Information to Send my Mother about the Dangers of a Trump Presidency
November 15, 2016 3:24 PM   Subscribe

I would like to put together an email to my mother explaining why I’m so afraid of a Trump presidency and the people it will empower both inside and outside of the White House. I would be grateful for any suggestions you can provide about information to include, especially with sources, particularly anything that makes clear the authoritarian/fascist aspects of current events. I’m not looking to make her read long articles, I just want a clear and straightforward list of points to make that show how scary and out of the ordinary this is for America.

For background (feel free to skip this part if you have information which could be helpful but don’t particularly feel a need to learn about my mother which would be super reasonable), my mother is a New England liberal who voted for Clinton and genuinely cares for PoC and religious minorities as well as LGBTQ people (although, regrettably, not so strong on the “T”). She is also of a very establishment mindset (e.g. reads the New York Times) and is suspicious of activism or dire warnings. She donates money to lots of good causes but is made uncomfortable by anything that feels unpleasant or disorderly (e.g. protests; I think she finds them unsavory). I think she doesn’t want to believe that circumstances are as bad as they are and also is unwilling or unable to see the problems with her empathy for economically disadvantaged Trump voters over the many other people who will be hurt. She is basically exactly who MLK described in the “white moderate” section of Letter from the Birmingham Jail. I want to help her understand why I’m not willing to keep my opinions to myself at family events to keep the peace even if it’s unpleasant for me and I really want to. I think she’s in denial about how many bad and potentially bad things are because she’s sheltered by her privilege, because it’s very hard and scary to admit what’s happening, and because she’s not exposed to a lot of these ideas. It upsets her when I talk about wanting to participate in activism (I’m over thirty so this is not just a “you’re too young” thing) and I want her to understand why I don’t feel like I can stay silent.

I’m not just looking for evidence that Donald Trump is a bad person who is unqualified to be President because she definitely knows that, I’m looking for information that goes beyond the usual political “differences of opinion”, in particular anything that relates to fascism or white supremacy.

Things that would be helpful include:

  • Authoritarian or fascist things Donald Trump and/or his team members and family have said or done, especially since the election
  • Clear ties between people who are part of Trump’s team (or proposed team) and white supremacy, misogyny, hatred towards religious minorities, LGBTQ-phobia, and other hateful ideologies or statements – the more overt the better
  • Ties his family members have to hateful ideologies or groups
  • Examples of ways in which this administration is going to and has already started hurting people (e.g. increased incidences of hate crimes)
  • Things Donald Trump has said that are racist or hateful (these can be things everyone knows like the “grab them by the pussy” comment, things people know but about which they have forgotten like when he accused Judge Curiel of being unable to be impartial because of his Mexican heritage, or things that were underreported and she might not have known)
  • Ways in which the media has normalized or underreported the horrors of the people associated with this administration (especially involving respected media like the New York Times)
  • I’d like to fight back against the idea that people who voted for Donald Trump, and certainly those who continue to support him, are just suffering from economic anxiety and that we need to focus on having empathy for them
Ideally, I’ll have a long, terrifying list of clear, indisputable points with sources to articles for each one in case she wants to learn more, e.g.:

  • Donald Trump has selected Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist. Steve Bannon a white nationalist and an anti-Semite (source). He is the chairman of Brietbart News which published headlines including “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”, “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews”, and “Roger Stone: Huma Abedin ‘Most Likely a Saudi Spy’ with ‘Deep, Inarguable Connections’ to ‘Global Terrorist Entity’” (source). He Is a known anti-Semite and misogynist (source).
  • Mike Pence has supported legislation punishing women for abortions (source). When he was governor, Indiana prosecuted a woman for having a miscarriage or inducing an abortion (the facts are “murky” -- source).
  • An underreported aspect of this election is the voter suppression laws in force in various states. For example, in Wisconsin, about 300,000 registered voters were turned away from the polls based on the state’s draconian voter suppression laws; approximately 27,000 votes separate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in this swing state. Additionally, poll workers in Michigan incorrectly told voters they need ID to vote, in Pennsylvania people tried to vote but were incorrectly told they need ID, and in Alabama, during the first presidential election in which they required voter IDs, the state closed thirty-one driver’s license offices, making it much harder to obtain an ID (many of these closures were in neighborhoods with a high proportion of low-income residents of color) (source).
I would be immensely grateful for anything else you can provide in this vein as well as other sources to support what I already have. The more horrifying and clearer these points the better. My mother is a good, kind, empathetic person who I think doesn’t realize quite how scary this is for a lot of people and I think she doesn’t want to talk to me about it because she thinks I’m overreacting. I don’t necessarily expect her to agree with me on every count but I want to show her that when I talk about my fear and anxiety about a potential authoritarian regime I’m not exaggerating, this stuff is already happening and much of the rhetoric mirrors Nazi rhetoric and people are going to get hurt and die because of these people. Thank you so much for your help with this; it means a great deal to me.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (10 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
This Colbert bit, most particularly the clip of Omarosa around 13:40, and Masha Gessen's piece Autocracy: Rules for Survival may provide some ideas for you
posted by katemonster at 3:31 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also this is a bit jokey but compares him to other fascists as they were coming to power and has clips from throughout the campaign
posted by katemonster at 3:33 PM on November 15, 2016

Sarah Kendzior is an anthropologist who has studied authoritarian regimes in other countries. She's been tweeting a lot of information about how these authoritarian kleptocracies arise. These are Twitter threads, so you might want to Storify them before sending to your mom. She also writes at times for various papers including this article in the Globe and Mail: A fascist’s win, America’s moral loss

I think it could help your mom to frame things in terms of risk assessment rather than objective truth. What is the risk to her if she's wrong and you're right? Then have her think of what happens if she's, for example, a queer woman of color with a disability. Or an undocumented immigrant. Or a Syrian refugee. The question is not whether you're right about Trump, but rather whether you (and others) can afford to be wrong.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:43 PM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Read this op-ed by Gary Kasparov, Putin's most prominent critic.
posted by any major dude at 4:26 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

The religious freedom law in Indiana is appalling. I don't have a great, quick source for it, but here are the stickers businesses are now using: link
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:39 PM on November 15, 2016

This Vox article was written before the election, but is focused on explaining that racism predicts feelings of economic hopelessness under Obama better than anything else including actual economic situation. So yes, they are suffering from economic anxiety - but it's partly because they refuse to believe that things could be going well under a black president.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:38 PM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

The ACLU overview of Trump's unconstitutional plans is pretty good. It's a dispassionate list, focused purely on the policy implications of his promises - Trump on immigration, Trump on abortion, Trump on torture - but it is terrifying.
posted by Aravis76 at 11:23 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Here's a list of campaign promises:
posted by xammerboy at 1:07 AM on November 16, 2016

I went looking for similar resources yesterday and came up with two that may be useful. 230 Things Donald Trump Has Said and Done That Make Him Unfit to Be President (helpfully ranked by reader votes). And Donald Trump said 560 false things, total. These are both carefully edited lists with links to original source.s
posted by Nelson at 7:35 AM on November 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

This one, which is admittedly a bit Oregon-themed, seems to cover it all. I'm just trying to get up the nerve to send it to my mom.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:12 AM on November 18, 2016

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