In an election cycle where white supremacy, xenophobia and racism have found their way into every corner of your timelines, feeds and screens, you’d be forgiven if you decided not to spend an evening clicking around in the darkest corners of the internet.
With its “Night Against Hate,” MITH rallied a community to build a database of hate groups online — websites, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts and more.
“The immediate result is producing block lists for activists and others who feel they see too much hate online,” MITH director Neil Fraistat told participants.
The organization had already collected over six months worth of tweets containing hate speech, including many tweets related to the first two presidential debates. By collaboratively developing a spreadsheet of handles, hashtags and usernames used by verified hate groups, they’ll be able to produce future research on combating online hate speech.
As they worked, participants swapped feedback with remote participants in a team messaging channel, hosted by former MITH researcher Amanda Visconti’s public Digital Humanities Slack group.
Reading anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-gay propaganda for hours on end can get a little grim, if not outright triggering.
“Please, take care of yourself,” was the frequent refrain of MITH’s assistant director, Purdom Lindblad, who stopped the group several times for mental health breaks and discussions on how the research could be refined or used.
Lindblad also encouraged participants to use incognito browsing or the Tor browser for privacy and security reasons.
“You don’t want ads following you around, or campus IT coming after you for looking at KKK websites,” she said.
MITH holds weekly Digital Dialogues with digital humanists and scholars throughout the year. These talks, which this fall will focus on African-American history and culture, are open to the public and available via livestream.
“After 32 years of being open to visitors from all parts of the world, the home in which Ronald Reagan spent part of his formative years has fallen into disrepair,” wrote Patrick Gorman. “I am reaching out to you and other like-minded individuals to help save this hallowed structure and restore the dignity to the home of one of the greatest United States Presidents of modern times.”
Given that the 40th president is revered as the model of all that was good and wise in the Grand Old Party, and that there’s an ongoing effort to plaster his name on a landmark in each of America’s 3,144 counties — well, it’s a little surprising that the folks in Dixon are in desperate need of $58,495.
“We’re hand-to-mouth,” says foundation president John Thompson. “We’re trying to figure out how to sustain that facility.”
And therein lies a tale of hometown pride, good intentions and the cost of nostalgia.
Fun fact: Presidents Lincoln, Grant and Obama all rose to political power in Illinois, but Reagan is the only president who was actually born in the state. (Hillary Clinton, born in Chicago, would be the second if she wins this year’s election.)
Reagan arrived on Feb. 6, 1911, in Tampico, a tiny town in the northwest corner, in a second-floor apartment above a bakery. It was the first of several homes the Reagan family rented over the next two decades, in a peripatetic lifestyle fueled by the father’s alcoholism and checkered job history. By the time he was 9 years old, “Dutch” Reagan had lived in six different places.
In 1920, the Reagans moved about 30 miles to Dixon (population 8,000) and rented a two-story house on Hennepin Avenue for $23 a month. Built in 1891, the house had two parlors, a dining room, a kitchen, an indoor toilet and three bedrooms: one for Reagan and his older brother, Neil; one for their parents; and one that Nelle Reagan used as a sewing room. There was a small barn out back where the boys raised rabbits.
It was a happy chapter: Jack Reagan had steady work as a salesman, Nelle was active in the church and the community, and the boys were busy with school and sports. They had all the trappings of a middle-class life, but the relative prosperity didn’t last: The family moved from Hennepin Avenue to a smaller, less expensive house at 338 W. Everett St. in 1923.
As Reagan got older, his childhood took on a rosy patina. “All of us have a place to go back to; Dixon is that place for me,” he wrote in his 1965 autobiography, “Where’s the Rest of Me?’’ “There was the life that has shaped my body and mind for all the years to come after.’’
Flash-forward to 1980, when postman Lynn Knights noticed that the house on Hennepin Avenue was for sale. A group of local business leaders formed a private foundation and purchased the property for $29,000, predicting that it would become a tourist attraction if Reagan was elected president.
Soon after his election, Reagan asked a number of big donors to help with the restoration costs. Norm Wymbs, a wealthy supporter from Florida whose wife had grown up in Illinois, led the effort. He moved to Dixon and served as chairman of the foundation for 20 years.
