Deep Reservations About the “Anti-Trump” Movement by Caleb Maupin

Photo: Julia DeSantis

Image by Julia DeSantis via Climate J20 via Flickr

by Caleb Maupin
Guest Writer, Dandelion Salad
Caleb Maupin (website)
Caleb Maupin (Facebook Page)
January 20, 2017


Dear J20 Protesters,

These are not emotionless times in the United States of America. Anger is running high all across the country. If you have a moment, I urge you to calmly please consider just a few things I have to say. I’m not a Trump supporter, but I have some deep reservations about the “Anti-Trump” movement.

First, you are absolutely right to be offended, angry, and triggered by Donald Trump’s words, and his victory in November. The statements he has made about about immigrants, Muslims, and women are unacceptable. His calls for massive deportations and his support for the police despite their record of brutality is not something any progressive can support.

Secondly, freedom of speech is essential. Any repression or brutality reigned down on protesters must be loudly opposed. Americans have the right to protest against the commander in chief, and this should never be compromised.

But while you are protesting, please consider the following points:

1. Millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump. Are many of them racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, or otherwise bigoted? Perhaps. But shouldn’t you be trying to win these people away from these views that you consider to be problematic? Do you think you are going to win them over by just shouting “racist!” and “bigot” at them? Not everyone has the same opportunities. Not all Americans get to attend expensive universities, take courses in race and gender studies, learn to confront their inner prejudices, and become educated progressives. A lot of working class people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, frankly don’t know what you mean when you call them racist or transphobic. Shouldn’t you be trying to change their views with clear, precise arguments, not hateful, condescending vitriol?

2. Do really you think bigotry is the only thing that caused millions of Americans to vote for Trump? His campaign also involved talk of bringing back good paying industrial jobs to the rustbelt. He spoke about ending regime change operations around the world and working toward global peace. He spoke about rebuilding the infrastructure of the country. Who knows if Trump really means any of this, and for everything he has said, there are words and actions to the contrary. But aren’t these things that you, as a progressive, also believe in? If millions of Americans are angry about a lack of jobs, endless wars, and crumbling infrastructure, why is it that Donald Trump is the one capturing their anger? Trump even spoke about “international bankers.” Why is it that amid rising anti-capitalist sentiments, the right-wing, not leftists like yourself, is leading the populist charge? Isn’t this your territory? Shouldn’t people who are angry at Wall Street become socialists, anarchists, or communists? Is it possible that perhaps Trump’s rise shows that maybe you are doing something wrong?

3. The Democrats big argument against Trump is that he is somehow connected to Russia. Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia, in response to alleged meddling in the elections, which many Democrats blame for Trump’s victory. Signs at previous anti-Trump rallies have said “No Putin President” and “Trump Works for the Kremlin.” As a leftist, you should know what Mccarthyism is. Why is it that the Anti-Trump movement, which you now support, is preaching Mccarthyism? Are you comfortable with that?

I hope you will take the time to consider these three points. If your goal tomorrow is to feel good about yourself, get your voice heard, and then return to business as usual, I suspect you will achieve it.

But if you actually want to make things better in America, and end the rising chaos, poverty, and the emerging low wage police state, I urge you think a little deeper. Instead of thinking about just how you can make yourself feel superior to those who support Trump, perhaps you should reconsider the tactics and rhetoric the organized left has used in the last 30 years.

The country is far bigger than the East Coast and Southern California. Millions of Americans are angry and desperately want change. Millions of them voted for Trump because they were led to believe he would bring that change.

Its quite trendy and easy to be anti-Trump in certain parts of the country. The economy in New York City and southern California is much better than elsewhere. But across the USA, a lot of people are hurting. Heroin addiction, suicide, and other diseases of despair are killing people off. The rise of figures like Alex Jones shows that more and more people are looking for answers beyond mainstream political discourse.

Isn’t it worth at least having a conversation with these people? Should all the rising anger among low income white people, much of it about the very issues your ideologies claim to be addressing, be simply handed over to the right-wing?

Are you satisfied with the left remaining an isolated book club of middle class bohemians? Or do you actually want a new America?

