Yesterday, I found myself embroiled in a rare Twitter spat with someone on “our side”.
I don’t even like typing “our side”, but of course, in many discussions, group distinctions are the only way to really make a point and in those situations I don’t stick to rabid individualism. So “our side” it is. The “right” is how I would usually define myself. I’d say I identify most strongly with American-style conservatism, but I often approach the edges of the tent on certain issues.
This is why individualism matters more than group beliefs – but I resent this idea that we can’t use intuition, pattern recognition, or common sense when talking about groups of people with a general set of coherent beliefs.
And my common sense is telling me a portion of the “right”, in particular a portion of the “Trump right”, is facing an identity crisis. An identity politics crisis.
The topic of this Twitter spat isn’t really important, and I really don’t like getting involved in this sort of thing anyway, so I will try to explain only as much as necessary to make my broader point.
There is a conservative young woman on Twitter whose entire bio consists of her media appearances and a Paypal link. She has 30,000 followers. Apparently, she volunteered for the Trump campaign in Florida, and according to the oh-so-authoritative Jack “Rape Melania” Posobiec, Trump would have lost Florida without her.
All I have ever seen of her was her very silly fight with Kassy Dillon, where Kassy challenged her on a belief, and she played the victim and accused Kassy of ~*attacking*~ her. I actually agreed with this person on the topic (the fraud of Joy Villa) but disagreed with her handling of the situation.
I posted something about Joy Villa denouncing my prior support for her, and a follower of mine suggested I interview this person. I said I wasn’t really interested because all I have seen her present herself as is someone who has no argument and plays the victim.
She didn’t like this, and started an argument.
Now, this is my fault – I probably should have ignored it. But since I did not, I now feel like this is just yet another interaction which further cements my view of the danger of cancerous identity politics within the Trump right.
Anyway, the argument consisted of… nothing at all. Her complaining I “attacked” her, or sent my followers to “attack her”, the usual.
And my favorite: “You hate her because she’s prettier and younger than you! Sad! Why do women always tear each other down! You must be jealous!”. As though my issue is “other female conservatives” and not “other female conservatives who want a free pass because they’re female conservatives“.
And then I made this tweet and people, including several of my own followers, were pissed. How dare I use identity politics!
Like I said: young, pretty, female, and a minority = Trump diehards will make her think she's important regardless of how much or little she knows. Very leftist behaviour, it annoys me.
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) December 28, 2017
Guess what? I stand by it. Sorry, too bad.
Because what I said is not actually identity politics.
Is identity politics: "How dare you attack me, a young, conservative woman!"
Is not identity politics: "The Trump movement has a problem with giving an instant platform to token minorities who play the victim whenever challenged on a viewpoint."
Get it? Got it? Good.
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) December 29, 2017
It’s not identity politics to make a statement which includes a person’s identity when they are acting in line with the identity mentality.
We have been burned by fake rising stars so many times that I think we are right to be suspicious and rigorous when assesing those who storm onto the scene, become Twitter famous, and sometimes actually get recognition within the Trump campaign!
I don’t care if this woman actually became popular on Twitter because she’s a political genius. Maybe she is. Maybe she’s a lovely person, I have no idea!
So far, her claim to fame is that she volunteered for the Trump campaign, has a lot of Twitter followers, and has been interviewed in several places.
Which is nice and all – good for her – but it doesn’t mean she actually knows anything about conservatism or politics. It’s an entirely different skillset to what is required to be a political commentator – and the fact that she can’t defend her position or have any sort of rational debate, shockingly, has only confirmed my suspicions about her.
But I’m just being racist! I can’t stand that she’s Asian and conservative! I can’t stand that she’s 19! I can’t stand that she’s a woman! Jealousy! Hate! REEEEEEE!
When so many people are missing the point entirely:
If you’re an ~*unexpected conservative*~, huge segments of Trump Twitter will give you a platform. Even if – and perhaps especially if – you cannot defend your views from any sort of logical debate or inquiry.
I don’t care about her identity.
I am not saying “she doesn’t know anything because she’s young and a minority”.
I am saying that just because she’s young and a minority should not mean she gets to be shielded from scrutiny in a way that the rest of us are not and it does not mean she actually knows what she’s talking about.
Nor does it mean that she has the right to present herself in the worst possible light – and then expect others to dig into her history before making any sort of reasonable assumption about her based on her own behaviour!
We would never demand this nonsense of anyone criticizing someone on the left. When we look at “the other side”, we can criticize ideas all we like.
But when you’re in this segment of the Trump right, you are expected to assume Candace Owens (and this girl I was arguing with) are actually God’s gift to conservatism even when based on their respective behaviors they come across as a member of the Basic Trump Voter #MAGA Brigade.
Sorry, but f*ck that. I have better things to do.
This leftist mentality has to end. It really, really does.
The lock-step left is politically successful – but their cancerous outcomes are not long for this discourse because the truth is largely not on their side.
When we stop being rigorous and self-critical, we lose for the long term.
We have Trump for at best eight years.
After that, if the trends continue as they basically always have throughout American history, we will have a Democrat in office after that.
Can we please, please, please stop complaining about the “infighting” (also known as self-reflection and critical thought) that makes conservatism awesome?
And while we’re at it, let’s learn what identity politics is and is not and recognize when those within our tent are using identity politics by accusing others of playing identity politics.
We’re in the Twilight Zone and it’s not even 2018 yet.