Wymbs worshiped Reagan and wanted to preserve the house exactly. He hired an architect to restore the interior to its original blueprint and tracked down the wallpaper manufacturer to reprint the original designs. He asked Neil Reagan to comb through the Sears catalogues of the time and point out pieces similar to what had been in the house. Wymbs also bought adjacent houses and created a park, a parking lot and a visitors’ center. It’s unclear how much of his own money Wymbs poured into the project, but he said that the final tally was about $5 million.
On Feb. 6, 1984, President Reagan celebrated his 73rd birthday by officially opening the fully restored property.
“Times were tough,” he told the audience. “But what I remember most clearly is that Dixon held together. Our faith was our strength. Our teachers pointed to the future. People held on to their hopes and dreams. Neighbors helped neighbors. We knew — my brother, Moon, and I, our mother and father, Nelle and Jack, saw to that — saw that we knew we would overcome adversity and that after the storm, the stars would come.”
President Ronald Reagan holds a gold key to his boyhood home in Dixon, Ill., during a dedication ceremony on Feb. 6, 1984. At the far left is the president's brother, Neil. (Mark Elias/AP)
Patrick Gorman has a special affection for Reagan: He grew up in the house on Everett Street, slept on the same porch where Dutch had slept for four years. His parents were a little disappointed when the house on Hennepin Avenue was designated the childhood home, but that was the one mentioned in Reagan’s autobiography. When the foundation was looking for a new director this summer, the former nuclear plant worker was all in.
“I jumped at it because of where I grew up and my connection to Reagan,” says Gorman. “I’m not a political person of any kind.”
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He was shocked to find that the place needed a lot of work. The inside was okay, but the exterior had been neglected and was in sore need of repair. He decided to send a fundraising letter to about 40 “conservative gentlemen” who he thought might donate, and included a detailed list of repairs and estimated costs.
Money, or lack thereof, is the problem. After Norm Wymbs finished the house, he turned his attention to Reagan’s former middle school and spent an estimated $25 million transforming it into the Dixon Historic Center (now the Northwest Territory Historic Center).
There was a brief window when it looked as if the house on Hennepin Avenue would join other presidential sites as part of the National Park Service. In 2001, then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert pushed a bill making the home — located in his congressional district — a National Historic Site to be owned and operated by the federal government. The bill passed by voice vote; George W. Bush happily signed it.
Reagan would have joined an illustrious, if random, list of other presidents honored with their own historical site administered by the Park Service , including George Washington, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, John. F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. (These parks are separate from the 13 presidential libraries, which are operated by the National Archives and Records Administration at an estimated cost of $60 million a year.)
But Hastert’s bill was contingent on the sale of the property to the federal government. When the Interior Department offered only $420,000, based on an appraisal of the structures and the land, the foundation was offended. The offer, it felt, didn’t take into account the Reagan legacy and the effort and money that had gone into the restoration. “It’s insulting,” Wymbs told reporters in 2003. “I say the heck with them.”
Although the deal would have ensured the financial future of the house, the people of Dixon still aren’t sure that they’d accept an offer and give up all control. “I think the sentiment is that this is our hometown president and the story of that is ours to tell,” says Thompson.
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A statue of Ronald Reagan stands outside his boyhood home. Caretakers hope to eventually expand the site to include an exhibition and meeting space, if they can raise the money. (JEFF ROBERSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The house on Hennepin Avenue has enjoyed modest success: Open April through October, it welcomes 10,000-15,000 visitors a year who browse through the rooms, watch a short film about Reagan, maybe buy a T-shirt or one of his old movies in the gift shop. Admission is $5.
The foundation has resisted efforts to use the property as a prop for news conferences or commercials. “We’ve had a lot of folks who want to ride the Reagan coattails, but we have policies that prevent that,” says Thompson.
So no big bucks from political events, and fundraising has been slow, primarily because the Reagan loyalists who initially financed the restoration are dying off. (Wymbs passed away earlier this month at 92.) There was a burst of donations in 2011 — the centennial of Reagan’s birth — that brought $251,884. That figure dropped to just $22,992 in 2014, according to IRS documents, and last year was even worse.
Two years ago, the foundation used what little savings it had, about $175,000, to quietly purchase the other houses on the block in hopes of expanding the site to include an exhibition and meeting space. If it can raise enough money, which is increasingly a big if.