Caleb T. Maupin

From the archives:

Abby Martin: Stephen Cohen Debunks US Claim “Russia #1 Threat”

Chris Hedges and Abby Martin: What Is The Purpose Of The Intelligence Report?

Chris Hedges: We Have To Grow Up + David Swanson: Anti-Russian US Establishment Willing To Risk Nuclear War

Chris Hedges: Fascism vs Neoliberalism

The Enemy Is At Home by John Catalinotto

Chris Hedges: The Primary Purpose of the Declassified Report is to Discredit Donald Trump + John Kiriakou: Hillary Clinton Stole the Primary Election From Bernie Sanders

Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump by David Swanson

Ralph Nader: The Biggest Divide And Rule Tactic Is The Constant Drumbeat That We Are Highly Polarized

24 thoughts on “Deep Reservations About the “Anti-Trump” Movement by Caleb Maupin

  1. Pingback: Would America’s First Populists Even Recognize Trump’s Brand Of Populism? by Caleb Maupin – Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: The Anti-Trump Protests: Don’t Ask: Where Were You For The Last 8 Years? by Bill Dores – Dandelion Salad

  3. Pingback: Ralph Nader: Trump’s Presidency Will Be Tumultuously Unpredictable – Dandelion Salad

  4. Pingback: Glen Ford: There is No Such Thing as a Progressive Movement That is Aligned with the CIA – Dandelion Salad

  5. Pingback: Chris Hedges: Learn to Work With People That Think Differently From Us – Dandelion Salad

  6. What we may be seeing is a struggle between two different groups of imperialists.
    Trump represents the nationalist-imperialists, while the neoliberals play ball with the globalist-imperialists.
    The Trumpists oppose the regime change/war strategies of the globalists because they see the failure of, and don’t profit from, these strategies.
    They intend to win at capitalism by sheer hardball deal making.
    Little of this will be of benefit to the rest of us, in my view. And, in their lust for profits, it is altogether likely that they will neglect the environment and create billions of climate-refugees replacing the devastation of war with the devastation of ramped-up climate change.

    • Jenny , Churchill said ”Better to Jaw jaw than to bang bang .”. If Trumpster can do the art of the deal without regime change , not only will he save lives but avert war . He wants to be reelected. If he does not rebuild infrastructure that benefits inner citys like Detroit , Philly , Cleveland , etc.. swing states in the Rust belt – he will lose them in 2020 and lose the election . so he has to at least help those people . His ego is so fat and big that he does not want to lose . that may ( i say may ) work for the betterment of the inner cities .

      also – he and Putin as i have mentioned are ego maniacs ./ but this will work for the safety of averting nuke exchange if these guys hook up ./ let them both strut around and act big and macho …its better than a mushroom cloud like the one over Hiroshima .

      • Yes indeed. The really big challenge for the “status quo” is how to redeploy the Titanic US/NATO led mega profit-machine in ways that can assist not extinguish life…what’s the alternative, higher and higher risk…? We now have superpower-assisted steering. Only nobody seems to have a clue the direction we are navigating.

        Personally, I think NASA and NOAA are far better acronyms than Wall St’s Pentagonalized NATO ( with all its reciprocals and antitheticals…littering our polluted hemispheres.)

        MAD rules. What should SANE stand for?

  7. Pingback: The Enemy is Not Trump, It is Ourselves by John Pilger – Dandelion Salad

  8. If only the average Americans didn’t suffer from “short memory”. Democracy must be carried out EVERY single day and not just at election time. For how many years have Americans been aware of the fact that the entire political system is rigged on both sides of the fence? And how many years that no attempt to correct this is being made? Is it the fact that corruption is OK as long as it suits me? Of course, this is a multi-faceted problem requiring more than one solution. As the Chinese proverb states (more or less): the longest journey starts with the first step. This “first step” has been long in coming and still not taken.

  9. real good article . Most protester out there i have to say this : where the hell were you for the 8 years of the Obama Era with all the war , Mass surveillance state , Torture , signing the NDAA, the list goes on and on ? you were put to sleep . you condoned what he did by your silence.

    i dont vote 2 party . i am a third party guy . But if Trump can take on deep state , bring jobs , rebuild infrastructure , and make peace with Putin – i will be happy . Thank God that the two dynasties of Bush and Clinton are OVER .

