Trump Voters Thought All The Bad Stuff Was Just Gonna Happen To Other People :(
If there is anything we all enjoy, as a people, it is some good old fashioned schadenfreude. We also like being right. So it's not surprising, after a rather contentious election, that an entire genre of news stories has popped up recently profiling Trump supporters who have been hurt by Donald Trump.
We've also got several Twitter accounts and Tumblrs dedicated to highlighting regretful Trump voters, so that we may further bask in our right-ness. These are cathartic, sure -- but it's important to remember that these people are still in the minority. A recent poll found that only 3% of Trump voters regret their vote -- and even fewer say they would have voted for Clinton if they had to do it over.
It was said during the election that people who didn't like Trump took him "literally, but not seriously," and that those that did support him took him "seriously, but not literally." Which would account for the occasional supporter who is shocked to have their health insurance taken away. It does not account for people like Helen Beristain, the recent subject of several "This person voted for Trump, and is now getting fucked by his policies" stories.
Helen Beristain voted for Trump, and is now surprised that her husband, Roberto Beristain, is being deported. A Buzzfeed article published on Thursday portrays Beristain as an object of sympathy, with various testimonies from people who know her husband to be a good man, a good father and a small business owner. People like Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic Mayor of South Bend:
“Hard work, small business ownership, suspicion of overbearing government, and support for family. Each one of those themes is at stake here—and each is insulted by the prospect of a person like Roberto being ripped away from his business, friends, wife, and children, by a federal agency.”
Helen says she voted for Trump thinking he'd only be deporting the "bad" immigrants, despite the fact that he initially stated that he wanted to deport everyone and then require them all to apply for citizenship before being let back in. Only after being told how difficult that would be to do, did he walk it back a bit and say he'd only focus on the "bad people" at first. Nice though he may be, Helen Beristain's husband meets Trump's criteria for "bad people" on account of an incident that happened over 16 years ago.
Roberto Beristain came to the United States illegally in 1998. In 2000, he and Helen decided to take a trip to Niagara Falls and accidentally crossed over to the Canadian side without realizing it. Roberto was detained and told to self-deport in 60 days. He decided not to do this, because Helen was expecting a child.
By Trump's standards, this makes Beristain a "bad guy."
I don't think he's a bad guy. I'm sure he's very nice. His wife, however, is an asshole.
It's not that it's not OK to report on these things, but there's a way to do it and a way not to do it. The thing that is not OK is suggesting that any of these people were at all "tricked," when in actuality they were just projecting what they wanted onto Donald Trump. They lied to their own damn selves.
Helen Beristain was, I imagine, fully aware of Trump's position on immigration. She was well aware he was eager to tear apart families like her own. On many occasions, he said that everyone who was here illegally was going to be deported, and that they could try and come back legally if they wanted. Many times. He later amended that to focusing first on those who came here illegally and had committed some kind of crime.
On 60 Minutes, he told Leslie Stahl:
"We are getting them out of our country. After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, we're going to make a determination on the people you're talking about who are terrific people, they're terrific people who we're going to make a determination on, but before we make a determination, we want to secure our border."
This, quite frankly, is not on him. She just thought it was only going to happen to other people. She took him seriously, not literally. She thought she'd get to be the one standing on the sidelines with the cool kids and pointing and laughing as it happened, rather than experiencing it herself.
I have a tad more sympathy for Kraig Moss, the guy who followed Trump around singing songs about how great he was and sold many of his worldly possessions to do so, on account of the fact that Trump did say he was going to do things to help drug addicts, like his son who died from an OD. I do not think he should have believed him, because it was pretty obvious he was going to do no such thing, but at least Trump actually did say those things.
Helen Beristain, however, voted to hurt people. People not unlike herself. She has not expressed regret over having voted for Donald Trump, for having put other people in the position she finds herself in, she merely wishes to be an exception to a rule she voted for. Until the words "I was wrong" come out of her mouth, until she starts trying to help other people in the same position, we ought to save our tears for those who did not bring this upon themselves. Personal responsibility, you know?
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse