My Last, Ditch Effort To Appeal To Trump Voters
Let’s examine the possibility that we are all on the same boat
Hi there Trump voters!
Yes, I know we have had our differences. But I am wondering if you remember less polarization. Do you remember seeing one another without glaring accusation, or without awkward tension so tight that you could bounce a quarter off of it?
I remember those days. I remember when I could walk into my sister’s house with her television blaring FOX news, and I didn’t grit my teeth. I remember when they didn’t have that “Rambo” Trump muscle man on their screen-saver that makes me roll my eyes. I remember when I could breathe the air that was NOT smoke filled from western fires, and comfortably feel compelled to say something about unusually hot weather. I remember when I could tell her I was in Seattle marching for equality, and she didn’t confront me with “They don’t want equality. They are just being divisive.”
Conservatives, most of them anyway, don’t like divisiveness. “I hate the hatred,” my sister says. We just disagree about what is causing it. On that particular day, (of the Seattle March) I told her that my number one cause has always been “Equality.” “They don’t want equality, she said, they want to destroy, loot, burn, — cause trouble.” “They do want equality.” I said. We both changed the subject. I was not yet over her door threshold.
The week of the election has arrived, however. It is time to really assess all the source of all this divisiveness. This hate. I don’t believe for one minute that really decent people, including Trump voters, really want it.
Here is why
As seemingly impossible that it is to find common ground, it exists. It’s buried under the bruised and bloody bodies of over 200,000 dead Americans. It’s underground where the fires have scorched the Earth black. It’s deep in the heart of anyone who just wants to reunite with estranged family members. It’s in that human place of the gut, where we know something is not right, and it will harm us further unless we stop it now. It’s on a distant Thanksgiving day when we can break bread together and not break one another’s hearts.
Maybe I cannot convince you such love is really there. Maybe, because my beliefs about what threatens your livelihood, clean, healthy, renewable energy and infrastructure jobs, are a fairy tale to you. I am, after all, living in a “dream world” where human ingenuity and drive will never overcome our dependency on things like oil, gas, pollution, garbage, hierarchy, patriarchy, and what I perceive as systemic racism.
You, after all, don’t see it that way at all. You see radicals who would rather “burn it down” than try to fall into an orderly structure of society that we have all benefitted from for centuries.
So, let’s just look at those things we do value together.
Let’s look at those family values you so desperately want to keep. Let’s look at future holidays where we can be amused at one another without glaring at one another. Let’s look at a world where, yes, some people are trans, or gay, or feminists, or BIPOC, yet we care for one another.
Let’s start with the premise, we are all human, not monsters, and work from there.
Re: monsters. I am not going to talk much about Q-anon, because, yes, we laugh and ridicule the notion that democrats enslave, traffic, cannibalize children and offer them up to our dark Lord Satan, or our Dark Lady, Hillary. I am sorry that we think you’re nuts about that.
We could start with that, maybe? I do know it’s swallowed by just the fringiest among you. Let’s agree: no one approves of child-sex trafficking and Hannibal Lector Dining. Especially at crowded, indoor, mask-less, restaurants.
Sorry. I am kidding. But I hope I made you chuckle rather than cringe, because I can remember when we casually kidded each other this way and no one cried, screamed, or bled. We were all politically incorrect, often, but we knew that ultimately, where we stood was on the side of protecting decency.
Do you remember how we tolerated one another? I hope you do. It was fun, and playful. It was the way that humans got along without making one another despair, and mourn.
Let’s talk about human rights. Let’s confirm that all the people we now can’t tolerate are human people. (Let’s leave the unborn fetus off the table, for just a moment, too.) If we start with the premise that all of us are full human beings, men and women, boys and girls, all colors, genders, religions and programing, we can see the reason and logic in treating one another respectfully.
I stood on the corner chanting “Black Lives Matter.” Some of you drove by and shouted, “ALL lives matter.” Then there were middle finger gestures on both sides. Spitting. Swearing. I want to tell you, Trump voters, it made me uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. Sad. That night, I knew I still wanted love between us, but on both sides, I could feel hate. The hate was like that black, smoky cloud drifting up from burning Oregon. It blocked out the light. It shadowed our hearts.
I don’t know how you felt. I imagine it was many things, but not all of them were comfortable and good, smug, or self-righteous. Even if you hid your feelings behind denial, I am going out on a limb here, and assert that I don’t think your counter protesting made you happy, nor victorious. Because the very next day, it all began again. Again. Again. And Again. Until people lay dying, and you wanted no part of it.
