My Month As A Trump Supporter

Monday, 4 December 2017

Donald Trump painting

There was a point during the US election where I realised President Clinton was a title reserved only for Bill. It became apparent, regardless of what the polls said, that Donald Trump would soon sit in the Oval Office. I can’t tell you why I came to the realisation; I could take multiple stabs in the dark and never hit the right answer but I can tell you I woke up to the presidential announcement with an open mind. President Trump was no longer a joke from an old episode of The Simpsons, he was officially real and at the helm of America whether we liked it or not.

At no point during the election did I ever want Trump to win. I still cannot work out how America could only find Trump and Clinton to represent the 2 major parties and I still maintain that neither was the lesser of 2 evils; they were both unfit candidates but one person had to win and that person was Trump. In the months since Trump has taken office, so many things have happened that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I didn't expect to see white supremacists marching on Charlottesville or hear about how Russia may have meddled in the election. I didn't think Nazism was going to become part of my daily conversations but this is what we are faced with.

Before we really get into how I became a Trump supporter for a month, I want to make it clear that I don’t believe every Trump supporter is racist, ignorant and extremely conservative. I’m not oblivious to the fact there are a lot of people who felt like they were left behind by the Obama regime and responded to Trump’s policies and boldness.

That being said, I’m seeing less and less of those Trump voters and significantly more ultra-conservative voters who regurgitate Trump’s opinions and lies as if they are their own and I wanted a better understanding as to why they think the way they do. I couldn’t do it as myself; I’m not a liberal and I’m not a conservative but I have enough bias in me to realise that I can’t truly hand myself over to the alt-right. To get around my own views, I made a fake Facebook profile for a homophobic white supremacist I fondly called Christian Whiteman Junior.

Initially, it was difficult to shake off some of my views. I wanted to jump into the comment sections of a lot of racist and homophobic articles being shared by the pages I had liked and defend the ones I was supposed to be berating but I stopped myself. I wanted the full immersive experience so I started screaming about libtards, how homosexuality was wrong, why crooked Hillary should go to jail and I called all NFL players who are peacefully protesting “babies”. My most liked comments are ones that are based on nothing more than hatred and ignorance, the comments that were widely shunned were ones where I allowed some degree of humanity in and corrected inaccurate headlines. If I said same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt, a lot of people agreed with me, if I pointed out the exaggerated claims in a news story, I could see the tumbleweeds roll by.

I realised over the course of this month that “fake news” is very easily spread so long as it fits the agenda of the people you want to read it. If you are anti-Islam and you read a story on how Muslims will now be allowed to wear burkas in their Chicago driver license photos, then that will fuel your hatred further and will encourage you to scream about western values. It doesn’t matter that the story is false, what matters is the story exists and it benefits you in some way.

As Christian Whiteman Junior, these were the type of stories that appeared on my timeline almost every minute. I read a lot of the articles and I read the comments from multiple Facebook users. I didn’t read one article that was factually correct, in fact, the vast majority of these websites never loaded across 3 devices and on 3 different wifi networks. The headlines were controversial enough to engage the supporters of these views to not have to worry about supplying a user-friendly, functioning website. The comments I read were merely a reaction to an often very racist headline and never the actual content. They were written by people who get their news from places that won’t offer different opinions or different accounts of an event. It’s designed to be extremely one-sided and it’s extremely disturbing.

One of the stories in particular that stood out to me was about Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the “take a knee” movement, is either an extremely well-liked or a widely hated person depending on which side you’re on. He has been dubbed anti-American by extreme alt-right supporters and this story worked perfectly in their favour. The headline was “Anti-American Kaepernick Just Denounced US & Leaves the Country – Here’s Where He’s At Now”.

The story was about how he had gone back to his “bug and crap-infested homeland of Ghana” (he’s actually from Wisconsin) and how he has no gratitude towards the white parents who adopted him from a 3rd world country. It was extremely low brow journalism but it worked; people celebrated his departure from the US in the comments but what they failed to realise was none of it was true. Kaepernick may have ties to Ghana somewhere in his family but he’s American, he didn’t denounce the US, he just wanted to educate himself more on a country that America ransacked for slaves. The entire article reeked of racism and stupidity but it was lapped up. I almost couldn't believe such an article could be written from a serious standpoint so I looked into whether the website in question was legitimate and not just satire. I couldn't find anything to suggest that this was supposed to be comical.

Even as I switch between writing this post and Christian Whiteman Junior’s Facebook page, I’m met with a headline that reads “Watch as THOUSANDS of Black People Storms Stores and Trash the HELL Out of it On BLACK FRIDAY”. I read the poorly written article and then watched the video embedded in it. The video shows a lot of white people fighting with each other over TVs but very few black people. The headline is designed to fit the “black people are thugs” narrative and, so long as you don’t bother watching the videos, you’d believe the headline.

At some point today I will go onto Christian Whiteman Junior's Facebook page and will be met with numerous articles claiming that NFL ratings and attendance are down due to the NFL players protest and images of empty stadiums will accompany these headlines. The articles will feature no evidence to back up the claims, the comments will consist of calling NFL players ungrateful and stupid and the images will have been taken before the games kicked off and before the majority of fans were even in the stadium. Is any of that important though? For as long as you carry the opinion that the protests are disrespectful and NFL players have no right protesting anything, none of that matters. You want to see empty stadiums and that’s exactly what you’re getting; it doesn’t even occur to you that there are no players on the field in those pictures.

Looking at the difference between the news I usually consume in comparison to the news I allowed a fake Facebook profile to be flooded with is staggering. The level of hypocrisy of people screaming “fake news” while engaging with the very definition of fake news is mind-boggling. I don’t doubt that there are false claims made by both sides of the argument but I’ve never truly immersed myself into anything but exaggerations and false narratives because I’ve never felt the need to until now. At no point in my life have I ever watched empathy and logic crumble while hatred thrives but here we are with Donald Trump as the President of the United States, white supremacy rearing its ugly head once more and fake news being at the forefront of every political conversation.

Christian Whiteman Junior's Facebook page made me ashamed to be a human being but admittedly, spreading his views was easy. It takes no effort to deem homosexuality as immoral, to call black people thugs and to yell that libtards are ruining everything. You don't need to think, you don't need to remind yourself that you're talking about a fellow human being who contains both good and bad traits; all you have to do is be a hateful, degrading, vile person who believes everything put in front of them so long as it's not opposing views. All you have to be is ignorant.

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