Yes! I have reached that seldom-sought-after mark of distinction as a writer: I’ve been banned for something I wrote.
Admittedly, I’ve only been banned from posting in the main forums on a craft site, so I’m not exactly hiding in a damp basement huddled over a Gestetner while the Powers That Be burn my book in the streets. On which note: Restoration Day is print-on-demand – no fixed print run – so feel free to order and burn as many copies as you like. (Also make great Christmas presents!)
What I wrote was in response to Ravelry’s recent announcement that support for Trump and his administration would now be banned on their site, as it is “unambiguously support for white supremacy”. Trump supporters are still welcome, however, as long as they keep their tongue behind their teeth, i.e. as long as it isn’t evident that they’re Trump supporters.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am not a Trump supporter (nor a white supremacist). Not now, not ever. But nor am I of the school of thought that sees Trump as a dark blot upon what was, until now, the unstained escutcheon of the US Presidency.
This is what I wrote (warning: contains one crudity).
Hullo, Ravelry and Ravelers!
Being in a wildly different time zone to the moderators on the (at present locked) no-Trump discussion, I am venturing to say my bit here, trusting that it will be whooshed across if that is deemed appropriate.
My question, as part of the 95.73% of the world’s population that is not from the U.S.A., is: why is this different? Why this president in particular?
Every one of the US presidents since Reagan has been Commander in Chief of at least one war in which innocents were killed – wars over oil, wars over ideology, wars over who gets to wield influence in a particular region.
Barack Obama authorized extra-judicial executions of US citizens by drone, which also killed others travelling with them. If supporting Trump means supporting white supremacy, why doesn’t supporting Obama mean supporting extra-judicial executions?
If it’s the offences against immigrants and refugees that marks the difference, why is it not offensive to speak well of Obama, under whose administration similar outrages occurred, including splitting up families, imprisoning babies, and deporting women trafficked into sex work?
Or of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who ordered “the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps” of hundreds of thousands of Japanese & Japanese-Americans?
If it’s the racism, is it also offensive to speak well of Thomas Jefferson, who kept some of his own children as slaves because they had some black ancestry, and then left them as property in his will to his fully-white son?
If it’s the sexism and boasts of sexually assaulting women, is it also offensive to speak well of Bill Clinton? I don’t know what-all goes on in the White House, but as far as I know, Trump isn’t getting blow jobs from young female staff.
Why is speaking well of Trump taken as supporting everything he is and does, when the same is not true of other political figures? Is it just that he’s more blatant? Or has fewer redeeming features?
And how do you define “pro-Trump”? Is it forbidden to speak well of anything which Trump or his administration have ever done? If one writes on a Ravelry forum “I’m so glad Trump decided not to go ahead with airstrikes that would have killed 150 people. That would have been totally disproportionate!” is that sufficiently pro-Trump to get one banned?
Clear guidelines are needed so people know what is acceptable and what is not. Taking the example of Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand), and defining hate speech as “when you see it, you know it” is simply not acceptable, as it leaves people uncertain as to whether anything they say may or may not be construed as hate speech by others, including The Powers That Be.
I may say that I myself would not vote for Donald Trump if he was the only candidate in the known universe, but I don’t think that everyone who supports him is de facto a white supremacist, or accepting of white supremacist views in others. Too many, I fear, are simply lost in a fog of lies, misinformation, back-pedalling, fear and confusion, unable to discern what is true.
And if I’m frank, a lot of what Trump does smacks to me not of white supremacism per se but of American supremacism – something which is by no means limited to “Trump and his administration” – nor even his side of the American political divide.
I have asked for clarification as to why my post “breaks community guidelines” but have yet to hear back. Unless it’s the one crudity being deemed inappropriate for a general audience, it seems that I have fallen foul of the No Trump rule. Because “I myself would not vote for Donald Trump if he was the only candidate in the known universe” is not enough to clear me from the suspicion of supporting Donald Trump – and being, therefore, a white supremacist.
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Update 27/6/19: I have been unbanned from the main Ravelry forums, it appears. But my post is still hidden and archived, and I am banned from commenting on it. No explanation has yet been forthcoming.
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For further updates, see this post.