We do know we all matter
Is there a way out of this nerve fraying, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, mind-crumbling pattern? I really hope you think about it. Yes, we DO know that “all lives matter,” but we are trying to evoke compassion for those suffering from oppression. You have that compassion — love — inside you. I know you do. You never miss a chance to call out how Christians are ridiculed, slammed, teased, and disenfranchised.
It’s the same with all people who want to be seen as people. See?
Take your fingers out of your ears because they are just holding in false narratives
Okay. This part is tricky, because yes, I do have to admit some of what I think and feel is informed by what you call “Fake news.” Science, critical thinking skills, even memes about kneeling, or pride in “anarchy jurisdictions”, or how snarky my peers can be about your blind loyalty to Trump.
With this is mind, I will make every effort to take my fingers out of my ears, but you must do the same. It’s time to listen, and hear one another. We can be allies, just for one day: Election Day.
You believe we are sheeple, and blind converts to cultural Marxism. We believe you are clueless, herd “mentality” victims of lies and wishful thinking. You believe that ideas like equality and feminism don’t really see the chaos they cause. Everything would be so much better if we all just went back to the Leave it to Beaver America.
Let’s be honest, and admit that was never real.
It was never real then, or now. The American Dream was a nightmare of exclusion for so many. Nevertheless, I do know that when I lived in the “don’t rock the boat” world in which I grew up, I held my tongue. Things were less discordant at home. No one questioned Dad’s militaristic authority. Mom earned, but she also did all the cleaning, cooking, and child raising. She resented it, but said nothing.
So did millions and millions and millions of others who never rocked the boat, but felt sea-sick all the time in the pit of our guts.
For some it was due to race, or religion, or gender, or whatever, but there were many sea sick stomachs out there that you could not see. All we are saying now is that we exist. If you really don’t like what you hear on “Fake news” maybe take one full hour and try to digest whether what people are complaining about is REAL to them, no matter how “fake” it is to you.
We will try to do the same for you. Maybe being marginalized, jobless, ridiculed, and told you are racist, sexist, clueless pigs really does make you queasy.
Let’s call this common — if unstable — ground.
It’s getting hot in here
Climate change, what many of us now call Climate Crisis, is real. This one is tough. You know how the climate moves in cycles. Extinctions have happened many times. You are not idiots. You know our world has run on fossil fuels for more than a century. You know it brought jobs, prosperity, and even food, to millions of starving people of the world.
But, please, don’t stop there. Please see that most people don’t share in obscene profits, and that most poor people, especially BIPOC, did not cause the pollution that kills millions each year. Please don’t forget that like a virus born of our carelessness, every ton of carbon we release into the year, is killing. Not intending harm, but causing it nevertheless.
If you don’t like freeloaders, (and I know you don’t from the welfare queen memes), please at least consider that the trillions in subsidy we give to fossil fuel companies, and the jobs they bring, cost lives. It costs lives. It’s just one tiny fact, but I think you will care about if you just know it.
And, let’s say its not climate change bringing the fires, floods, droughts, and disruption. Let’s say it’s just the “bad people.” Even if this is the truth, why not create healthier ways to run a planet? Why not have green jobs, food, infrastructure? It’s new. It’s scary. And even you know that a century ago, Earth retooled from rural to industrial, because like you say, it is natural cycles. Change is the one constant. Forever.
One change you are seeing is fewer pollinators, insects, animals, and greenery. We can work together to re-green our cities, and to value the beauty of rural landscapes you cherish so very much.
Will there be a place for Christians, for conservative thought? I really do hope we can agree on what a Christian is, and make a place for all comers. Why do some Christians believe in Christ’s radical, feminist, poor-loving tolerance, and others believe he just cares about who is having sex with whom, or that patriarchy creates order and structure?
I would just ask, are you benefitting from that order right now? I still feel the queasy guts. Maybe you do, too.
There is still tons I wish we could talk about. I don’t want to sound condescending. I don’t want to sound superior. I know that very often, that is exactly what you sense. If so, I am sorry.
We all want better than that.
What I really want is to embrace you. I want us to laugh together, even sometimes at one another, but never with malice or vitriol. Don’t you agree, it’s just gone too far?
We were made by God, (or evolution!) in the image of all things wondrous and beautiful. It is all things, all beings, we are asked to protect. Will you at least think about which views honor all sacred life, and which views dishonor variety, abundance, balance, and beauty?
Finally, and above all else. We are asked to love.
Will you let love win?
Your fellow passenger on the same boat,