Post-Trump optimism versus pessimism
Now that Donald Trump has become the president-elect, the reactions of Democrats seem to be sorting out into two camps: the optimists and the pessimists. The optimists are saying some version of “wait and see how it goes.” The pessimists are saying that the political apocalypse is coming soon or is already here.
Oprah Winfrey turns out to fall into the first camp, placing herself among the optimists:
The TV host tweeted on Thursday a picture of Donald Trump at the White House with President Barack Obama with the caption ‘Everybody take a deep breath! Hope lives.’
She also told Entertainment Tonight that seeing President Obama and President-elect Trump together had ‘given her hope’.
Predictably, some of Oprah’s fellow celebrities do not approve, and refuse to share her sentiments. Some responses that are rather typical:
Celebrities have turned against Oprah Winfrey after she expressed hope in the wake of the election…
Heather Matarazzo wrote: ‘Oprah, you can take a deep breath and hold it while the rest of us literally fight for our lives right now. #smh.’
Grace & Frankie’s June Diane Raphael also urged Oprah not to ‘normalize this man’.
‘Minority children are already being targeted,’ she tweeted.
So we are seeing one of the leftist approaches start to shape up, and it will be (as one might have expected) to attribute every bigoted act that occurs in America during the Trump years (and some that are hoaxes; see this) to Trump:
Other anti-Semitic imagery—such as “Sieg Heil 2016” spray-painted on an abandoned store front in Philadelphia—may have been legit expressions of bigotry or may have been similar attempts at commentary on Trump’s election; it’s unclear because no one is taking credit for them. The bulk of racist graffiti incidents appear to have happened around middle- and high-schools, which doesn’t make their messages any less hurtful, I’m sure, but does suggest a phenomenon driven by mean and immature kids rather than rogue bands of serious neo-Nazis.
And while all sorts of horrible incidents are being reported on Twitter and Facebook… well, anyone can say anything on Twitter and Facebook. The bulk of these stories are “friend of a friend” told me types. But if men were really going around pulling knives on Muslim women on public buses in Trump’s name, there would at least be local or campus news reports of it. Same, too, for the alleged wave of transgender teen suicides which keep getting mentioned in media but for which no one can offer any evidence. (Update: more on the alleged suicides here.)
Has the number of such acts actually increased? It’s certainly possible, although we don’t know. As of now, however, the evidence appears rather weak. After all, even prior to Trump there have always been some incidents of this type, so comparisons aren’t easy in terms of numbers and causation. It’s certainly possible, of course, that bigots in this country might be feeling their oats after Trump’s win. But what is virtually certain is that the left will try to make political hay out of any incident it can, and if the incidents don’t exist they probably will be invented.
This would be the same left that seems unable (actually, unwilling) to connect the dots on—to take just one example—the increase in crime in many urban black neighborhoods known as “the Ferguson effect,” and to connect it to the left’s own behavior:
When officers disengage, the result is not a boon for black lives, as the Black Lives Matter movement would predict. Rather, criminals become emboldened, leading to this year’s bloodbath, whose victims have been almost exclusively black and, far too often, children and innocent bystanders.
Oprah is not the only former Hillary-supporter trying to inject a post-Trump note of patience and guarded optimism. In fact—at least in her official utterances—Hillary Clinton herself has counseled something similar. But there are many others who either are unable at this point to join in Oprah’s sentiments, or (particularly among the more activist and leftist) who have an investment in continuing to fan the flames of discord.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]