Dear Friends & Family who voted for Donald Trump,
I know you probably won’t read this. I know you unfollowed me on Facebook a while back. It’s okay. I’m guilty too. I unfollowed you the day after the election. It was a knee-jerk, wholly emotional reaction, I admit. I just wanted to put my fingers in my ears and sing “la-la-la” for a little while. I’m making my return though, and before I click the “follow friend” button again, I have some things that I’d like to say.
First and foremost, I don’t hate you. Yes, I’m angry, hurt, and betrayed. Yes, I’m feeling tremendous fear, but Confucius said, “It is easy to hate, and difficult to love.”, and I’m not afraid of working hard. We’ve gotten away pretty easy up until now, never having had our relationship truly tested. I want you to know, that I think we can get through this. I want you to know that I love you enough to try to make it work. I hope you love me that much too.
Those of you who know me should understand how personal this election was for me. It isn’t like the final score of a World Series, or the final game in the NFL play-offs. I don’t really care about sports much, but you know that. You’ve been watching for months, on Facebook, as I sacrificed weeks of writing to sew Suffragette costumes for my little and I. You know how we learned about the history of women’s rights in this country; how we watched Iron Jawed Angels over, and over again. You know, that for me, this wasn’t just any election. It was history. It was the chance to shatter the highest glass ceiling of all. You know that this is how I feel.
You know the colors that have been cast across my skin, too. You not only know, but some of you share the blood in my veins; have committed your own blood to it. You know about the life I’ve lived. The decisions I’ve made. The scandals. The thing is, I know yours too. I know the pitfalls, and the bad choices, the faults, and the low-times. Whether you’ve asked me to or not, I’ve been there, standing behind you, ready to help in anyway you need. That’s what it means to be in the same circle. I thought it was safe to be in the same circle with you, because you have my back, and I have yours.
That’s why I’m so upset. Because I really thought being in the same circle meant we agreed on the same fundamental things. I thought it meant I had your back, and you had mine.
But on Wednesday I woke up through the looking glass, only to discover it was all a lie.
That Wednesday I woke up not just to an election result I never in a million years could have predicted, but to you:
- telling me “you lost get over it”;
- accusing me of whining;
- mocking my fear, and that of others;
- demanding I “give him a chance”.
I woke up to hate crimes that would never have happened in a country that didn’t just elect a man who’d run a campaign of hate. I’ve heard you tell me, with the most meaningful action an American citizen has, that you didn’t think my safety, or my child’s safety, was more important than “bucking a system”.
I’ve heard you cite President Obama’s failures for the last 8 years, but refuse to acknowledge his triumphs. Here’s what I’ve seen:
- racists calling for Obama to prove his citizenship, Trump, not only among them, but the loudest of the calls;
- his legalizing stem cell research is directly responsible for us being on the cusp of a cure for Alzheimer’s;
- a lack of across the aisle cooperation so great that the government literally shut down;
- a first family in the White House without scandal, without excuse, scrutinized under a microscope, and coming up with more class than any of their predecessors;
- love in the White House for the first time in my life.
I see people on my side looking within themselves, wondering what we missed, searching for some way to understand it all. What have I seen on the Trump side of the fence? Not one Trump supporter speaking up as to why it was worth it to vote for a man who
- campaigned under a promise to create Muslim registries;
- demeaned POWs, and disabled people;
- exhibited behavior we would ground our own children for;
- joked about how he would date his daughter
- This one is pretty hard for me to understand, because I can’t imagine how you could stomach such a statement from your own husband about your own daughter. Your silence about this makes me afraid. It makes me think this is acceptable to you. It makes me wonder if you would condone it. That you are willing to help a man who does think this way makes me nauseous.
- was endorsed by the KKK.
- I mean, what it is even like to vote for the same guy as David Duke voted for? Does it feel good? Does it make you feel like disinfecting your entire body? Do you realize the KKK comes after race mixing white people? Do you realize that you aren’t safe when they come to town?
Your silence about all of it, except to mock my fears, is most heartbreaking of all. It’s because I love you so much that I am so upset. I thought you’d care enough to see that this was so much more than an election. This was the shattering–not of a glass ceiling, but of the illusion that this country could ever care about me.
Here’s what I have heard from you:
- A Trump supporter told me, echoing Breitbart news rhetoric, “Systemic racism does not exist, except for in the ways it applies to white men.”;
- At Staples I overheard two women agree, after I’d passed the aisle they were in “I can’t wait until we can get rid of the Mexicans.”;
- Hate crimes have reached 701 since the election;
- The media is manipulating my perspective;
- But when I press you for your sources, you give me ones that operate on a clear bias. When I ask you what liberal news you watch, you scoff at me, as if I am suggesting something I don’t already do. I watch Fox News. I read Breitbart. I compare my answers to CNN and the BBC, and then …only then, do I form an opinion. And yet, I am the one guilty of having my perspective manipulated?
- Don’t lump me in with the racists, and the sexists.
I want to be very clear. I don’t want to lump you in with the loudest voices of Trump supporters. I don’t want to think of you as someone who thought the things he said were “no big deal”. I really don’t, but it’s not about what I want. It’s about what you want. If you don’t want to be confused with the hateful messages that were spread, you have to say that. If you don’t want to be collected with a group of people who threaten to legislate my body, you have to say that. If you don’t want to be represented by a hate group hiding behind the code name “alt-right”, then you have to say that…and it’s not enough to just say it to me. You have to say it to other supporters. You have to say it to our state representatives, because if you’re not speaking up and adding your voice to the conversation, then you are tacitly implicit in the decisions made as a consequence of your vote.
If you are one of those people who say, “I don’t really pay attention to politics, but…” and also voted for Trump, then, I’m sorry, but you have even more work to do, because what you’ve done is allowed yourself to be willfully ignorant, and then acted upon that ignorance in a way that puts me, mine, and yours in jeopardy.
I really do love you, and I want you to know that I am not going to be the first to bring this conversation up with you. I am going to respect your need for a safe space in all of this, but make no mistake– I do not intend to be quiet. I will fight for my rights, for the rights of my children, and for yours, because even if you do not understand me, or want to understand me, I still believe you are a valid, worthy, incredible human being who is entitled to feel safe and respected everywhere you go. I hope you feel the same for me.