Home > Uncategorized > It’s Time to Smell the Shit

It’s Time to Smell the Shit

November 10, 2016

People voted for Trump because he was speaking to them about their pain, and making unreasonable promises about how great the future would be for them.

At the same time he was unforgivably awful to all sorts of subpopulations of Americans. The people who voted for him either embraced that hate or ignored it.

This means two things for the rest of us.

First, it means we need to help Trump voters smell their particular shit, which is going to be hard for them, because many of them actually trusted Trump’s promises. That means we document all the ways their expectations have been unmet in the next four years. We have to keep track of the inevitable blame game that Trump is so good at, where he will vilify random people when he fails to deliver his promises.

Second, it means we need to carefully watch all those people who were willing to embrace the hate; they have been empowered and could be truly dangerous, especially when the shit first gets smelled. Nor can we rely on those people who don’t think of themselves as racist but who ignored the hate. They are willing to remain passive in the face of hatred, exactly what we cannot do. People, we need to protect one another, and in particular we need to protect the most vulnerable among us.

How do we document and protect? It starts with citizen journalism. As individuals, we need to use our phones, our blogs, and our conversations as opportunities to speak clearly about what we witness.

We need to train ourselves to intervene when we see someone get singled out for their religion or the color of their skin. We all need to get off of the toxic echo chamber that is Facebook and engage with people in a coffee shop that we happen to meet. Who knows, we might disagree with them, but that shouldn’t stop us from communicating civilly. We need to travel away from our cities and interact with people outside our normal lives.

We need to support independent journalism (choose your two favorite) and civil rights groups (ACLU, Legal Defense Fund) so they can do their jobs, which are crucially important.

We also need to organize locally to do more. This means more than a protest march. It’s a long game, and it needs to be strategic. It needs to reimagine the Democratic party as well a strategy to empower unionization or some other form or forms of working class solidarity. In my Occupy group we’re going to watch this video soon to know what that might look like.

There’s real risk that if we don’t document and protect, we’ll have a disappointed and angry mob casting their anger and blame on minorities with impunity.

We can do this. We can smell the shit together.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 10, 2016 at 8:20 am

    There’s already an emoji for that 💩
    Maybe someone can make an app 🚽


    • November 10, 2016 at 8:23 am

      That’s not a bad idea! A “Smell The Shit” app, with automated downloading of videos.


  2. November 10, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Ms. O’Neil…speaking as a professionally educated (lawyer) person of color…you are so completely, shall we say, on the numbers!


  3. November 10, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I like Peter Woit’s 3-Step Program for Sanity, aka “We’ll Always Have Paris”.


  4. ~
    November 10, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Completely agree with you, and would like to add that also

    1 we need to help Hillary supporters smell their own shit – the election polls were obviously biased and maybe event manipulated (talk about weapons of math destruction) They are going to play the blame game, which they are really good at, vilifying random people – “basket of deplorables”, “evil white men”, “uneducated budwiser voters”

    2 Many people have been empowered for too long and embraced hate and street violence – Black lives matter, #killallwhitemen, and open attacks on white policemen. BLM in particular “don’t think of themselves as racist but … ignored the hate” within their movement, and as we have seen are truly dangerous.

    I also agree that we must support independent and responsible journalism, as well as civil rights groups like ACLU, and LDF, and to organize more locally. However I cannot agree with you on unionization or “working class solidarity.” I was born in a little country that no longer exists, called Soviet Union, and what you’re writing sounds exactly like the BS I grew up with. And we all know how that turned out.


  5. November 10, 2016 at 9:43 am

    All true. But Trump voters were also smelling. They smelled that they were going to be the losers in a world of pervasive social and economic change. We never figured out how to make things OK for them. It’s no wonder they fell for the D’s bull.


    • ed
      November 11, 2016 at 1:29 am

      last i saw the majority of trump voters were well above the median u.s. income. i don’t think boiling the analysis down to primarily plight of poor whites catches the primary psychology. and probably gives a too comfortable out. racism, rage, sexism, all played a part on a par with economics. is the money unimportant? of course not. as an accountant and generally an economic determinist, i always say follow the money. but this election has me scared for all the irrationality.


