You did this.
If you’ve spent these last eight years relentlessly demonizing the current occupant of the White House—questioning his religion (as if it should matter), doubting his citizenship, making thinly veiled racist jokes—you did this.
And no, this isn’t about being a partisan shill. I disagree with President Obama on a great many things.
If you only listen to voices that reinforce your existing bias—all while complaining about everyone else’s blind spots—you did this.
If you cheer for obstructionists who care little about finding common ground—whose sole objective is to torpedo the other side—you did this.
If you’ve demonized “outsiders”—immigrants, Muslims, gays—if you’ve perpetuated false stereotypes, refused to acknowledge their humanity, treated them as little more than a punch line to a crass joke—then you did this.
You may be shaking your head, wondering how we got to this point, where a misogynistic, xenophobic, neo-fascist demagogue is now the presumptive nominee of a major political party.
But you shouldn’t.
When gatekeepers grow their empires by preying on people’s fears, convincing white evangelicals—who happen to be one of the most disproportionately privileged groups to ever walk the earth—that we are under siege, then Donald Trump is what we get.
If you nurse a persecution mindset long enough, Donald Trump is what you find waiting for you at the end of the road.
When you perpetuate the rhetorical violence of the culture war—when you live and die by an “us vs. them” mentality—then Donald Trump is your future.
When you teach people to be perpetually outraged, Donald Trump is the only logical outcome.
When you encourage your followers to marginalize, stigmatize, and demean people because of where they come from or who they love—Donald Trump is your standard-bearer.
Already I hear some evangelicals asking, “How did this happen?”
Was there any other possible outcome?
As if choosing fear over love—and teaching our followers to do likewise—could ever lead to a different result?
Trump is not some strange aberration who suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He is a reflection of us.
You did this.
We did this.
God help us.