I was in Costco today when I overheard two gentlemen talking about the election results, and their hopes for the future. “I’m excited”, one stated, examining a box of apples before placing them in his cart. “I mean, this could mean big things for guys like us. All those manufacturing jobs will come back from Mexico and we can finally make a decent living for ourselves.” And in that moment, I realized that I’ve harshly stereotyped supporters of Donald Trump. Of course, there are some who are absolutely despicable excuses for human beings; wrapping their bigotry, homophobia, and xenophobia in a flag and calling it patriotism. But there are others who just want to live their best life. Some may simply be blue collar workers who were left behind when manufacturing moved to other countries, lured away by inexpensive labor. Other folks may just be uncomfortable with change, and want to see things go back to the way they used to. be. And as much as it pains me to admit this, I get that. I stayed in a marriage for six years with a man who was abusive in every imaginable way because it was what I had become accustomed to, and the idea of change (even a positive one) frightened me. So maybe it truly is a struggle for some people to accept what is new and different, to share space and time with people who are unlike them after being surrounded by sameness. I don’t have solid answers here, I’m just speculating.
I have friends who voted for Trump. And initially, I thought that I could never be friends with a person who could make such an insane decision. I mean, come on. This dude has no political experience whatsoever. How does something like this happen? Anywho, I digress. My friends who voted for Trump hold political views that are obviously not at all like mine but at the end of the day, they are still hard-working people who want the best for themselves and the people they love. We just have different ideas on how to make that a possibility. So I won’t unfriend you (unless you are a complete asshole) for your political beliefs. I’ll just choose not to have a discussion with you about politics. We can still meet for coffee, have playdates at the park, and go window shopping as long as we remain constant in our respect for one another. You probably won’t agree with some of the stuff I post, and vice versa. There are already enough bitter, angry, and vile people in the world. No one political party, ethnic group, or religion has the market cornered. Regardless of who is in charge of running our country, we can’t let hatred squirm its way into our hearts and minds, changing who we are as people. I won’t be able to convince some of you that Bernie Sanders was the best thing since sliced bread, and you won’t be able to convince me that Donald Trump is qualified for the job he just landed. So let’s not try to change one another’s points of view. Instead, let’s strive to show the rest of the world how we can coexist peacefully, undeterred by our differences.