      • November 11, 2016 at 5:26 am

        Then, with respect, you really need to spend more time out of the big cities and in small towns. Come to North Carolina. Within a 3 hour drive, I’ll change your mind considerably. Or pop me an email and I’ll send you a PDF with Google map pictures of several facilities here, all within a 30 minute drive of each other, that represent over a thousand jobs lost to overseas workers after NAFTA was passed.


        • November 11, 2016 at 5:40 am

          James, Thanks for staying with us and explaining your point of view. Let me ask you something. Do you think those jobs are coming back? Do you think other Trump supporters think they are?

          Thanks again.

          Liked by 1 person

        • November 13, 2016 at 2:44 am


          It depends on which jobs we are talking about. The Sonoco plant in Mt. Olive, NC that I used to work at made plastic shopping bags for Wal-Mart, Costco, Food Lion, and others. There is simply no cost effective way to make a plastic bag here that you’re going to sell to Wal-Mart for 3 cents a bag. On the other hand, big ticket items such as appliances and automobiles can be made cost effectively. The profit may not be as high, mind you, because of the higher wages commanded, but it can be done. And, most certainly, the H1B visa humiliation caused to skilled workers by companies such as SunTrust, Disney, and more recently HSCS can be seriously curbed by – you guessed it – controlling immigration more. So, again, depends on the job.

          As for your second question, I would wager that many of them do feel their jobs can come back, but know deep down they will not. Voting for Trump was as much as a middle-finger to the establishment of both parties as it was a plea to return jobs.

          I’ve been emailing back and forth with a very awesome person who knows a lot about economics and we are both agreed that because of automation and because many of those jobs will never return here that eventually the USA will need to consider Universal Basic Income.

          Make no mistake, UBI will happen. It is inevitable.

          And you’re most certainly welcome. 🙂



  6. November 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

    It appears the carnival barkers will never tire of parading Buridan’s Elephant, the fallacious aporia that both piles of manure are equally deep and high and wide, leaving the People no out but dying surrounded all around by walls of excrement.


  7. November 10, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Totally agreed, especially if/when Trump starts scapegoating groups as the reasons why his 100 day promises aren’t being realized.


  8. teya
    November 10, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Cathy, but we did have facts and reason on our side, didn’t we? And yet that didn’t matter.

    This post by David Wong helped me understand a great deal more about the state of mind of Trump supporters (not haters and bullies, just average Americans):

    The question is really not how to be right (and have the documentation to prove it), but how to connect with people who are struggling and find a way to speak to their needs and fears.

    Because they are the ones who will decide the next election.


    • November 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      The Trump supporters also had fact and reason on their side as well. They had shrinking pay checks, jobs being sent over seas, H1B visa workers coming in the country in droves. Ford moving all those jobs to Mexico this past summer was a horrible mistake. And then HSCS pulled in all those H1B workers right before the election. Fuel to the fire.


    • November 10, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      And that was one of the best articles I have read this week. Thank you.


    • ed
      November 11, 2016 at 1:31 am

      yes, that was a very interesting article. i sent it around a lot before the election.


    • November 11, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Empathy is good and I applaud people trying to understand each other. I hope Trump supporters and, dare to dream, people in his circle will try out that exercise to understand the protesters and minority groups that are now so scared.

      That said, is the economic plight of the non-elite white voter the reason for this election outcome? It is a popular story with a nice human/humanizing face, but doesn’t ring true to me. I’m open to being convinced, here are the reasons I’m skeptical.

      First, from my own experience, this group has been struggling since the 1980s (maybe earlier). The story is not new.

      Second, it looks like Trump’s overall support was about what we should expect from a “generic republican,” maybe underperforming a little. I’m basing this on the comparison against the past two elections (see here, for example).

      Third, the evidence that Trump’s supporters (on average, whatever that means) are fairly well-off (see 538 primaries, and the income table from CNN exit polls.)


