Saturday, January 22, 2022
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OK Donald, Prove Me Wrong

I rewrote the first line of this several times. I planned to begin by simply stating “We are scared.” It captured the sentiment I wanted this article to have. We as a nation are afraid of what the Trump presidency will look like. I and many others are afraid for our friends and family who will be affected by Conservative policies, which mean to chip away at the progress we have made over the past 8 years.

Then I thought I should begin by describing myself and get my personal privileges and biases out in the open. So I typed “I am a 26-year old, middle class, white male who was raised Baptist, is college educated, and serves in the Army National Guard.” That way, when I said things like “Donald Trump won the election. He is going to be our next president. We as a nation need to accept that and decide how to move forward,” it would be clear that I personally do not have the reasons to truly be afraid that many other people have.

Then I thought about saying something like, “Four years too late, I think it’s time we figure out why conservatives feel the way they do.” I don’t just mean the sexism, the racism, the homophobia, the xenophobia. Those aspects have become easy labels to apply to anyone who started to express interest in Trump. I’m not saying that many conservatives didn’t earn those labels, but beneath those labels, there are people who are also afraid and threatened in their own ways. And by calling them monsters, or deplorables, or telling them they need to go back to their hick towns in the “Bible Belt” or the “Fly-Over States,” we are making them more afraid, more frustrated, more alienated.

Many of the Trump supporters wanted to see a change. While we, liberal democrats, were supporting the first woman who had a legitimate shot of becoming president, the people who voted for Trump were voting against a person with decades of experience in the highest levels of government. The experience I saw as being such a significant indicator of Hillary’s superiority is exactly what made many of her detractors vote against her. While we thought we were, more or less, going to get another presidency of Obama, they felt the economic resurgence many people had experienced never really made it to Small Town, U.S.A. Many conservative, and especially rural, voters were still working long days with hard hours, still trying to afford healthcare, and still living in poverty. They looked at the liberal support of urban areas, and thought, “What about us?”

Did this manifest itself into racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia? Yes, and when I and many other liberal-minded people heard that prejudice it became the excuse to end the conversation in which we would listen to those conservatives.

I walked away from people thinking, “Jeez, what a [insert prejudice-ist] asshole.” Then I went to my friends and told the story, ending by saying, “I just walked away. I couldn’t deal with that ignorance.” Then my friends said, “Sometimes that’s all you can do with people like that.”

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

I don’t think it should be the responsibility of every person in a minority, or the people that support them, to constantly, personally fight every prejudiced ideal they come across. That is what leads to women having to explain the tenants of feminism to every troll online.

However, the conversation needs to happen. Not in the snarky, eye-rolling, condescending way that is fun to watch and take a part in, like John Oliver, Samantha Bee, or Stephen Colbert. They are entertaining and satisfying because they appeal to a person’s self-righteous, liberal idealsBut no one is going to be convinced they are wrong by scorn. They will get angry, scared, and maybe militant, but they will not be won over. The only way I see there being a possibility of change is if people in minority groups have a platform to speak. In my own life, speaking with conservative friends, family, and members of the military, or even myself earlier in life, it is only when we come to a place of understanding each other, that minds can be changed.

So the final way I thought about beginning this piece was what became the headline you see now: “OK Donald, prove me wrong.” I did not vote for you. I do not support the things you have said and done during the campaign or over your lifetime. I think the wall is a patently terrible idea. I am dubious of your business “success,” as well as your claims to understand debt and taxes. I am afraid for the women, immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQIA community, the mentally ill, the military, the environment, the country’s economics, America’s global politics, the working poor, the young, and the old. I feel like your voters and supporters generally are hoping for something you do not have the capacity to change or even fully understand. I think you are at best a conman and at worst a true danger to all of us. So, President Elect Donald J. Trump, I wish you the best of luck, and please, dear God, prove me wrong.

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