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This is a great piece of reporting by ⁦@elizabethjdias⁩. What stands out most are the intense and generalized feelings of victimization, which is a common thread among Trump voters and conservatives more generally. But why do they feel this way?/1…
This part, for example, highlights feeling “like your freedoms kept getting taken from you” and the view that “it was dangerous to voice your Christianity” under Obama, but then specifies “white believers.” /2
This section, unlike much of the rest of the article, offers two specific examples of why they feel besieged. One is the charge that “we were viewed as bigots, as racists” and the other is that “Obama wanted to take my assault rifle.” /3
This section was also illuminating: “she heard talk of giving freedoms to gay people and members of minority groups. But to her it felt like her freedoms were being taken away, And she was turning into the minority.”/4
The lack of specificity in that passage—“heard talk of” and “felt like”—are notable because it seems to be implied that “giving freedoms” to other groups made her feel that “her freedoms were being taken away.” And that the threat of minority status is a threat to freedom./5
And the “bad analogy” about Pence being like “the very supportive, submissive wife to Trump” because “Pence does the hard work” while Trump “gets the glory” is Illuminating. Interesting that Dias notes “she felt freer as she spoke,” to preface these observations about gender./6
Many of the feelings of victimization are expressed, unlike the comment about Obama “taking my assault rifle,” in the passive voice: “If you’re a hardworking Caucasian-American, your rights are being limited because you are seen as against all the races or against women.”/7
So here perceived, but unspecified, social approbation (being “seen as against all the races or against women”) is understood as limitation of “rights.” /8
The other mode of argumentation about how freedom is lost is based on a zero sum worldview: we spent 8 years or more “with our freedoms slowly being taken away under the guise of giving freedoms to all.” Expanding freedom, in this view, is a “guise.”/9
Ultimately, it comes down to a view that to be a minority(or to be in the process of becoming such) is to be victimized and without meaningful rights. “Caucasians are rapidly becoming a minority. Rapidly.” /10
Such a view seems based on a recognition that minorities in the past have not experienced freedom and that a belief that minorities in the future (in this case, the historic-and rightful?-majority) stand little chance of doing so either. /11
It may seem overly optimistic to suggest that expanding freedom in a pluralistic democracy doesn’t necessarily have to result in the loss of freedom for others. But, of course, this depends on how one defines “freedom.”/12
This piece is so rich and there is more to say, but I'l conclude by noting both the striking centrality of grievance and victimization and the degree to which this condition is attributed much more to generalized feelings rather than to specific acts of discrimination. /13
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