      • RTG
        November 12, 2016 at 7:53 pm

        I’m interested in the responses you get, because I share some of your skepticism. But I also think it’s more helpful to focus not on Trump’s overall support but specifically on his supporters in the blue states he flipped. Many people who voted for President Obama voted for Trump. These are likely the same Reagan Democrats from the 80s (or their ideological if not familial successors), though it’s tough to say right now. In 2008 and 2012, their votes for President Obama were seen as a return to the Democrat’s tent, but it’s plain to see that was an imperfect understanding of the situation. As a Clinton supporter in both her primaries and the general, I recognize that it’s probably no coincidence that Trump won decisive “surprise” victories in many of the same states that Sanders did.

        I wrote a comment in Cathy’s November 9 post about my own reasons for supporting Clinton, but I think we need to be mindful that with only two major parties both candidates’ supporters are anything but monolithic in their reasons and demographics. For me, when faced with the hateful rhetoric spewed by Trump, there was no choice. But I (or at least people who appear indistinguishable from me) am explicitly the target of many of his slurs. Very few voters who are demographically similar to me pulled the lever for Trump…though more might have for Kasich or even Cruz.


      • Leigh
        November 16, 2016 at 10:59 am

        is the economic plight of the non-elite white voter the reason for this election outcome?

        I believe it is – If either party had given a crap about the working class in this country over the last 20 years, we wouldn’t be living in a country with no middle class – and Trump as our President.


        • November 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm

          I completely agree with you.


  9. November 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    It sounds like a good idea to have a rigorously updated Web site of “Donald Trump’s promises” that compiles broken promises, with citations, is searchable, etc. More generally, maybe we should have had this for every president and politician all along. Such sites could make a difference.


  10. November 10, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I would also emphasize, when you say things we need to do over the next four years, the things we need to do in the next *two* years. The next important federal election is not 2020, it’s 2018. Gerrymandering makes the House hard to shift too far, but there’s the Senate. And if your states have elections in 2017, then those are important too. 2020 will be very important (census and redistricting), but 2018 should not be ignored, either.


  11. ~
    November 10, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I hope that the outcome of all of this mess would be both parties taking a hard look at themselves, and give USA citizens better, more likable candidates in the next election cycle.


  12. halit n. gursoy
    November 11, 2016 at 12:56 am

    “… In my Occupy group we’re going to watch this video soon to know what that might look like.” Very interesting and informative video.


  13. ed
    November 11, 2016 at 1:35 am

    so anybody aware of already running logs of trumpista shenanigans? southern poverty law center? aclu? it’d be great to have only a few repositories instead of 1000’s of isolated, small voices.


  14. November 11, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Warm greetings from Europe…
    It is very hard for us not to notice the many similarities between Trump and former Italian PM Berlusconi. And… it seems not too far fetched, looking at what happened there, to predict a few things:
    *) His policies won’t be that different from those of a regular conservative. “Being an outsider” won’t make any difference.
    *) So, discrimination against minorities will persist, but there will be no wall and no pogroms.
    *) So again, Putin will be allowed to grasp the Ukraine by … wherever he chooses to, but the Middle East won’t be left alone.
    *) He won’t deliver what he “promised”, but his voters will continue to vote for him. Yes, there might be a second term. Ie, yes, do check his facts, but don’t have a big faith on the effectivity of your actions. So sorry about that!
    *) He might divorce and get a new partner (not necessarily in that order). This may seem irrelevant, but it will be one more reason why
    *) You will be embarrassed when talking politics with foreign friends, and often the subject will be avoided altogether.
    *) In spite of everything, your country will continue to be a great country.
    Of course there are big differences, notably in the parliamentary system, for instance Berlusconi created his own party, which Trump won’t do. Anyway.


  15. Bridget
    November 11, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Is there something analogous to the ACLU/LDF for supporting independent journalism?


  16. Patrick
    November 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    We also need to empathize with Trump supporters. Empathy in the sense that we understand their pain and what motivated them to make such a terrible choice. I told our Social Work students (University) that most of the people that supported Trump are the ones who will suffer the most under his policies (under-educated white males). Ironically, they will be coming to us for support. This is an opportunity to engage the disenfranchised in an authentic way that both supports and educates. I am a constructivist researcher and believe that mutual understanding is both possible and a powerful force for change. We have learned that graphs, charts, expert testimonials, and data in general have no real impact on many Americans now. So those of us in the Advocacy Trenches need to engage in one-to-one relationships with people and hope that they can see where their oppression truly emanates from. We need to give respect even when we don’t receive it, we need to understand what they need even if we abhor it, we need identify the threads that connect us, and we need to educate them about the mechanisms of their oppression in as a-political a way as possible. And yes to everything else mentioned above – local action, policy advocacy, peaceful protests, and definitely no to Facebook.


