Friday, November 11, 2016

A letter to my friends who voted for Donald Trump.

A letter to my friends who voted for Donald Trump.

You say you are hurt and angry today... feeling vilified for no reason, lashing out at your friends who have offensively called you a racist, or unfairly accused you of hateful things. You exercised your right to vote - nothing more. And as you've said - you voted with hope, and prayer, and after great research and deliberation. You voted for your Republican ideals. You voted your conscience. And your candidate won. You never thought your friends were such sore losers. And now you complain out loud how could any true friend let your vote impact your friendship. You thought your relationship was bigger than politics.

It is. 

And that's exactly why I'm going to tell you why your vote mattered to our friendship.

I am trying to come to terms with the fact that many of the people I know, like, love or respect have completely shaken my trust in them as human beings. I had no idea you were so willing to actively play a part in sacrificing our collective respect for each other, and our nation. Let's be clear: I do not believe everyone who voted for Trump is personally a racist, sexist, rapist and misogynist - you certainly don't think about yourselves that way, and that would be an uneducated and quite idiotic stance for me to take. But adult life is complicated, and nuanced. You say you didn't "vote for hate." Who would?  But...  ignorance of the obvious outcome of your actions is not an excuse. It's like buying Girl Scout cookies and then saying "Oh, I didn't know my money was going to the Girl Scouts" and expecting me to buy that. The label's on the box. I know you're not ignorant - that's why we've been friends for so long. 

This is not political. It has nothing to do with policy, or party, or platforms or positions. Nor sour-grapes that my candidate lost. None. If you can't get past that, stop here. I was apparently wrong about why we have been friends for so long. This was not an election about Republican or Democratic ideals. This was an election, and victory, based in hatred, discrimination and division. You just helped put the man who’s been endorsed by the KKK, a man who’s demonstrated every horrible trait we’ve been taught to despise since kindergarten into the most powerful and influential office in the country. A man who boldly, in front of everyone without shame, remorse or conscience repeatedly performs the actions of lying, cheating, hatefulness, pettiness, name-calling, insulting, body-shaming, selfishness, bigotry, bravado, etc. The EXACT opposite of what we’re taught, and teach our children, a president should be, let alone a decent adult human being.

You may say you don't have these traits, and don't believe in these things, but by voting for the man who DOES you made a very conscious decision to condone All of those things, and accept that they may become an integral part of America's identity for years to come - all in the name of self-righteously voting "Republican" or worse yet, just so your taxes may go down.  This is a sellout of character - and it can't help but be used to redefine how others view you. To stand with a man celebrated by the KKK and promoters of hate, and whose election has already elicited new boldness in instances of violence, discrimination and hate crimes, is what has caused such an emotional and disappointed response by your friends and family, including me.

And for those whom I especially believe should know better...

For those of you who are teachers, You have condoned as the role model for the country, and a generation of children, a person whose behavior and character you said you wouldn't tolerate in your classrooms. You have sanctioned the bullying your cute slogans on school posters promised you will always fight against. Your vote has made all of this a lie - and right in plain view of your students. You have actively helped undo a generation of parenting and respect towards others in the blink of an eye.

If you are a woman, or a mother, or the mother of a daughter, through your vote and your support and your condoning and holding up for all the world to see that the comments and actions of this man against women are acceptable, you have done more damage in a day to the body image, self worth, and respect of girls and women than a legion of sexist men ever could. And as mothers how can you not, quite frankly, be ashamed? 

If you are a Christian, with a stroke of your pen (or pull of your lever) your vote has done significant damage to my children's relationship with Christianity. My children have witnessed endless instances of hate, discrimination, infidelity, sexism, bigotry, lies and violence that were rewarded by Christians with votes and the Presidency, while at the same time witnessing courtesy, decency, civility, truth and a Methodist woman who has carried a bible in her purse for 30 years ignored, vilified and abused with the most vile personal insults imaginable. "Is this what Christianity is?" They are concerned.  Unfortunately, in America... yes it seems to be so. "I don't want to be that" is their very real feeling towards our faith now.

And, I'm tired of hearing that this is God's will. If you truly believed in that even in the slightest, then you would admit that Obama was also God's will, and Obamacare was God's will, and marriage equality was God's will... But we know that's not going to happen. So please stop with this - it is a juvenile statement. No, Hillary Clinton was no saint. But she was also no Trump. Did you ever consider that maybe Trump was delivered to us to prove that Hillary Clinton was nowhere near as bad as she was being portrayed by the hate-mongers? And instead of seeing that, you instead wholeheartedly embraced him. That has just as much potential for truth and also speaks to values and character.

So no, you may not be outwardly racist, or bigoted, or abusive (nor be that way in your heart). And truly, I don't believe you are.

But your ultimate acceptance of these qualities and your assistance in elevating them to the highest position in the land make you no less culpable in the outcome. You don't get to have the righteous indignation to feign disbelief in the disappointment and disgust aimed your way and claim others are off-base for being angry at you for that, and for questioning friendships.  You made the conscious decision to approve the dissemination of a message of bullying, intolerance, sexism, hate and division on your fellow citizens by supporting its messenger. And you are being held responsible for that decision. 

But wait, there is still hope.

If you truly don't condone these things, if you truly are the person I thought you were - prove it. Demand that it ends. Stand up now, early in the transition, and demand that the hate stops, that the violence and discrimination stops. Reject the bullying, the body-shaming, the insults, the assaults on the media, the attacks on decency. These things have already started. Demand that your president-elect publicly condemns and disavows these things. Demand he tells America "These things are wrong" in no uncertain terms.  If you don't, and he doesn't, don't expect me to "forgive" your continued support.

This isn't about politics. It's about character and values. 

And if friendships aren't based on that, are they really friendships at all?