And assuming, of course, that it can keep the place from falling down.
When Hillary Clinton was asked about late-term abortions in the last debate, her response was both empathetic and impassioned.
The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions.
Since then I’ve seen two very brave women write about the most personal and painful decision they’ve ever made in their lives. Because they’ve had the courage to speak up, I think the least we can do is listen and share their stories. Here is Alyson Draper:
I had to have a late term abortion. It was the worst moment in my life. What made it even worse was the State of Utah had made it illegal. I had one dead twin. The other had severe Spina Bifida, and would only have lived with life support, in great pain, for a few days.
I lay on the hospital floor, bawling hysterically, for twelve hours, waiting for an ethics committee of the health care corporation to decide my case justified what had to be done. My health was in danger due to the dead fetus. My husband and I consulted our LDS Bishop, who assured me I needed to do what I had to do, that it was even within LDS guidelines to do so. He reminded me I had six kids at home who needed their mother to live.
The abortion was terrible. It was done very gently, by Caesarean section, leaving the babies in their amniotic sacs. The living baby passed very quickly.
It was horrific. I think it even affected my dear physician, as he had never had to end a pregnancy before. I developed PTSD for which I had to be treated for years, mostly because of the fact I had to have it at all.
No woman should have to have the state have a say in the most painful decision she will ever make. Nobody is tearing babies apart in late term. They are always humanely done, only in situations where there is a non-viable or severely defective fetus and/or the mother’s health is at risk.
Please don’t vote for a candidate or a party that would make these decisions for the women who will die or be forced to carry unviable fetuses to term. This is a decision that is so painful and so terrible. Only the parents of the baby and a physician should be involved in the decision.
I was 21 weeks pregnant when a doctor told my husband and me that our second little boy was missing half his heart. It had stopped growing correctly around five weeks gestation, but the abnormality was not detectable until the 20-week anatomy scan. It was very unlikely that our baby would survive delivery, and if he did, he would ultimately need a heart transplant.
In the days that followed, after the poking and prodding, after the meetings with pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and geneticists, my husband and I decided to terminate our pregnancy. I was 22 weeks pregnant when they wheeled me into the operating room, two weeks shy of viability in the state of California.
For us, the decision was about compassion for our unborn baby, who would face overwhelming and horribly painful obstacles. Compassion for our 2-year-old son, who would contend with hours upon hours in a hospital, missing out on invaluable time spent with his parents, and the death of a very real sibling. It was about compassion for our marriage. Perhaps most important, it was about our belief that parenthood sometimes means we sacrifice our own dreams so our children don’t have to suffer.
As the day of my termination approached and I felt my baby’s kicks and wiggles, I simultaneously wanted to crawl out of my skin and suspend us together in time. I wanted him to know how important he was to me, that the well of my grief and love for him would stretch deeper and deeper into the vastness of our family’s small yet limitless life. He may have moved inside me for only five months, but he had touched and shaped me in ways I could never have imagined…
As the two-year anniversary of my abortion approaches, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that we made the right decision for our family — and that our government has absolutely no place in the anguish which accompanies a late-term abortion, except to ensure that women and their families have the right to make their choice safely and privately.
Saying goodbye to our boy was the single most difficult and profound experience of my life, and the truth is, it has come to define me. Today I am a better mother because of him. I am a better wife, daughter and friend. He made me more compassionate and more patient. He taught me to love with reckless abandon, despite the knowledge that I could lose it all.
We named him Lev, the Hebrew word for heart.
This is exactly what we mean when we say, “the personal is political.” As long as these women are merely objects defined by their wombs, it is easy to objectify them in order to demagogue this issue. But when you assume that they are actual human beings with the ability to both think and act compassionately, the difficulty of this decision and the courage they display in taking on an awesome responsibility shines through.
The world feels like a bizarre place right now. We are in the midst of one of the strangest elections in modern American politics — and we’re hearing dozens of reports of creepy clowns appearing in the woods.
But here’s a more productive way to spend your time than obsessing about the news: Go get a flu shot.
It's cheap, it’s inexpensive, and it will help safeguard you against a disease that kills thousands of people each winter. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all Americans older than 6 months get vaccinated annually. Unless you are a precocious 5-month-old who has already learned to read, this includes you.
Why should I get the flu vaccine?
