Dear people of America,
This week has been rough, hasn’t it? In such a tumultuous time of political upsets, we’ve been thrown once more into a sea of uncertainty.
I know everyone is stressed out. I know you are. I am too. Emotions are high and understanding is low. We are all so sure that we are right.
I (like most of you reading this, I’m sure) am disappointed by the results of our election. The morning of November 9th, I felt sick, as I’m sure some of you did as well. Our expectations of how this would turn out were completely shattered. How could we have missed this? How could so many people have ignored the blatant red flags (no pun intended) that our now President-elect (those words in black and white look terrifying to me now) repeatedly waved in our faces? I felt betrayed by my Republican counter-parts, and I’m sure some of you did too.
I’m sorry to those of you who genuinely fear for your life and your future now. As a white woman in Orange County, California, I have little to fear in comparison to many of you. I can’t imagine how you feel now, wondering if your family will be torn apart, wondering if you’ll be harassed or assaulted or worse for your beliefs by those radical Trump supporters. I’m sorry you have to live in fear.
I’m sorry to those of you (us) who were so hoping and so (arrogantly) expecting the result of this election to be obvious. We have good intentions, I think. We want to save the climate, let women have rights to their own bodies, and acknowledge basic civil liberties. Most of all, though, we want people in all walks of life to be treated with understanding.
But what if those people are Trump supporters living in rural America?
I can already hear what your arguments are in my head, because I have voiced them all myself in the last few days. I know, and I understand. You’ll say “sure, these people might not be racist/sexist/narcissists themselves, but they voted for someone who is.” And you are right. That’s shitty. I will not argue that.
Let’s just take a minute, though, and think about this.
How desperate for change does someone have to be to be willing to set aside those red flags and choose to support that candidate anyway? How unhappy must you be with the current system that you will ignore the sexist remarks and the abusive nature just to have a shot at changing the system? Trump is an asshole, and I don’t think most Trump supporters would disagree. But you know what? Maybe these people who are struggling and impoverished in rural parts of America are willing to root for an asshole because sometimes, they get shit done.
I have heard many Trump supporters say they like him because he’s honest and unfiltered. There’s no mask, no façade, no political correctness. And while that horrifies me (sure, I guess it’s honorable to be yourself, but if that is what he is, I don’t want a person like that around), I can see how the idea of someone rejecting the political norms would be enticing. Honesty! Bluntness! Who cares if he says something hurtful about someone else, at least we know he’s not two-faced like those other politicians! (Only time will tell if he is as honest as people believe.)
I’m sorry, Americans who felt so neglected and desperate for change. I’m sorry you feel left-behind and forgotten. I’m sorry that people like me who so passionately fight for left-wing changes have forgotten about you. I’m sorry that we have assumed we are right and treated you like ignorants who don’t deserve our attention. I’m so sorry.
The fact of the matter is, we are where we are right now. And while the final verdict will be made on December 19th after the electoral college has put in it’s votes, it is highly likely we will still be in this same position on December 20th.
Being upset, brokenhearted, and scared for your future is understandable. Protesting is admirable (keep it non-violent, folks.) Actively finding a way to make a difference is necessary. Keep fighting for what you believe in. Remember, you’re allowed to feel what you feel. However, being hurt is not an excuse to go out and hurt others. If we as Democrats are going to preach social acceptance, we need to be willing to put that into practice. Stop telling the Trump supporters they are wrong or stupid or deplorable. You will never change someone’s mind by insulting them. Understanding and acceptance is what changes people. Listen to one another.
Also, disclaimer (because I just can’t wait to get a comment about this): I’m not saying that every Trump supporter is a good person in a desperate situation. As we’ve seen, there are plenty of bat-shit crazies out there who really are racist and sexist and don’t believe in global warming (guys, it is 90 degrees in November – global warming is real.) I’m not asking you to be BFFs with them. I’m not even asking you to engage with them (because it’s hard to have a healthy debate with someone so impassioned and closed minded.) I am asking that you not brush off an entire political party (which likely contains some of your family and friends) because of those crazies and the man they idolize.
I am asking that we be okay with the fact that we are not always going to get our way. We are not always going to agree. That is okay. Listen to one another. Love one another. Try to understand one another.
That’s the only way we are going to make it through the next four years.
P.S. Can we stop with the slut-shaming of Melania? Like, I get it, she’s not Michelle Obama who exudes class and grace and just all-around awesomeness, but by slut-shaming Melania, we are basically acting like Trump has been acting for the last… eternity. There are reasons to not be a fan of Melania (like stealing Mrs. O’s speech), but her sexual past shouldn’t be one of them. That’s all on that.
Fight for one another. Listen to one another. Love one another. We can do this.