Epic Clay Shirky tweetstorm, well worth reading:
https://storify.com/davechensky/clay-shirky-on-not-getting-complacent (link dead)
Hell, I’ll manually copy paste it into paragraph form here so more people get to read it. (p.s. Clay you should know better than this Tweetstorm bullshit, which is interfering with the dissemination of an important message, so I resent it!)
I want to say something to my liberal white friends: Trump talked a lot of shit last night, but not one word of “I am your voice!” was a lie. Trump IS the voice of angry whites. He wasn’t on stage because he has unusual views. He was on stage because he has the usual ones, loudly.
He is the voice of whites who want their neighbors deported if they speak Spanish. He is the voice of whites terrorized by seeing a hijab. He is the voice of people who think legal & cultural privileges for white conservative Protestants are God’s plan, not a bias to be overcome. He is the voice of people who hear ‘hard-working’ as a synonym for ‘white.’ He is the voice of people who think black lives matter less. He speaks for millions.
During the speech, a lot of white liberals in my timeline - people like me - were reacting in disbelief. We can’t afford disbelief, not now. So, believe this: Trump could win. We can help stop him, but that means giving up on a lot of comfortable illusions. The hardest illusion to give up is the majority illusion, where we confuse our neighborhood with the world. Elections are a harsh corrective to thinking everyone agrees with you. Winning isn’t about policy, or passion. It’s about headcount. Liberals cluster, in cities and in states. My home state, Missouri, has gone from purple to red because enough liberals left. Meanwhile, California’s high-margin vote for Clinton will be wasted, because the election hinges on Ohio and Pennsylvania and Virginia.
I’m a white guy, so I’m an imperfect vehicle for this message. Follow @docrocktex26 and @jbouie, who serve hot coffee on this stuff all day. But I can remind other white people, as an insider, that the amount of white rage available for political use in America remains enormous.
“When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
White liberals should know headcount is against us. In our communities, we’re a comfortable majority. In the US, we’re a permanent minority. Most whites vote against Democratic presidential candidates, and have done in every election since LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. When Democrats committed to reducing whites’ ability to lord it over blacks, it cost the party the white vote for two generations. So far. The liberal cause has been saved by African-Americans, who are populous and disciplined and consistent enough voters to overcome white rage. Unlike President Obama’s campaigns, though, whites can’t coast on minority Get Out The Vote work in 2016, not with VoterID laws in 33 states
Trump can win, if he can whip up white rage unchallenged, if enough women vote for him, and if Red states suppress black and Hispanic votes. Trump can win, if he concentrates on white fear. That’s how you get white evangelicals to pick a libertine agnostic over a liberal Christian.
So what’s a white liberal to do? First, realize we are a minority, and we have to campaign like one. Donate to the campaign, for starters. Yes, yes, Clinton’s not as liberal as we’d like, but minorities never get the luxury of demanding a perfect candidate. Just give. Talk with pro-Trump relatives, because they won’t listen to people who aren’t white. (Statistically, they won’t know any they care about.) Donate to fight voter suppression. In November, call voters, or better, get to a swing state and knock on doors. Get to poorer communities and drive people to the polls.
Trump has promised 40% of the country what they’ve always wanted: a racist welfare state. If he persuades 1 additional voter in 10, he wins. Seeing my timeline during the convention last night made me despair. We’ve brought fact-checkers to a culture war. Time to get serious.
This statement, near the middle, struck me as quite profound:
When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression
I haven’t been able to articulate the uneasiness some people experience around this topic, and that quote sure sums it up perfectly. Even worse when it’s an invisible (to you!) set of advantages, so you kind of have to take the blinders off, or acknowledge a whole bunch of other people’s perspectives – who you may or may not have much in common with – before you can internalize it.
But I posit that the pervasive smartphone + facebook era* has had a profound media effect, almost as strong as the effect televising the racial violence in Selma had on the nation 50 years ago. It lets people virtually experience the lower level day-to-day casual racism that still exists, but was largely invisible… and certainly never televised en masse, as it wasn’t mass media newsworthy.
* by that I mean cheap, fast, powerful, video-capable smartphones circa 2012 onward, plus easy publishing of videos right from your smartphone to the world… so … recent!