US politics has finally broking free from President Trump and his toxic brand of anti-LGBT+, racist and xenophobic rhetoric. Levi Joule hopes this rejection of the far-right will help bring the left, back to centre as well.
For the LGBT+ community and beyond, the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris presidency signals America’s return to normalcy, stability and decency, at a time in which the world desperately needs it.
Trump was a dangerous authoritarian. And while he did differ from his conservative predecessors on some issues – unfortunately, they were all of the wrong ones.
Rather than supporting traditional Republican (or Democratic) consensus positions, such as being pro-free-trade and favouring the advancement of liberal democracy abroad, Trump espoused protectionism, xenophobia and support for genocidal dictators and despots.
Where the outgoing President did not diverge from conservative Republican orthodoxy however was on rainbow issues. There were half-assed attempts by Melania Trump in the dying days of her husband’s campaign to try and paint Donald as being LGBT+ friendly, but with a record of continuous pandering to the religious right, a stated opposition to same-sex marriage and a ban on transgender people serving in the military; Melania’s claims (like so much of Trump’s presidency) lacked any basis in fact.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, was the first Vice President in office to endorse same-sex marriage, he championed efforts to repeal a ban on gays and lesbians from serving in the military and he will pass the Equality Act. Life for America’s Rainbow community was at its best under Barack Obama’s Presidency and it will be even better under Joe Biden’s.
While the vast majority of the Rainbow community will be welcoming the demise of Trump, a small number will no-doubt harbour secret grievances that he is now gone, and I am not just talking about the 28% of LGBT+ Americans who shamefully voted for him.
In the Trump era, extreme views were given weight like never before from both the far-right and far-left. It’s not like they didn’t exist before his election, they were just rightfully ignored. But under Trump, the extreme rights and lefts shared some of the same enemies.
How often have we heard condemnation of the ‘metropolitan elites’ or ‘rich white gays?’ It’s almost a 50/50 split as to whether the slurs are levelled by the Trumpian right or someone belonging to a fringe leftist group.
The homophobic attacks on Mayor Pete Buttigieg, when he sought the US Presidency, were made in almost equal measure by both fringe rainbow groups and the conservative right. The right because he was gay, the left because he wasn’t gay enough. Those sorts of attacks (on our community, by our community) would have previously been unthinkable, but in the Trump era, that toxicity became normalised even in Rainbow spaces.
Trump’s extremism not only in policy but in rhetoric, fanned the flames of an ugly and unnecessary culture war.
The stranger the fights Trump wanted to pick, the stranger the fights many of his opponents wanted to have. A symptom of the culture he fostered.
The Trump era was one where extremist politics and contrived debates free of facts were given priority. It was a long ride to nowhere, yet too many of Trump’s foes happily got in that vehicle.
And it’s long past the time that it came to a screeching halt.
Image | @SaintHoax