Why People Who Vote for Republicans in the Midterms Deserve Your Anger and Spite

Let me tell you about my weekend.

I was at a reunion of a lovely, kind, generous family who I am fortunate to know. There were over 100 people there, all related to Irish immigrants who came to the United States at the start of the 20th century. A very old man walked over to the PA system that our hosts had set up, took the mic, and introduced himself as the oldest living family member there. He was the 90 year-old grandson of the first member of the family to come to the United States.

That immigrant, that young woman, Mary, arrived when she was 15, and she settled in Connecticut. "Then she worked and sent money home. And when she had earned enough, she was able to bring her sister over," he said. "And then they worked and sent money home. When they sent enough, their other sister came over." That's how it went with the family. They came to America, arrived in Boston or New York, and they worked and they sent money home to help their families and they brought relatives over when they could. That's the story of this country. There is no America without this story, multiplied millions of times over.

Now, this very large family contained multitudes. They had married people of other nationalities. They had married people of other races - black, Hispanic. There were same sex couples. Many of these couples had children, mixed race and mixed background, some adopted and some through IVF. There were physically and developmentally disabled people. There was an entire range of political beliefs. There was even a bagpiper. Every single person there accepted every single other one. That is also the story of this country. And there is no America without this story, multiplied millions of times over.

When we talk about "the American dream," we mostly think that it's something capitalistic, that if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll be comfortable, maybe even wealthy, and you'll be able to buy shit and do shit and you'll be happy because of it. But we know that's nonsense. We know that that American dream is just a hamster wheel that you run on endlessly for the amusement of people who don't have to worry about dreams.

Instead, what we should be talking about is the dream of America, something akin to Martin Luther King's dream, one that is about the way in which the United States is constructed. If you do not understand that this is a nation that only exists because of immigrants, that family unification (not the bullshit term "chain immigration") is the foundational way in which communities are organized and end up flourishing, that people deserve to be treated like people no matter where the hell they are from, that one group of immigrants, be they from Mexico, Somalia, or Ireland, is not superior to another, or if you think that we shouldn't allow refugees asylum here or that we should tear children away from their parents to teach them all a lesson in daring to believe in the fucking myth that the world is fed constantly about this nation, then you don't understand a goddamn thing about what makes America American. It's the fucking ability to live with each other without getting in each other's shit about who people are. It's learning that difference isn't scary.

My reason for being abjectly enraged by Trump supporters is not that I disagree with their politics, although I do. It's not even that I think they're assholes, although they proudly are. They enrage me because they don't want to even try anymore to pretend any of this has to do with anything other than racism and hatred. They enrage me because they want to take the one thing that actually does make America great - our openness to people from all over the world - and shitcan it.

And I know that the country has fucked up time and again when it comes to treatment of immigrants. I know that the Irish were once considered animals, and then the Italians, and then, and then, and then. There has always been the groups of people that were feared and reviled and discriminated against and deported and expelled. Same as it ever was.

Despite all of that, immigrants want to come here. And it's not because they get to try to negotiate a barbaric residency process or work shit jobs or any of that. It's for the reason that anyone would do it. It's the reason there is a caravan. It's so their kids can maybe have a better life, maybe even as Americans. Same as it ever was.

The sisters who came here in the early 1900s when Ireland was a shithole country worked awful jobs. They arrived during a time of higher unemployment than we have now, and during periods of recession and depression. They worked. They had American kids. It wasn't even a question. They had American kids. Now, generations later, a few of their descendants are rich. A few even work for the local and state and federal governments. Some have remained working class. Most are comfortably middle class. The dream, man. Why would we deny it to people now? How childish. How absurd. How fucked.

If you had any hopes two terrible years ago that Donald Trump would govern as anything other than the rank dick he has been his entire life, you know better now. If you had any hopes that Republicans would rise to the occasion and hold Trump to the same standards they held Democrats, you know better. You know the only way to slow Trump down is to elect Democrats. The only reason to vote Republican is because you want the America Trump and the GOP want.

Because of that, you deserve our contempt and our rage. You are the thugs. You are the gangs. You are the terrorists. You are anti-American.

And when I vote tomorrow, it will be to tell you to go back underground and wallow in your own hatred and filth and leave the rest of us the fuck alone. We've got work to do. Together.