Let's say you're a selfish person (we're not judging) who questions why you need a flu shot. The best reason to get one is to protect yourself against the upcoming flu season. The flu can be deadly. Over the past 30 years, the flu has been associated with an average of 23,607 deaths, mostly among the young, the sick, and the elderly.
Not every flu season is this bad. Others have killed as few as 3,000 people. But it's really hard to predict in advance how bad each flu season will be — and the only way to try to protect the most vulnerable in any flu season is for as many people as possible to get the shot. A flu shot is a relatively cheap and easy way to hedge your bet — and protect the people around you, even strangers — against a bad season.
Vaccines work best when lots and lots of people are immunized. This is a concept known in science as "herd immunity," something that pediatrician Aaron Carroll explains incredibly well in the video below.
If a small number of people are vaccinated, that's a bit of a roadblock for the disease — but likely not an insurmountable one. There are still lots of unprotected people susceptible to the sickness who can’t get the shot because they’re too young (less than 6 months old) or allergic to the shot
And the handful of people who are immunized aren't entirely safe, either. Vaccines do significantly reduce the risk of getting sick, but they aren't bulletproof. Last year’s flu vaccine, for example, was estimated to have a 61 percent success rate during the 2015-2016 flu season at preventing disease.
If vaccines are going to work, they rely heavily "on the decreased likelihood that anyone will come into contact with the disease," Carroll says.
When you get vaccinated, it makes it harder for other people you come into contact with to catch the flu from you. In other words: If you love your grandparents, whose immune systems might not be as strong as yours to fight off an infection, get a flu shot.
Why shouldn't I get a flu vaccine?
That's a trick question: You should (unless you have an allergy to it)! But 58 percent of American adults don't, according to the most recent figures, making flu the vaccine-preventable disease with some of the lowest vaccination rates. While lots of other vaccinations are required for kids to go to school, the flu has no similar nudge.
About three in 10 Americans say they don't need a flu shot. Another 16 percent just don't get around to it. A 2011 survey found that they have a lot of excuses.
Let's go through a few of the excuses.
I don't need it: The CDC thinks otherwise, and recommends the flu vaccine for all adults. Whether or not you caught the flu last year says nothing about your susceptibility this season. And, as mentioned earlier, the flu vaccine isn't just about you: More vaccinated people means more protection for everyone around you.
I didn't get around to it: Yes, we're all busy. But flu shots are one of the easiest medical treatments to obtain. Walgreen's, CVS, and other major pharmacy chains offer flu shots. In New York City, you can even order a flu vaccine straight to your home or office for $25.
I might get sick/suffer side effects: First off, the flu shot cannot cause the flu —that is a myth. Why? Because the flu vaccine contains an inactive version of the virus, meaning that it's impossible to become infected.
In randomized, controlled trials, researchers have injected some people with flu vaccines and others with a salt-water solution. Those who were injected with the flu vaccine got no more sick than those with the saline solution, aside from some soreness at the site of injection.
“No other adverse effects, including fever, myalgia, headache, fatigue, rhinitis, or sore throat, were reported significantly more often by vaccine recipients, nor did they report significantly more lost workdays or physician visits,” one 2000 study comparing the vaccine to the placebo found.
These are relatively minor side effects compared to the flu, which kills thousands of people each year.
I don’t believe in the flu vaccine: This strikes me as the most fair critique of the flu vaccine — some of the time, you will get the flu even after getting the vaccine.
This is because the flu isn’t just one disease. There are dozens of strains of flu viruses that mutate quickly, and that makes building a vaccine quite challenging. My colleague Julia Belluz explained this incredibly well in an article last year:
Seasonal influenza, which surfaces as a respiratory illness, is caused by influenza A and B viruses. The flu shot is designed to protect people against three or four strains of the A and B viruses that researchers believe will be most common that year, leading to the nasty fevers, headaches, coughs, and runny noses that make many people miserable in the fall and winter.
The challenge, however, is that the flu virus is highly unstable, mutating all the time. So this means drug companies can't just make one kind of vaccine that'll last a lifetime. Every year, public health agencies essentially make educated guesses on what strains and mutations will make the rounds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that last year’s flu vaccine was 60 percent effective — meaning that those who got it had a 60 percent lower chance of getting the flu. We won’t know how well this year’s vaccine works until flu season is through, unfortunately.