    Trump is not the answer per se , but the harbinger of change. First time a private citizen beat the system and won the presidency . and mainly it was because the public has had it with the whole new world order, the mainstream media , the pundits , the pollsters , the bullies .

    We now live in a new Era.

    • I so agree Rocket ~ a very sensible and wise article. Check out Eric Draitser’s Mint Press piece

      It’s just far too simplistic to be forever ‘against’ this, that or the other ~ what we need is pro-action. There are plenty of cynics who just can’t wait for President T to fall into deep state elephant traps; but if that’s all they have to offer, what’s their point? It all seems rather childish to me.

      What may be really interesting ought to be T’s initial meeting with Francis, the clandestine champion of the Green-Divinatrix, and whether he proposes to advance a classical recipe for healing the ‘great schism….’ But more to the point, what about the small detail of the sanctity of Holy Qur’an?

      What are the chances of a ceremonial book-burning in the Oval Office? If so, I wonder how he’s going to get on in Pakistan…..

      • Trumpster is in the great tradition of America First which historically been embraced by Gore Vidal and Chomsky on the left and Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul on the right . anti intervention .

        Trumpster in one fell swoop meeting with Putin will nip in the bud all this red scare crap .

        • I’m sure you’re right on that score, but the deep state provocateurs are his lethal foes, the enemy within; and they will not accept rapprochement kindly…he will have to find a way to feed the US war machine without starting more wars.

        • Hi again Rocket,
          I heard and read some disturbing news about Trump’s “team” and the inaugural parade.
          Apparently, “The military reportedly turned down a suggestion from Trump’s team for tanks and missile launchers at the inaugural parade.” This definitely is not in the tradition of Vidal, Chomsky, Paul And if it’s true, I wonder if Trump himself ok’ed this? I want globalism to end but not with goose stepping military parades for replacement. We need to rid ourselves of our death/military economy and build on health and life.

    • Thanks Rocket, I totally agree. The hypocrisy screeching so shrilly out of the “left/progressives” is nauseating to me. The list of classist, racist, misogynist, and xenophobic legislation and policy coming from the neoliberal globalistic Clinton/Obama crowd for the past 25 years is what has created most of the suffering not only in foreign “policy” as you have touched on but also in the US: Welfare Reform bill 1996, The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act 1996 with the Crime Bills of 1994/96 (both of which helped create the prison/military industrial complex), HUD deregulation, Telecommunications Act 1996, countless Corporate Tax giveaway bills such as the Jobs Creation Act of 2004 HR. 4520 which essentially gave away millions, and of course Glass Steagal. And of course all those free (sic) trade agreements which served to help create the immigration problems. Speaking of which, the so called “wall” attributed to Trump was already started in the Clinton years. And Obama has been Deporter in Chief for 8 years…especially detaining and locking up women and child in Texas and Pennsylvania.

      And the ACA—that is coming home to roost. The insurance companies for which the ACA was created are calling in their chips…no more cheap policies. Well, as you folks here know, the list goes on and on, on all levels.

      I have excellent citations for all the above in case anyone needs clarification from credible, credentialed sources.

      I for one completely understand why folks voted for Trump. He is railing against a lot of these policies and strongly calling them out with very believable angry emotion and he promises he is going to do something about it in a very hard hitting manner. That is really a first for a President. Trump is essentially speaking the truth (truth to power?) about the brutality and cruelty of globalism as well as calling all the eloquently speaking politicians liars.

      And if you have been affected by all or any of the above harsh policies and can no longer afford to keep a roof over one’s head or your families or have lost everything due to no longer being able to afford real health care….damn straight this will hit you in the gut.

      It has hit me, as I have been personally, deeply affected by the policies of the past 25 years.

      I really want to believe Mr. Trump, but there is too much contradiction in whom he’s picking for people around him and he himself seems too erratic. Maybe that’s his strategy, who knows? And yet on any level, does anyone really stand up to the CIA and live to talk about it?

      • yes indeed . good run down on the Neo Lib Regressive Left .

        Trumpster is not the answer per se . as he said yesterday ” I am just the messenger ” .

        he is the harbinger of change . the Neo Con – Neo Lib new world order has come to an end .

