing will hold us back. The bullies’ day is coming to an end.