The flu vaccine would be better, of course, if it worked in 100 percent of cases. But a 60 percent reduction in the odds of getting the flu are not nothing! And that’s why public health organizations still routinely endorse getting the vaccine.
"Flu vaccines are not a panacea, and do not prevent all cases of flu, even in the best years, when there are no manufacturing problems and the match is perfect,” Roger Baxter, at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, told Belluz. "However, the vaccines provide moderate protection, and can prevent huge numbers of cases of this serious illness. Many studies have shown that the vaccines are very safe, so the benefit-to-risk ratio is high and the cost is relatively low."
Where can I get a flu shot?
Most drugstores or doctor offices can administer flu shots. To find a location near you, use HealthMap's vaccine finder tool. Most health insurance covers the complete cost of a flu shot but, for the uninsured, HealthMap provides price data too. (Costco, which charges $14.99 for a flu shot, seems to have the cheapest price, but CVS does offer a 20-percent-off-the-entire-store coupon upon vaccination, if you really want to live large.) So find a place giving shots and get vaccinated. There is no good reason not to.
On Tuesday, while driving to a Donald Trump rally in Grand Junction, Colorado, I pulled over when I saw a political sign that used the word “mulatto.” It was located in the town of Delta, on the west side of U.S. Route 550, at a former shopfront whose walls and marquee had been decorated with big-lettered messages:
Last night on the Las Vegas debate stage Donald Trump, for whom statistically speaking most us white dudes are planning to vote for, refused to say whether he would concede the election if it went against him, as it almost certainly will. He says he’s doing that because he believes the election is rigged — it’s really not — but in point of fact the reason he said it is because he’s a petulant man-child who can’t believe his manifest destiny to be president is being thwarted by a woman who he doesn’t even find sexually attractive, which means that to him she’s hardly a woman at all. “Inconceivable!” he cries, like Vizzini in The Princess Bride, while Clinton, in the guise of the Dread Pirate Roberts, comes to take what he’s rightfully stolen (who is Princess Buttercup in this scenario? Why, the US, of course).
Now, as a matter of procedure, it doesn’t matter if Trump decides to concede or not. Unless the vote in any individual state is so close as to trigger a recount (usually within half a percentage point), the individual states will tally up and certify the votes, and then in December the electors for each state — i.e., the people who actually vote for president in our wacky political system — will meet and cast their votes, and that will be that. There’s nothing in the constitution about our election system hinging on the candidates conceding.
Legally speaking, if Trump loses, he can stomp his feet and hold his breath until he turns blue, and Hillary Clinton will still be President of the United States. So this is literally a question about whether Donald Trump wants to be a yutz when he loses. And he might! The track record for Trump being a yutz when he loses anything — primaries, Emmy votes, probably a game of Yahtzee — is pretty significant. And each of those times, his being a yutz didn’t change anything. He still lost. He was still a loser.
That said, the presidential election isn’t the Emmy for Best Variety Show (or whichever category Trump’s show lost in), it’s the actual Presidency of the United States, and the people who are voting for Trump — that’s largely us, white dudes! — are invested in his winning. And if he doesn’t win, and again it’s really unlikely that he will, and he doesn’t concede the election, the question then becomes: What will the white dudes do? Will we break with Trump, decide to honor the two centuries of constitutional transfer of power from one administration to the other, or do we stick with Trump and also stomp our feet and hold our breath until we turn blue because we just didn’t get our way? Because in point of fact, if we decide to do the latter, and certainly Trump appears to be down with that, we could do real damage to concept of peaceful transfer of power here in the United States.
So, as a white dude, let me speak to all y’all other white dudes, particularly the ones of you planning to vote for Trump, and especially the ones of you might be giddy at the idea of Trump not conceding the election if Hillary Clinton wins.
1.No one candidate is more important than the peaceful transfer of power.If you want to claim to be a real American — and I know you do, it’s kind of a cornerstone of the white dude self-image here in the US — respect for the constitutional process of transferring power from one presidential administration to another is more important than any particular candidate. Dudes, do you think I was happy when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush on a 5-4 Supreme Court vote that in my mind wasfucking specious in terms of its reasoning? No! And yet when the decision came down, that was that — the constitutional process had ground out a decision that handed the election to Bush, and it was time for Gore to go home, which to his eternal credit, he did, publicly conceding the election to Bush. And I was fine with that. Not happy, mind you. But fine.
