Regretful Tweets About Trump Vote Do Not Absolve Responsibility
Within the last month or so, Twitter has seen the emergence of tweets from users who are Trump supporters and/or Trump voters expressing their regret for casting their vote in light of Trump’s controversial month-long presidency. In fact, “#TrumpRegrets” has been trending, and the account “@TrumpRegrets” has more than 220,000 followers. Remorseful tweets have commented on Trump’s seeming obsession with tweeting about his everyday dalliances (despite presumably having a busy schedule as the newly elected leader of the free world); some show concern over his childish attack on Nordstrom, while others express clear exasperation over his visible immaturity, pettiness, and inflated ego, and other tweets outline the questionability of his cabinet nominations.
Perhaps the tweets that stand out the most are ones revealing frustration with Trump’s controversial executive orders and memorandums, notably: his prioritization of the (renewed) construction of DAPL, the executive order aimed at rolling back Obamacare, and the infamous “Muslim ban.” However, a “regret” written in 140 characters or less behind the safety of a computer or phone screen does not absolve a Trump voter of his/her responsibility in the actions that have unfolded since Trump stepped into office. A tweet with the hashtag “TrumpRegrets” does not absolve the user of blame or complicity in the growing fear that millions of people in the United States are feeling. To suddenly intimate a feeling of regret potentially coupled with a feeling of fear is a privilege not afforded to individuals who have been living with fear all their lives--fear that has only heightened with Trump’s presidency.
A “TrumpRegret” does not lessen the impact of a vote cast for Trump. It does not reverse the effects of his executive orders and memorandums. It does not serve as a time machine that can return to the election, and change its outcome. It does not reassure Syrian refugees, Muslim-Americans or foreign Muslims, undocumented immigrants, members of the Sioux tribe, members of the LGBTQ+ community, the health of citizens under the Affordable Care Act, sexually active women, Black Americans, etc. What exactly are “Trump regret tweets” supposed to accomplish?
Reducing the fear and insecurity of so many individuals living under Trump’s authoritarian presidency to a 140-character-statement published on a social media platform during the commute to work or while sitting on the toilet is frankly, insulting. A regret is not synonymous with an apology, or with a resolution to correct a momentary lapse of judgment. I urge the people who voted for Trump who truly feel remorse for their vote to do more than tweet; I urge all remorseful Trump voters to participate in rallies and protests, to educate themselves and others on the fallacies of Trump’s statements and legislation; to learn about ways to help marginalized members in their communities, to donate (if financially able to) and volunteer at local organizations fighting for the rights of marginalized populations. These actions speak much louder than muffled tweets.
To be clear, a tweet that ends with “TrumpRegret” does not serve as a pass. It should not be a self-centered move to make you feel better about yourself and the role you played in the current political climate. If that was the purpose of your tweet, please go back and delete it because it adds more salt to the wounds Trump has opened. If your tweet was used as a semi-sociopolitical strategy to erase your sense of guilt instead of demonstrating your desire to be an active ally, then please check your privilege; pseudo-allyship only manifests the hierarchy of privilege in this nation, and it yields little benefits. Evidently, you feel like your rights are secure enough--particularly the right to freedom of speech--to openly divulge your feelings and beliefs without fear of retaliation or ostracization. This is a luxury most people do not have. So if you truly regret your vote, close your laptop, and do something substantial about that regret.