Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Red Tricycle.
To my friend, who voted for Trump.
The wounds are raw. And I am mad. I am hurt. I feel betrayed by you and by millions of others. But I do not hate you.
I’ve been struggling all week, trying to put into words the feelings and emotions I have towards you right now. The countless questions I have, and the answers I am seeking.
Here’s the thing. I like you. A lot. You are family. You are my friend. You are my neighbor. I entrust you with the lives of my children, and you do the same with me. We spend time together regularly. You live next door to me. You are blood. I like you, I may even love you.
Now I stumble. I look at you and I’m not sure what to feel. I am angry, and hurt. I am distrustful. I am confused by how our value systems fail to align, when I thought for sure they did. I am unsure how my moral hierarchy can be so different from yours.
I have been trained to see both sides of the coin. I can debate the pro and the con with ease. I have listened and I have read. Oh I have read so, so much. So I hear you. I hear that you wanted change – political change. I hear that you wanted to overturn the political landscape, get away from career politicians. I hear that you feel the system was not working for you. I hear that you felt Hillary was corrupt, that she was full of lies. I hear all of that.
But here’s the thing. There were words of hate. There were acts of hate. There was name-calling, brutal shaming, horrible, despicable behavior. Not once. Not twice. But on repeat. Over and over and over. There were words recited that nobody believed would ever play on TVs across the world, much less out of the mouth of a presidential candidate. These were words that I would never have heard you utter or condone. These were words and actions that, had they occurred in our community, by our children or our friends, in our neighborhood – you would have looked on in horror.
I struggle to understand how you could accept them so easily, in the name of “change.” I can’t grasp how you could let those words and actions slide away, into the periphery, because you so badly wanted something new. I am trying, and failing, to comprehend what you say to your kids. How you explain that you can achieve the highest title our nation has to offer, even when you use despicable language and display horrid behavior. I am utterly confused at what you tell your daughter when they ask why the man that grabs pussy is now our President Elect, or why our President Elect is allowed to make fun of disabled children, when you have spent their whole life telling them that we play nice, act inclusive, love others. I am trying friend. I really am. I want so badly for there to be an ‘Aha’ moment. Because remember, I like you, I may even love you. But so far, I’m striking out.
Here’s the thing. It is simple. I have a hierarchy when it comes to life – an order of priorities, a value system. I apply it to myself and my family in the same way that I apply it to my community, in the same way I apply it to my state, my country, and my world. It is this.
I am just one.
The world is many.
Kindness. Love. Equality. Justice. Inclusion.
Those are all that matter.
There is no room for hatred. For selfishness. There is no room for injustice, for inequality. There is no room for exclusivity. I am part of something much larger than myself, and my sole goal is to leave something better, to hurt others less, to love others more. To share, to give, to take less. To leave a footprint on the world that has less to do with my title, and more to do with the magnitude and depth of my impact and my love.
You may be nodding your head, agreeing wholeheartedly. And before this election, I would have looked at you and known we were on the same page, sharing those same values. And maybe deep down we do. But I cannot reconcile you’re vote with this set of values. I cannot understand how you may say these are things you stand for, but have also chosen to vote the way you did.
I know by now you are saying that you did not vote for hatred. That you are far from a hateful person. You are right. You are. I know you are saying that you have friends with disabilities, or who have children with disabilities. I know you are saying you have LGBTQ friends, or Muslim friends. And you are right. You probably do.
I am trying so hard to understand how you buried the hatred, how you tossed those words, and those actions – that we watched happen on national television for the last 12-18 months. How you turned your back on your friends who fall in the minority – the very friends who hatred was directed at. How you chose to look the other way at these despicable actions, so that you could champion political change, or economic growth. I’m trying so hard to understand your hierarchy. And I just cannot.
So for now, I want you to know this. I don’t hate you, because to hate you would be to condone the very behavior that disgusts me. I am however mad and confused, and more than anything, I feel hurt and betrayed. Because remember, I like you, I may even love you.
So forgive me as I mourn the results of this election – not because the democrats lost, or because Hillary did not quite shatter that glass ceiling. But because hate won, whether it was actively voted for or passively elected by hundreds of millions, including you my friend, who decided to look the other way.