    • Leigh
      November 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Well said Patrick


  17. marcus
    November 11, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Upfront confession, I’m no mathematician, I have no data to model, just experience learned from many years observing human nature and events. Donald Trump is a bullshit artist, Americans have just been conned on scales beyond their imagining. He won’t get his Mexico wall and all that anti muslim stuff he promised to all his xenophobic supporters. Hillary won’t go to jail. However, Obama care will be torn up, and the super rich will get big fat tax cuts. Funnily he was elected on the blue collar ticket, man of the people etc… How does that work? I’ll for one will never know !

    Good luck America

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Landrew
    November 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Cathy, as a Bernie supporter through donation, campaigning for there is PLENTY of SHIT to go around. Wikileaks proved the corruption within the Democratic Party working against free and fair elections. The rise in popularity of Bernie was NOT Bernie it WAS what he was saying ” Millionaires and Billionaires have taken over our government”. That was the truth being spoken the DNC/Clintons refused to hear. Wikileaks showed the deep connection of Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, etc.within the Clinton campaign, theft of the primary election the deep control the Banksters had over the Clintons and the DNC. The SHIT is deep in both parties and it’s time to know IF we can save the Democratic Party or we destroy it and begin anew with a true Party of multicultural working families both young and old. As the Democratic Party of Republican LIGHT will NEVER win again, we want and need true change not just lip service of the past 40 years of Democratic Party campaign promises. The one thing Donald Trump did get right ” Clinton has been there 30 years, makes promises and leaves only to return in 4 years with nothing”. You should not have been surprised by the election of Donald Trump when the choice of Tim Kaine (Republican Light) was the choice of Clinton when Sen. Warren or Bernie would have and could have been the ONLY choice to win. Shame on the Clintons for the fraud and criminal activities revealed by Wikileaks. Now the Clintons are free to install as many private servers as they want not needing to hide from FOIA. During the first debate with Bernie Clinton said when asked about her private server ” I did nothing wrong”, then weeks later ” I did nothing others didn’t do”, then ” I was given permission” then, ” I didn’t know what classified was” then the F.B.I. Sec. Clinton and the State Dept. was ” Extremely Careless”, then ” I made a mistake” .Shame on the Clintons for hiding when truth and openness were needed. WE were responsible for the loss to Pres. Trump, in nominating someone who will most likely be indicted now that her protection is gone. Goldman Sachs won this election.


    • Anne
      November 13, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Good points but I sincerely hope that the same Bernie supporters who were against “millionaires and billionaires taking over government” didn’t go and vote for a millionaire to become president. That would be awkward


      • November 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm

        You vote for whomever speaks to the fact that you’re flat on your ass broke. All other issues are secondary.

        So, yes, I can see Bernie Bros voting for Trump in some cases. Bernie did tap into the same voter anger that Trump did.


        • RTG
          November 13, 2016 at 2:10 pm

          No *you* do that. Not everyone does. I’m not saying your approach is invalid, but it’s not the only one. It’s insulting to those of us who will be persecuted if Trump follows through with this campaign promises to say you had no choice. You always have a choice. If you choose to better your economic situation on the back of my dignity, you need to own that choice.

          I own that improving the status of women and minorities does come at the cost of benefits accrued to white working class men. I’ve tried in my professional life to mitigate what seemed wrong or unfair, but there is a limit to what that can do. I honestly do not know how to reconcile the fact that reducing inequality is by definition a zero sum game. And make no mistake that identity politics is also about addressing inequality.


  19. November 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    My guess is T-rump will continue creating a lot of jobs in IT (internet trolling). That appears to be the bigliest class he’s created so far.


  20. dmf
    November 13, 2016 at 7:34 pm
  1. November 10, 2016 at 4:37 pm
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