I have noticed a trend among lefty types of referring to people who do bad things as “trash.” They will say, “he is trash” or “people who X are trash.”
I see it on this message board. I see it on Twitter. I see it on Facebook. And I see it from people whose opinions I otherwise respect and whose politics I often share.
But the idea it expresses is awful. No person is trash. They aren’t trash even if they do terrible things and aren’t held accountable for them. If you believe in basic human dignity for everyone, as you fucking should, then you shouldn’t call anyone trash.
I can sympathize with the OP. I don’t like it when anyone demonizes the other side, and Richard is making an appeal to his side. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. “But they do it, too” is pretty childish, IMO.
But you didn’t start a thread about how we as a whole should stop call calling other people trash.
You called out the “American Left”, as if it was a problem they had in particular. I just did a quick check and
It isn’t used in the context mentioned in your OP very often, and
Of the few times it was used in that context, I’m not seeing any monopoly of its use by the left.
I don’t know how I would go about proving it, and frankly I’m wholly uninterested in proving that this is a usage that, in my social sphere, is coming almost exclusively from young lefty types. You’re free to disbelieve me. The point of this thread wasn’t to prove the usage. It was to complain about it. If you agree it is bad, then I am satisfied, even if you think it is not a common usage or not more prominent on the left.
I’m fine with avoiding calling categories of people ‘trash’ and I’m not in the habit of using the word even in reference to specific people. However, when I feel an individual has done something particularly egregious and has IMO abdicated their right to respect, I reserve the right to use whatever words I see fit to express the strength and depth of my scorn for them.
Also, I too am baffled as to why this is seen as an ‘American Left’ problem ("…especially people who care about strangers / who care about evil and social injustice…"). I’ve seen no sign of it being used more prominently by one side than another. Obviously the OP’s MMV.
I don’t think that Richard is saying it is "an ‘American Left’ problem’ and no one else’s; he’s saying it’s a problem and the American Left is a group that has that problem and he would like for it to not be something that the American Left did at all, let alone did so much that he perceives it to be a problem.
The fact that he called out only one side, the side he identifies with and thus feels he has some influence and desires their public perception to match his ideal, well, he would prefer that the people who identify as “on his side” stop doing this thing that he finds objectionable and counterproductive.
If a Republican called out the GOP for racism, that would not mean that they think that there is no racism anywhere else, right?
I just did a self-check on my usage of the word on this message board. I found it in 36 of my posts over the years, and most of those were in quotes from other posters and references to actual trash. I used it the way the OP pointed out once.
Calling out the GOP for racism on this board would bring out howls of protest and a ton of counter-examples that would dwarf any objections you may see in this thread, no matter which side did the calling.