I’ve been dismayed to watch people I respect turning away from things they used to value. I’ve spoken and written about the experience often, since the nomination of Donald Trump. The caveat I usually use when criticizing the Trump fan base is that many of them are good people. I know that because of my history with them, and I know that because of the charitable works they have done.
I have argued that they are abandoning their claims to honesty, to rationality, and to traditional American principles, but for the most part they are doing it through ignorance and a desire to be part of a team, not through malice. Recent events have made me reconsider that position.
There has been vitriol and inhumane callousness directed toward migrants fleeing torture, abuse and death. That did not happen overnight; it is the culmination of more than a decade of steady dehumanization and an appeal to the concept of limited resources. There has been acceptance of war crimes against international opponents, but the people against whom those crimes have been committed are overwhelmingly murderous terrorists and their supporters who want Americans dead. There have been spiteful clashes with political opponents, but those have been occurring throughout our lifetimes and are often reciprocated. In none of these did I see hate for hate’s sake. Whether duped, hardened or responsive, there was always a reason.
Now we come to Meghan Markle. The actress turned British Royal and her husband Prince Harry have decided they want some time away from the spotlight. Under normal circumstances this would be a matter of minor interest to Americans. Instead, it is a focus of attention to the Republican punditry and their rank and file.
It makes sense as a distraction; with the release of the Lev Parnas records, Congress has been given hundreds of pieces of evidence which support the impeachment charges and make the White House’s decision to stonewall look criminal even to some who are inclined to support them. If it were simply a distraction, though, it would be discussed from all angles. The more discussion, the more of a distraction.
Instead, it’s all hate, all the time. Markle, one would think, is single-handedly destroying the British Monarchy and emasculating Prince Harry. People who don’t know her, who have no reason to be invested emotionally in her one way or another, are antipathetic to her and being conditioned to despise her.
For the racists, it follows. She’s not a “pureblood” white person. They have hated her from the moment she began dating Prince Harry. I’m setting the Stormfronters and the Tucker Carlsons of the world aside for this discussion, though; they’re not recent converts to hate, they’ve been stewing in it for most of their lives.
For the remainder of the Trump followers, there is one and only one reason for it: the Trump wedding invitation, or more accurately the lack of one. Markle is anti-Trump (a position which puts her firmly in line with the majority of the UK) and Trump has long desired to be associated with the British royals.
Trump pursued Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Harry, sending huge quantities of flowers every day which she discarded, saying that he “gave her the creeps.” After she died, Trump went on the Howard Stern show and said, “I could’ve nailed her.” More recently, on his trip to Britain, he was granted an audience with the queen and, among other things, pointed directly at her from close range… a boorish move which further cemented UK attitudes against him.
The Meghan-Harry wedding was the social event of the year, possibly the decade, and the Trumps were snubbed. This is not to be tolerated. Trump now hates the pair, and that means all of his underlings need to hate them and spread that hate to their drones. It is simple, and it is appalling.
This is exactly how good people turn bad. It may yet be a turning point; some simple questions to average Trump supporters about why they dislike Meghan may do worlds of good in moderating their outlook, and could even be a fingerhold into prying them loose from their reflexive Trumpism.
After all, what’s wrong with a professional actress helping to support her family? Isn’t self-sufficiency a good thing? Aren’t they pleased that a father and mother want to focus time and energy on raising their children directly as opposed to using nannies and servants? Independent of whether one agrees with their decision, the arguments to be used in supporting Meghan and Harry are directly in line with those which have historically been promoted by the Republican party and American conservatives.
There is absolutely no reason for the hate other than to succor Trump. Maybe, just maybe, some of the drones can be encouraged to see that.