(Before anyone compares what Trump is saying with what happened with Bush/Gore, unless the actual electoral college vote in 2016 comes down to a single state that has an automatic recount procedure, there’s no actual comparison, and in any event, that’s not what Trump was asked.)
Now, maybe Trump is just being coy about having respect for the constitutional process of selecting a president, but then, he’s a thin-skinned whiner with the manners of an angry toddler, so that’s not surprising. But what about you? Will you also act as unto a screaming pre-schooler told he has to share his toys? Or will you sack up and be more gracious than the man you are statistically likely to vote for? Will you actually be the grown-up adult male that your age heavily implies you are?
For the record, if at this point the absolutely improbable happens and Trump wins the election for President, you know what I will fully expect Hillary Clinton to do? Concede the election! And here’s the thing: She will! Because that’s how it’s done. And because she, at least, is a grown-up.
2.The election isn’t rigged. Now, I know what some of you will say there — but Hillary’s a cheater! The election is rigged! The fix is in! Look at this video I found on the Internet! The media is complicit!
Guys, no. The election isn’t rigged — see the link above, which explains why it’s almost impossible to actually rig a presidential election. Your willingness to argue that the election is riggable is a good indicator of how susceptible you are to privileging your own sense of entitlement over actual and verifiable fact, something Trump, that glorious tangerine-hued ignoramus, knows all about. Be better than Trump in this regard. He doesn’t want you to be, because he doesn’t want to admit he’s losing fair and square. But you don’t have to indulge him.
As for the media, if you come at me with the latter-day rationalization that what “rigged” really means is that the media is in the tank for Hillary, I’m going to laugh at you for two reasons. One, during the primaries, Trump got so much press and used it to his advantage so well that he spent eight times less on ads than Jeb Bush, and five times less than Marco Rubio, and won the candidacy. Trump still dominates press, because he’s a walking garbage fire of a candidate, and — here’s a news flash! — political garbage fires are good for media company bottom lines. Mind you, the press didn’t make Trump a garbage fire; he was a garbage fire all on his own. The press is merely pointing to Trump and saying: Hey, look at that garbage fire! If Trump wants better press (I mean, aside from the sycophantic bunghole tonguing he receives from Breitbart), maybe he should consider not being a garbage fire.
Two, if you want to argue that Clinton got a free ride from the press, I’ll be happy to match you up with a liberal who will be delighted to argue with you for years about how the press went after the alleged email scandal far longer than the story warranted, not to mention all the various Wikileaks and so on. You two will have fun yelling at each other!
What is true, I’d argue, and especially in recent days, is that every time something potentially damaging to Clinton comes out, Trump has to go out and do or say something stupid, like, oh, I don’t know, say he won’t fucking concede the election if he loses it. Why does that get more play than something in Clinton’s email? Because Clinton’s email is small beer, and fucking not conceding the election is actually a pretty big deal. If you think the two are equivalent, pull your head out of your asshole, please, wipe yourself off, and get a grip.
3. Donald Trump isn’t worth fucking up the US of A for.No one is, to be clear, but especially Donald Trump, who is an honest-to-God piece of shit human being that no one should ever have supported. He’s a bad businessman whose business model actively includes cheating little people out of what he owes him, which makes his support from small business people just plain mind-boggling, since they are the very people he screws out of their money for his gold-encrusted sink faucets; he’s ignorant as shit; he’d grope your wife, sister or daughter if he thought he could, and you left the room; he’d lie to your face and call you an asshole when you pointed out he was lying; he’s easily provoked into doing stupid things; and if he were a character in Red Dawn (the classic version, not the inessential remake), he’d be the one sucking up to the Russkies. He’s every boss who makes you work overtime and doesn’t want to pay you for it; every landlord who won’t snake the toilet or fix the radiator but raises your rent like clockwork; every schmuck who cuts in line in front of you and dares you to make something of it.
