Some Reasons for Voting
(Author’s note: the following post explains my reasons why I think this election was different — and why the post-election pain isn’t just about party allegiance. However, it’s also interesting in that it’s the middle of a conversation with John D., who I originally thought might be a troll. As it turns out, we align pretty well; but if you click backward and forward, you’ll see that it took us awhile to understand each other. Would it have been harder had we truly ended up on opposite sides of the political divide? Possibly. But listening to people is important work, especially right now, with a lot riding on it. I’m still learning…)
You’re putting all sorts of words in my mouth that aren’t actually there, so I’m guessing that you’re not really interested in what I have to say. I’ll give it one more shot though.
I am sympathetic to anyone and everyone who is hurting and/or fearful. I can’t tell you how many friends have literally moved into my house for months on end when their times were tough. It’s what we do. And are there Trump supporters who are hurting from life? Certainly. I would help them when and where I can. Fearful though? I haven’t heard that At All. One might argue that they were fearful of a Clinton presidency, but that doesn’t begin to compare to the fear of going outside in one’s black or brown skin, or the dozen other ways that Trump has struck real physical and mental fear in people. And even if one is hurting and/or fearful, that does not give them the right to trample on others’ rights and make them even More hurting and fearful. Because it’s not about policies, it’s about condoning hate and violence and a lack of morals.
Some interesting data points though… I’m sure there are plenty of Trump supporters who are hurting, but I don’t know them personally. You mentioned my friends. Most of my personal friends who voted for Trump are in the top 5% of Americans economically; some are probably in the top 1%, and none are struggling. Among my personal friends who are struggling — ie, jobless, sick, poor, etc. — all voted for Clinton; or more accurately, some voted for Clinton while all voted against Trump. They voted against hate.
Do my Trump-supporting friends have legitimate gripes? Sure. Do those gripes compare to fear of stepping outside their doors, loss of marital rights, fear of deportation, tearing families apart, being groped by strangers, suffering from major health issues without coverage and possibly even dying?
So here is where I stand with my Trump-supporting friends. I know they are good people who made a bad decision (note that I wouldn’t extend that description to all Trump supporters, just those I share my time with). I told them before the election that I’d love them regardless of who won, and I told them afterward. But I’m not cutting them any slack, either. They need to understand that voting for Trump was a bigger failure than party allegiance, hating Clinton, or even about public policy. We’re talking.
You want more of how I feel? Read this article, because she says it very kindly but well: https://medium.com/indian-thoughts/an-open-letter-to-the-man-who-spat-on-me-b3691c269125#.wpyi2tpwq.