Is It Still Us vs. Them?

The Trump era has progressive folks twisted. Like, it used to feel more easily and simply like “us vs. them.” But, when a subset of “them” took bigotry to levels so dastardly that the rest of them were offended, things got a little more complicated. I’ve been cheering for Robert Mueller for well over a year, I find myself high-fiving the TV when Rod Rosenstein publicly stands up to pressure from the White House, and I damn near gave Meaghan McCain a standing ovation in my living room when her eulogy to her late father boldly attacked the ugliness that Trump has sown. But guess what: I’m pretty sure I won’t be planning the revolution with any of them.

Yes, they (and Flake and Hatch and Corker and Rubin and Sykes and Schmidt and Wallace and Steele) have voiced their disagreements with varying degrees of indignation, but my list of problems with Donald is way longer than theirs. For a second or two I wonder, “Maybe there are some conservatives out there with whom there is enough common ground to build an interesting and rewarding friendship.” Then, I slow myself down and remember that the enemy of my enemy isn’t necessarily my friend; that outrage at someone’s incivility, bombast, or treason isn’t a proxy for outrage at that person’s racism, transphobia, and misogyny.

And then, just when I think that the gap between my list of grievances and their list of grievances is where hope for any real alliance—something that would begin to redefine “them” as closer to “us” in the struggle—when I begin to realize that’s the gap that hope falls through, I click on a story about George W. passing a piece of candy to Michelle Obama at John McCain’s funeral.

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