        Trumpster is unpredictable . good sign today the way his press secretary went point by point of how the media biased the inauguration.

        Pilger wrote a great piece on journalists being beheld to their corporate paymasters . it is on Dandelion Salad .

        the Press lost this election ! the red scare lost . the pundits lost . the pollsters lost . I hope Trumpster meets with Putin , puts deep state in their place , builds infrastructure , and creates jobs .

  10. I agree about making conversation with the right. But I’m also concerned with changing the heads of the left — i.e., carrying a different message to the “liberals.”

    This morning I went to a rally that, while not explicitly labeled as an anti-Trump rally, could be construed as one. I’ll probably be going to another this evening, and another tomorrow morning. But not with the same purpose as most of the other demonstrators. I’m not sure who those demonstrators are hoping to show their signs to, but I’m hoping to show my sign to those other demonstrators. I’m carrying a big sign that says “Capitalism kills.” That goes beyond anti-Trump — it’s also anti-Obama, and so on. It’s even a little beyond Sanders. It’s outside what the rally organizers had in mind, and I believe it’s making some people think.

    • ‘Capitalism kills’ is a strong statement that I would heartily agree with Eric, but I’m not sure whether it can actually change/improve the minds of those who do not (yet) know how to fully exercise their mental capacities or develop their innate faculties.

      Lots of folk, I suspect, confuse (unqualified) “capital” with “capitalism;” just as the plain fact is too often elided that Marx was a (pragmatic) philosopher ~ a radical free thinker. Not just some fixed ideologist, peddling a pre-packaged product that can be ‘unpacked,’ studied and actually analysed ~ given the time and the enthusiasm to do so….

      Marx-ism has to be recognized as a subsequent ‘translation,’ or a transpositioning (ie applied interpretation) of his ideas; but also as an empirical expression of reflexive post-facto exercises, or attempts to implement those received or independent readings. Many of these attempts have failed, because they were too reliant on dogma and reactionary zeal; or perhaps hampered, by limited understandings of humanity’s biological & metaphysical needs, our epigenetic ‘development’ and (dare I say?) spiritual aspirations.

      Capital on the other hand = an accumulation of symbolic capacity. That is to say, I would prefer to think of it as an abstracted concentration of exponential wealth; as a supreme trust, in the purest classical terms, it would have been reified in the idea of the Temple ~ the focus of localized ‘natural wealth’ as a probabilistic means or scope, of potential investment in social infrastructure/institutions/initiatives/rites and general human well-being, prosperity and convivial community values. The problems arise, when competing “temples” resort to violence to solve their ideological and material priorities.

      So, the same could be said, about the distinction between learning and education ~ or to raise it to another plane: “initiation.” We have to generate and sustain an embedded context that invests in particular types of ‘curricula’ ~ not just one generic species of “pedagogical praxis” or religious formalism; but something that serves the principle of self-improvement, & reflexive systems of knowledge that inform the alchemy of self-transcending understanding & authentic purpose.

      This requires a dependable and coherent formula for moral/ social/intellectual/emotional development rather than just some narrow ideological agenda; such as what we witness today, masquerading as “liberal” states of alleged “enlightenment” consciousness.

      • David , my fantasy for election 2016 was Bernie vs Trump .
        both right on about fair trade .
        they have them square off man to man .
        trump – Capitalist
        Bernie – Socialist

        then – America – choose ye this day .

    • Hi Lefty, You may want to try “Corporate Globalism Kills” .
      You’ll nail the free (sic) trade agreements, the so called “wars” (which are really corporate hostile takeovers of some geo-strategic areas resources,etc.) and everything else in between. Thank you for doing this.

      • yes . Bernie and Trump were the only ones that addressed these bad trade deals . they understand from two different viewpoints that the root of the problem is economic and not some indentity political correct nonsense .

      • Ryana , in regards to Trumpster taking on CIA . if anyone has the guts to do it he does . if they threaten him or his family he will go public . that is his style . and he will fire them .

        His ego is so big it may work well for us in this regard . and he is gonna meet with Putin. Both men sort of understand each other .

        so here is my motto :
        Nixon to China
        Trump to Moscow

Comments are closed.