Roach: Knock it off!

'Assuming there are no further coup attempts, a new chapter for America has begun.'
Tiktok opening on a person's phone

Assuming there are no further coup attempts, a new chapter for America has begun. As Trump exits, and the feds hand down charges for the ransacking of the citizen’s cathedral, reflection is required.

Why? Because Trump’s presidency has been the oddest and most frightening in American history. And his supporters won’t vanish when he choppers off the White House lawn.

The question is: What happens next for Trump’s angry mob?

As a former student of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I embarked on an extensive research project to explore the answer. My method?

I watched TikTok.

Just as a chef creates a reduction sauce, TikTok distills political sentiment to raw, self-produced monologues. Just push a button, vent to your smartphone, and post.

To dive into the Trump TikTok community is to leap headlong into the septic tank of America. And you know what I found? Lots of self-pitying white guys.

Here’s an apt example. A video reveals a portly white dude in his car. He’s about my age, and like me wouldn’t last 15 seconds in a bar fight, much less a revolution. His chins bounce as he delivers an expletive-laced rant. 27 asterisks allow us to gauge his anger. “Hey everybody. Mike again. You know, I’m getting so ******* p***** off with those ******* liberals. All they want to do is step on our rights. **** you. And **** your masks. Go straight to hell.” Mike ends by flashing three fingers meant to signify the supposed 3% of Americans willing to take up arms to return Trump to power.

Well, OK, then.

Trump’s diehards embrace common themes. They claim to be the last, true patriots. They also believe they are wonderful Christians, and that Trump is the hand of God at work.

Most importantly, they believe every single moronic conspiracy that comes down the pike just so long as it serves their self-designated martyrdom and seditious acts of violence.

The whole thing is exhausting.

Sometimes I banter with these guys online. I suggest they’re not patriots, but traitors willing to undermine free and open elections and a peaceful transition of power, not to mention storming the Capitol and killing a police officer.

I’ll also state, as someone who’s had 12 years of religious education, that Trump makes God gag. Then I tell them I’m forwarding their TikTok thread to the FBI. They hate that.

Most importantly I chide them for their ugliest inference; that the rights of white men reign supreme over the freedoms of all other Americans simply because we have had our liberties longest. At its dark heart, it’s a cheap squatter’s rights argument. These angry guys demand birthright status over everyone, even if their only marketable skill is just being white. It’s why a woman of color as vice president of the United States makes them spontaneously combust. It’s their worst nightmare.

As a white guy I have it made. Yet so many pale guys think just the opposite. These men lay claim to victimhood and the title cannot be wrested from them. It’s why they loved Donald Trump as president, because he was the Eternal King and Patron Saint of All Victimhood.

But now Don has made his ignominious exit. And his followers are left to wander the internet and taverns in pain.

But I want to help my fellow white men. I want to give them advice. And here it is. Fellas, to paraphrase Tom Waits, get down off your cross, we need the nails.

If you don’t appreciate your whiteboy luck, you are not smart. If you whine about it, you are weak.

True patriots embrace the egalitarian nature of America. They stand up for those who have less. Because the good ole USA is nothing if not a remarkable pursuit of liberty and justice for all. Americans don’t deny rights, we give them. That is why we are the most interesting nation in world history.

To the remaining, complaining Trump white guys let me also say this: now would be a good time to knock it off.

You are embarrassing yourself.

Worse yet, you are embarrassing the rest of us.

John Roach, a Madison-based screenwriter and producer, writes this column monthly. Reach him at footer that says "Like this article, get so much more by subscribing"