He’s a fucking asshole,in other words, and you’d maybe want to go to the constitutional mat for him? Why? Because he’s rich? Dudes, he’s not that rich, and the way he got rich was by fucking over other people, and if that’s all right with you, it’s time for an examination of your own sense of morality. Because he “tells it like it is?” He doesn’t tell it like it is, he tells it like he wants you to believe it is, and bullies any one who says otherwise. Because he’s not “politically correct”? Well, that’s because he’s a goddamn bigot, my friend, and it’s a bad look on him and on you. Because he’s an outsider? Aw, bullshit. He’s been a grasping social climber for years. There’s nowhere he’d rather be than inside.
Because he’s fighting for you? Oh, son. Just, no. Donald Trump never “fought” for anyone other than himself — look at his decades-long track record for confirmation of that. And when it comes down to you or him, he’ll go him every time. Just ask the GOP, who is currently living in regret. You might be signing up to be the willing tool of a dude who would kick you to the curb the moment you weren’t useful to him, and who would call you a loser when he did. It not if he’ll do it. It’s when.
Why the fuck would you toss everything you possibly claim to believe in as an American for this absolute cocknugget of a human being?
Well, there’s an answer, but you’re not going to like it.
4. If you’re okay with Trump not conceding, you’re signaling you’re possibly a racist, sexist piece of shit who would rather tear everything down than not to let a white dude have his way. Now, you can rationalize this any way you like, but at the end of the day, this is what it looks like, because to a very large extent, this is what it is. There will be no legitimate reason to contest this election if Clinton wins it; the way we’ve set up our elections assures she will win it fair and square. There is no legitimate reason for Trump not to concede should he lose — it really is the absolute minimum he can do, and if he doesn’t then he proves without a single shadow of doubt that he didn’t deserve the office he contested for, because he fundamentally did not understand what it was about.
If Trump doesn’t concede, there is no legitimate reason for you or anyone else to fight for Trump’s shitty little tantrum except because you’re having a shitty little tantrum right next to him. Because you don’t want to share, basically. Because a woman, who was voted into office by basically everyone who wasn’t a white male, beat out a white dude and as a white dude, you just can’t take it.
And I get that! We’ve been here before, you know — like, oh, the last eight fucking years, when the GOP dined out on the latent and no-so-latent racism of white dudes like us to illegitimize the current president of the United States as much as it possibly could. Everything flower of GOP obstinacy, from birth certificates to the Senate declining to do its actual job and take a vote on a Supreme Court justice because it has a theory that a president’s term is actually only kind of around three years long has a long, hard root in the pool of racism that white dudes in particular swim around in. There are other roots — it’s not like the GOP didn’t go after Bill Clinton, after all, so it’s not all racism and sexism — but let’s not kid ourselves. That’s a lot of what it was.
And now here we are in 2016 and when it comes to conceding this election, there’s no real principle at stake here other than fuck all those people, weshould have won.
Who’s we? Well, who is voting for Trump? It’s not a lot of minorities here in the US, that’s for sure. It’s not women, in general or even the white women — even Republican women don’t support Trump in the numbers they generally support GOP candidates with. The core of Trump’s support is white dudes. And as they say, #NotAllWhiteDudes, since in fact many support Clinton or other candidates (hello!). But that’s his core of support. It’s us, white dudes.
We’re the people Trump want to “watch” the polls — the way he suggests that’s done, incidentally, sounds like a lot like voter intimidation — and the ones he expects to raise a ruckus about rigged elections if he doesn’t get what he wants. He’s relying on white dudes to be racist and sexist on his behalf before and after the election, and let’s make no mistake that if he should win the election, the white dudes who are actively and unapologetically racist and sexist intend to capitalize on that win.
If you go along with his plan, you’re down with all of this. Again, rationalize it all you want. You won’t fool anyone.
Here’s the thing: It’s not going to work. It has the possibility of making a mess in the short term, but Clinton doesn’t need Trump’s concession, and all the people who voted for Hillary Clinton (or at least, against Trump) are not going away. They’ll be back election after election, and demographics are on their side. They’re not going to forget if Trump loses and refuses to concede and calls on his supporters to make a mess. They’re not going to forget who it was who rallied to Trump’s side to say everyone else’s vote didn’t count, or didn’t count as much as the votes of white dudes and their preferred candidate. They’ll remember what that actually means.
So: Trump, or the United States. White dudes, if Trump loses the election and doesn’t concede, you’re going to have to decide which is more important to you. All us white dudes are going to have to decide. Everyone else will be watching.