I woke up on the morning after (actually the morning after the morning after) and felt the need to write you a note. For the past year or so, you have been a frequent Facebook poster about Donald Trump, and I have respected your passion, enthusiasm and optimism about the man and his campaign. I know of others who ultimately voted for him, though they did not share your energy and may have cast their ballots in protest to his opponent, rather than fully in support of Trump. This note is not directed to them.
So for you, the true Trump supporter, I wanted to get some of my sincere thoughts down on paper. Over the past 48 hours, I have experienced so many raw emotions, so many fears, so many concerns, so many uncertainties. I have been in a funk and shed more than a few tears. Forgive me if I rant and ramble. Forgive me if I make a comment or two that I may ultimately regret. At this point, I may not even send this note, but thought the exercise could be somewhat therapeutic (or maybe make me feel worse). So here goes…(after sitting on it for a few days).
I wanted to let you know that I read many of the articles (some from sources I have never heard of) in their entirety and skimmed others, though occasionally I just wasn’t in the mood so I moved on to the next “happy birthday” FB wish. I often read the comments that followed the pieces and was incredibly concerned at the tone and hateful rhetoric shared by many of his supporters. I suspect you felt the same way if you read the comments I saw.
At times, my FB page was monopolized by your postings and linked articles. Occasionally mutual FB friends informed me that they were planning to “unfriend” you, at least, during the election season. I explained that I would not. I actually wanted to learn about those perspectives that differ from my own. I didn’t want to only speak to like-minded sorts or read about views and opinions that are identical to my own, but instead wanted to hear from people who believe that Trump was the most qualified person to lead the country. I wanted to hear from people who are tired of “government as usual” and those who felt they have been left behind in this country. I wanted to hear why they believed that their “forgotten voices” would be heard and carried forward by a man like Donald Trump. I was never convinced.
As you can probably guess, I voted for Hillary, but am not an apologist for her or her past actions. I suppose that makes me a “liberal elitist” (which may be code for something else). I recognize her flaws, her faults, her shortcomings. Certainly, I have concerns about her past, her decisions, her judgement. For the record, I have similar concerns about a great many politicians (and a different set of concerns about Trump). I also find her to be intelligent, knowledgeable, worldly, well-informed, prepared and highly qualified to be president. I certainly realize that you and countless others (half the country, in fact) disagree. Some despise her and everything she stands for; others simply have Clinton fatigue and just want them to exit from the national stage. I get that. I really do. But again, this note is not about Hillary Clinton.
So what is the point of my ramblings? What do I want and hope to achieve by writing you? Mainly, I just want you to tell me that “everything is going to be OK.” Plain and simply. One brief comment. I need to hear that from a friend I respect who seems to understand Donald Trump better than anyone else I know; someone who perhaps has been to his rallies and rubbed elbows with his true supporters; someone who has some apparent insight and views about this man that I simply cannot see; someone who listens to his words and observes his actions and doesn’t hear the anger, hatred, racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism that I hear; someone who sees his character traits and identifies them with leadership, when I merely see the worst kind of thin-skinned bully imaginable; someone who feels such passion to post every day, multiple times a day…I want that person to simply tell me that my fears and concerns are misplaced and “everything is going to be OK.”
That’s it. I don’t want to hear about his business successes; or that he employs countless minority workers and execs; or that his daughter is married to an Orthodox Jew; or that the “lame street” media misconstrues his positions, his demeanor, his attitudes about Muslims, African Americans, Mexicans, Jews, women, the disabled, all immigrants, and so many others who look, speak, pray and act differently than he does. I don’t want to hear that he thinks only of his country and not of himself; that he doesn’t need this role, but merely wants to make a difference and create a greater America (again). I don’t want to hear that Hillary is worse. I have heard his supporters make those arguments and then I try to weigh them against his rhetoric and actions that speak volumes to me.
I have listened to the words of some of his supporters and fear that we are giving a powerful voice to some very bad people who suddenly feel empowered to spew such hate without repercussions. Some were even quite involved in his campaign and soon may hold prominent roles on his leadership team. I see so much animosity, anger, hatred, negative discourse in this country. My 10-year old daughter should have been able to participate in the campaign season this year; she should have followed the headlines, the issues, the debates, the conventions, the rallies. And instead, we chose to shelter her from this mean-spirited negativity. It simply did not represent the democracy I want her to learn about. Recently she wrote a school paper about character traits a president should possess. She chose intelligence, fairness and leadership. Sadly, I didn’t want to explain how our president-elect may not possess any of the above. I want to know that you feel differently and “everything will be OK.”
I don’t want to be mad or sad or scared anymore. I don’t want to start crying spontaneously in the middle of the day. I don’t want to read articles about how wrong the voters are or how the chosen electors should simply change their votes next month. I don’t want to see protests turned violent and our democracy called into question. I don’t want to hear any more jokes about moving to Canada or Israel or frightening comparisons to Nazi Germany. I don’t want to see stories about racial and anti-Semitic epithets being scribed on mosques, churches and synagogues or posted in places for all the world to see. I don’t want to worry about what my kids may hear on TV or from their friends at school. I want to be wrong about our President-Elect. I want to respect not just the office, but the man.
I don’t even want a well-thought out, lengthy response from you right now. I am too tired to read a long analysis about why I am wrong. At least, I am today. Maybe tomorrow or next week or next month, but not today. Perhaps, I will schedule a time to meet you for coffee or lunch and hear that analysis one day soon. Perhaps I can bring some of my “liberal elitist” (code for something) friends along for an intelligent dialogue. Perhaps we can find some common ground and “agree to disagree” about the rest, but do so in a cordial manner and shake hands at the end.
But today I just need you to tell me those words and I will trust you. I will trust you because you are a respected friend and I know you to be a nice guy, a good family man, a concerned father, a hard worker, and a proud American. You obviously have seen something in this man that generated a passion, an enthusiasm, an optimism. You and millions of others have seen something that I am missing. So I will trust you on this morning after the morning after because I simply have to. It’s the only way I can wake up tomorrow and the next day and the day after and try to move on. Just tell me that “everything will be ok.”