Sunday, November 8, 2020

Why Are Conservatives Trying to Co-Opt the Hashtags #NotMyPresident and #Resist?



The moment the AP called it and Trump lost to Biden, my conservative friends erupted into a cacophony of conspiracy theories and senseless bellyaching. If you criticized them, they're quick to point out how it's no different than how Dems acted four years ago when Hillary lost to Trump.

But, no. No, it's not. Not even a little bit.

So, when a conservative post popped up on my feed asking:

"So does this mean I can use the #notmypresident hashtag now?
Oh! And the -#resist one too

Just curious."


Well, I felt I could answer the question sincerely.


It's a fair question. But the short answer is no.

The answer is no because those hashtags don't make sense in this context. Hillary won the popular vote by approximately 3 million votes, so there were a lot of pissed off people because the clear winner -- by the numbers -- and in their estimation -- was stripped of what many saw as a momentous victory due to how the electoral college works. Hence #notmypresident because, based on a technicality alone, he wasn't the person who won the presidential votes from the populace.

The hashtag literally means *not the guy who won, hence not my president.

The electoral college is working just fine, however, and Trump neither has the popular votes or the electoral votes to win a second term. I know a lot of conservatives are saddened by this, but when both the populace and the electoral votes favor a single incumbent, there is less confusion about who the victor is.

Therefore the hashtag #NotMyPresident simply doesn't track. So using those hashtags (for the Biden / Trump election) would be out of place and out of context, regardless of whether you're disappointed or not that Trump lost. It would be illogical to use them in this fashion.

The #resist hashtag has more to do with resisting the moral character flaws of a man who is, by legal standards, appears to be as corrupt as they come (check out Legal Eagle's commentary on Trump's taxes and business practices to get a lawyers perspective on this).

Trump's criminal behavior aside, he certainly is contemptible by any ethical metric you wish to make reference to. Basically, Trump lacks the Kantian values that modern society incorporates in its defacto social contracts (although it's by no means the only system of ethics that buttress Western morality, but this is a discussion for another time) and so he lacks a certain modicum of decency because he doesn't respect others and so cannot fulfill the categorical imperative, or respecting the humanity in others and abiding by the shared social rules we set as a society.

He doesn't believe the rules apply to him in the same way, which is a common trait among textbook narcissist--of which I believe he is one (we could debate this, but I'm not going to--the evidence is a thousand plus Tweets long).

And while his staunch supporters may see this as being hardline and telling it as it is--others were appalled by the lack of forethought, empathy, and brutish mentality of the man. A larger majority of voters (since remember, Trump technically lost the popular vote the first time around) saw this as something they needed to push back against. You know, #resist.

In context, the origin of these hashtags makes perfect sense. Even if you disagree with the reasoning behind them, they still track. That is to say, there's a tracible method to their construction and meaning. Using them out of context, as one would presume, doesn't make sense.

Even if the emotional sentiment is the same, it lacks the same reasons for why those particular words were used and not others. #Resist could have been #Regret. And #notmypresident could have been #NotwhoIVotedfor. But the semantic relationships aren't quite the same. There is a clear etymological relationship between the hashtags themselves and the context they were born out of.

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