Making Purple Out of Red and Blue – Ainsley Hayes

In the wake of President-Elect Trump’s victory, students have vehemently vocalized their fear, asserting that he is “not our president.” In doing so, they disavow the same American political system that they had participated in, and applauded, up until Trump won Ohio. But this presidential election isn’t a step backward; it’s a look in the mirror. It puts on display the divisive nature of the identity politics that have come to dominate discourse on campus and in Washington. We have strayed far from the days of “ask not what your country can do for you,” wandering into a political climate in which special interest groups ask, “how can my country make me more comfortable?”

Our nation’s long history of inequality has left lasting scars upon the current face of the country. Despite those continued injustices, the rural working class reminded the nation of their own economic suffering and social discontent on Election Day. Often, the metropolitan liberal elite dismisses such woes as invalid because the sufferers are white, but some Americans’ choice of a bellicose and decidedly less-than-perfect leader reflects their exhaustion with the current economic, social, and political conditions. When liberals condemn those citizens as racist and misogynistic because of their skin color, level of education, or party affiliation, it doesn’t engender much love for the Democratic Party. Rather, such wholescale rejection of the concerns of more than 60 million people explains the election of Donald Trump.

This election has highlighted issues of justice, privilege, and morality that underpin our politics as a people. Vitriolic discourse has polarized the campus more than ever, and the longer one party remains unchallenged as the only “moral, educated, humane” choice, the more firmly students dig their Bean Boots into the ground.

It’s easy to condemn half the country outright, and much more difficult to accept that these people exist with valid concerns. We must consider them as holistic individuals with their own worries, families, and dogs. Many of them looked on with dismay and disgust as Donald Trump scoffed at John McCain’s war heroics and bragged about violating women for sport. That said, many Trump voters care more about the prospect of change than they do their candidate’s clear deficiencies. Those shortcomings do not define each of his supporters. After we are stripped of labels and condemnations, we still must wake up, hope the breakfast line at Goodrich is short, and go about our days. Living in this heterogeneous community means appreciating diversity–that includes diversity of thought.

Being concerned for the future of the country is completely valid, as is criticism of the President-Elect and his policies. However, marching down Spring Street, attacking half the nation as a cabal of white supremacists exemplifies the histrionic hysteria that alienated those 60 million Trump voters in the first place. There’s no denying that heinous ideology is alive in America–racist and misogynistic leaders and voters do exist–but almost all Americans who lean right do so because of beliefs in personal strength, liberty, and faith. These are not deplorable values; they’re ideals I believe most of us share.

Many at Williams are compelled by a sense of moral obligation to combat injustice where it exists, to separate the good from the bad. That tendency can cause members of the community to adopt a sense of airtight moral superiority—claiming anyone who does not conform to a loudly popularized set of values is either evil or an enabler of evil. Over the last few weeks, campus discourse has become one-sided enough to make me question my humanity. Am I evil for believing in small government? Am I heartless to support national borders? It can be difficult to exist in this supposedly open-minded community in which minds seem to be truly open only to the left and far-left. Liberal students have every right to express their opinions, but others should not leave those voices alone in the Williams echo chamber as the sole truth. I write to remind students, often those silent, keep-your-head-down moderates, that it’s not wrong to question the “facts” on protesters’ picket signs and posters. We must challenge the new normal at Williams–the ridiculous conception that whoever yells the loudest is the most educated, the most just, and the most valid in their concerns.

We can fight injustice and oppression from all sides, not just the left. Those Republicans, moderates, and independents who proved their existence across the nation on Election Day exist here at the College, albeit in smaller and quieter numbers. I recognize that this school will continue to be a liberal place, but the campus is long overdue for a reminder that the student body is not intellectually monolithic.

ainsleyhayes.williams@gmail.com

12 thoughts on “Making Purple Out of Red and Blue – Ainsley Hayes

  1. I enjoyed your article and admire your courage. I think the whole white privilege ideology promoted by Hillary Clinton and the leftists at Williams College has cost the Democrat party the white working class for a generation. If you grew up poor, as I did, it is insulting to hear liberals demean your accomplishments by suggesting you enjoyed special advantages while you were growing up because you were white. As I once explained to a black student at Williams College, “You have no idea what I overcame to teach here.”

    • Mr. Drew,

      I appreciate your response, but in my writing I do not mean to divide us; I hope to bring this campus together in discussion and understanding. The article is less a rejection of the loud Williams left than it is a rejection of their academic and social hegemony on campus.

