A friend sent me this the other day, and it stopped me in my tracks. She lives in an affluent neighborhood in a red state with purple demographics. A family in her neck of the woods planted a Trump sign on their lawn, prompting an unnamed neighbor to leave a shockingly contemptuous and self-righteous letter at their home. If we become a country where electoral preferences are used as proxies to determine the humanity, or inherent goodness or evil, of individual voters, we are in serious trouble. I've read this note at least five times at this point, and I still cannot fathom the mindset required to pen it, let alone deliver it:
A friend texts me this letter. It was left on their neighbor’s home because they have a Trump sign in their yard. The bad people here are those who wrote/approved this trash. The author(s) should look at themselves ?? pic.twitter.com/uhSXbCxMgm— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 29, 2020
Notice the projection at play here. The hate and anger harbored by this anonymous pen pal toward people with whom she or he disagrees are attributed to the occupants of the Trump sign house. They are made out to be bad people with "prejudice and hate" in their hearts toward strangers when it's the author who is actually telling on herself or himself. "You hold no charity or grace in your heart," this person asserts, based on nothing other than what this person thinks they know about...nearly half the country. The sign off -- "neighbors who dare to be different" -- is downright amusing. In modern American society, it takes very little courage to oppose Donald Trump. Every taste-making institution does so. Wokesters like this miserable author are pampered, catered to, indulged, and affirmed by the media, the entertainment industry, the academy -- and to an increasing extent, corporate America.
This person isn't "daring" to be "different." He or she is lashing out, triggered by lazy assumptions based on differences. The postscript dismissing the homeowners' (again, assumed) religious beliefs is a perfect coda to a cartoonishly intolerant performance. This episode reminded me of a recent column by the New York Post's Karol Markowicz, who endured similar shaming from an anonymous neighbor a few weeks ago -- which Karol perceived as a menacing act:
This month, someone left an anonymous note on my home, and on several lampposts around my block, telling me to delete a tweet the stalker didn’t like. The printed black-and-white note added the leftist refrain “hate has no place here” and accused me of celebrating the deaths in the explosion in Beirut. Of course I had done no such thing. I had mocked the idea that it was a fireworks factory that had exploded, a lie disproved as more details emerged. The stalker either misunderstood it or willfully misread my tweet. My bet is the latter. She had been waiting for me to say something even mildly offensive so she could pounce. Coming to my physical space was a threat, as opposed to, say, responding on Twitter, and that’s exactly how I took it. Too bad for her, I am not new to harassment. I’ve gotten anti-Semitic hate mail at my house. I’ve had neo-Nazis text me. I’ve had to turn off notifications on Twitter because of all the random hate. If she imagined that I would cower to a progressive fascist like her, she imagined wrong...These notes are intended to make me afraid and silence me. Putting the note on lampposts is meant to let my neighbors know there is someone on the block who thinks differently. She’s not like us, join me in hating her, the note implies. It encourages a mob to form to take me down...My main response to this threat will be telling everyone about it and living fearlessly.
By the way, there's an apparent punchline to the Trump lawn sign/letter saga. According to the woman who blew the whistle on social media, the owner of the house is a Mexican-American single mother whose parents are legal immigrants. I wonder if the letter-writer has any deep thoughts on whether random people harassing a woman of color is problematic. Or does voting Republican strip her of the usual left-wing protections afforded by identity? I'll leave you with another manifestation of this toxic mindset, courtesy of singer Kacey Musgraves:
To each their own but know what your vote means. pic.twitter.com/4T7OWmbtqS— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) August 29, 2020
"To each their own, but if you vote the wrong way, it's a literal act of violence against sexual minorities." Another nuanced, empathetic take. Meanwhile, I'm awaiting the Woke Police's verdict on whether this ham-fisted emotional blackmail constitutes "straightsplaining," and whether or not I have standing to accuse her of that transgression. On one hand, she's talking about my community and clumsily and demagogically painting us with a broad brush. On the other hand, as the Latina mentioned above, perhaps I am insufficiently anti-Trump to really "count" as a member of my own community for purposes of public preening and political bullying.