      Best,

      Ainsley

  2. John Drew, you did enjoy special advantages because you were white. That doesn’t mean you didn’t face significant obstacles because you were poor. Having white privilege does not mean your life is easy or unburdened. It means that you do not and never have faced the setbacks and oppression non-whites have faced and continue to face. When someone says to you that whatever obstacles you faced would have been more difficult had you been non-white, they are not suggesting you didn’t overcome great odds, or haven’t had significant and trying times in your life. Recognizing your white privilege is not an attempt to discredit or put down your accomplishments, but rather to recognize the ways that race and racism intersect with all aspects of life in America, and that because of the way racism is institutionalized into the very fabric of the country, as a white man you have benefited.

    • – Ali

      You’re comments are a great example of why Democrats have lost so much power and authority. They are also a reminder of why places like Williams College are no longer prestigious, important or influential.

      Based on my research and experience as a political scientist, I can assure you that the dysfunction of the black community has nothing to do with institutionalized racism. No one is forcing irresponsible black fathers to abandon their children, making them use drugs and alcohol, or preventing them from attending school and getting good jobs. Irresponsible behavior harms children and it should not be excused — even if it offends the well-connected and politically powerful to call attention to it.

      To distract attention from the easy-to-repair internal causes of black dysfunction is as unhelpful as failing to honor the working class whites who have prospered by sacrificing for their children, staying clean and sober, and sticking with school.

      It makes me sad to think of all the Williams College students who are indoctrinated into this white privilege nonsense. It makes me even more frustrated to know that well-meaning critics of white privilege ideology at Williams College will never get a fair opportunity to dispute it, study the work of those who reject it, or learn about the more plausible, evidence-based explanations for black dysfunction.

      For a better understanding of black dysfunction, I recommend reading anything by Charles Murray including Losing Ground and The Bell Curve.

      For my take on the causes of poverty in developing nations, please see my blog post here, http://pathwaytoprosperity.blogspot.com/2008/08/overview.html

      • “Williams College is no longer prestigious or important, and that’s the exact reason why I feel the need to comment on every Alternative post.” – John C. Drew

        • I took my prestige with me when I left. The last article I submitted here received 134 comments. Williams College has 13,800 followers on Twitter, I have 76,600.

          If the college is going to be a significant force in our nation, it will need to get with the times and quit its silly, PC bullshit.

          I don’t think anyone exercising federal political power cares that the leadership of Williams College thinks “white privilege” is a real thing. Students should wake up and start asking why?

  3. So sorry to be contributing to the downfall of Williams as an institution. Something tells me it’ll survive just fine if its white students leave with a greater understanding about how their whiteness affects those around them and plays into the larger portrait of America. If they recognize they’re complicit in systemic racism, even better.

    Now, your actual argument about your own white privilege is not as clear to me. Are you saying that you did not have any privileges growing up because you were white? What about the nonwhite families who faced racism in housing, in schooling, in the justice system, and in medical care? Do you believe that systemic racism is a liberal lie, or do you honestly believe that the effects of colonialism and systemic racism have no effect on the world today, i.e. everyone is born on equal footing?

    It saddens me to know there is professor at Williams interacting daily with mom-white students that has such racist and harmful views.

  4. – Ali

    My Armenian relatives were subject to housing restrictions in Glendale, CA. Our relatives were murdered in a genocide led by Muslim adherents.

    Nevertheless, I’m an ex-Williams professor, my brother was a Space Shuttle engineer, my uncle is a multimillionaire real estate investor. My niece is a Harvard grad.

    The affirmative action laws which made our paths tougher than normal are the only examples of systematic racism which I have encountered in my lifetime.

    Unless your family has suffered as bad as my family, I don’t think you have any standing to suggest that we had it easy. You certainly have no moral right to minimize our achievements against these impossible odds.

  5. For a great look at the philosophic underpinnings of the left’s politically correct agenda, check out this article by Angelo M. Codevilla “The Rise of Political Correctness” from the Claremont Review of Books, http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/the-rise-of-political-correctness/ Luckily, the election of Trump allows us a brief respite in which is nicely captured in the following quote from the article:

    William Galston’s column in the Wall Street Journal barely begins to get a sense of how his class’s Leninist seizure of America’s culture has miscarried.

    “[Trump’s] campaign has ruthlessly exposed the illusions of well-educated middle-class professionals—people like me. We believed that changes in law and public norms had gradually brought about changes in private attitudes across partisan and ideological lines….

    “Mr. Trump has proved us wrong. His critique of political correctness has destroyed many taboos and has given his followers license to say what they really think. Beliefs we mocked now command a majority in one of the world’s oldest political parties, and sometimes in the electorate as a whole.”

    While we still have freedom, let’s say what we really think…

  6. A courageous, well reasoned and wonderfully written article. If Williams has contributed even 1% to your ability to reason and debate, in my opinion they should be proud of themselves. Don’t ever doubt yourself Ainsley.

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