Following the shocking election of Tronald Dump, there has been a lot of talk about where Democrats have gone wrong. Some of it I agree with and some of it I don’t.
I want to start by pointing out that Hillary Clinton won the election. By a lot. If it weren’t for the archaic and unjust institution known as the electoral college, these discussions about out-of-touch, latte sipping Liberals wouldn’t even be taking place.
Regardless, we live in a divided nation, there is a disturbing amount of Trump supporters out there, and so I’m glad these discussions are taking place. Talking about our differences is how we begin to heal. And given that DONALD FUCKING TRUMP is now the president, I have done more critical thinking/speculating on what goes on inside the mind of a working class Republican than ever before. These are the Republicans I’ve been surrounded by every day for my entire life. The Republicans who vote against their own interests. Where I used to simply dismiss them as ignorant and uninformed (and the liberals of the nation will do what’s best for them despite their temper tantrums), I have now tried to put myself in their shoes and see things their way. I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt in almost every situation, and I’m now willing to do the same for people who voted for Trump. This is hard for me on many of the issues they stand for, but if you’re ever going to make someone see things from your point of view, you have to come at them from their perspective and from a place of understanding and from a place of civility. It’s one of the basics of debate — to have a convincing argument, you must address the viewpoints of the other side.
Another issue I’d like to discuss is the way we argue. I learned something important about this from a friend of mine. She grew up in a very conservative, Christian household. She even went to a Christian college. Today, she’s probably the most left-leaning person I know. How can someone change so drastically? I mean she voted for Bush in 2004 then voted to Obama in 2008. Like … huh?
She said she started to change when she met this cool guy at her college who befriended her and gradually, kindly planted seeds in her head that got her thinking. He’d ask her questions like, “Why do you like George Bush?” And when all she could come up with was, “Because my church told me to like George Bush,” she started questioning her belief system and doing more research. So, all of that to say … smashing “caps lock” and laying into a troll in the Youtube comments isn’t going to make anyone see your point of view. It’s a waste of time and it’ll give you high blood pressure. Real change comes through friendship, open communication, kindness, understanding, and patience. Not through screaming, yelling, and arguing. If you remain the bigger person in the argument, no matter how heated your opponent gets, you always win. We must be careful to not lose our tempers. The second you call someone racist or sexist, they will dismiss you completely. The second you call someone stupid, you lose credibility. No one wants to believe that they are racist, sexist, or stupid (even if they are racist and stupid — and interestingly, by contrast, a lot of people around here don’t mind being called sexist, but you still probably should abstain from that word too. Again, even if they ARE being sexist.) Perhaps, instead, calmly respond with, “Well, that seems a little bit crude to say.” People are powerless to being accused of having bad manners. In addition, you can never change someone’s socialization and full set of values and mores. You can just be a friend and talk to them. And remember, you can find a little bit of yourself in every person you meet. WWMLKD?
Okay, so, at the risk of sounding like an Animal Planet commentator observing a foreign species in their natural habitat, I’m going to, in good faith, attempt to see things from the side of Trump supports on a few of their favorite issues.*
*Issues that appealed to the voters … not necessarily Trump’s top campaign promises.
- Build the wall and make Mexico pay for it: I have seen a lot of my friends and family members lose their jobs and struggle financially and it’s very painful. I believe that if there weren’t so many people crossing the border looking for jobs, there would be more jobs available for my loved ones. In addition, I know there are a lot of drug cartels in Mexico, and who’s to say that most of the people coming in aren’t members of the drug rings? I don’t want my children doing drugs, so I don’t want people bringing drugs into my country. This problem has gone on for too long and I’m angry. That’s why I think Mexico should have to pay for the wall.
- Ban Muslims from entering the country: Muslims hate Christians and they hate our lavish lifestyles. They are told from a young age to hate Americans, so I don’t trust them. Now, with Syrian refugees trying to get into the country by the thousands, it’s easier than ever for terrorists to shuffle in with the masses. I say better safe than sorry. The refugees can go somewhere else.
- Political Correctness is the worst: It’s so annoying how people get offended so easily and I have to constantly walk on eggshells. All of these labels are so arbitrary. Black vs. African American/ Hispanic vs. Latino/ LGBTQ??? (aren’t there two more now??). Why can’t people live and let live without all the labels? If I call someone a faggot, they shouldn’t take it so seriously. It’s just in good fun. I can’t keep up with all the elitist mumbo jumbo anyway, so why even try? I’m tired of being treated like I’m an idiot for not knowing every little politically correct thing.
- Repeal Obamacare: Healthcare entitlements like Medicaid and Medicare are two of the biggest causes for financial woes at the national level. Obamacare is the icing on the cake. If you want to have health care, you need to earn it. I work my butt off, so I don’t like seeing my healthcare costs go up so that lazy people who don’t work can have health insurance. It’s not fair.
- The United States is a white, Christian nation ruled my men: Let’s stop sugarcoating things. Most of the people in the United States are white. Most of the people here are Christian. We speak English in this country. That is what our unique culture is. Men built this country. All of the Founding Fathers were men and all of the great American inventions were made by white men – computers, the internet, airplanes, trains, spaceships, the automobile. All WHITE MEN. I don’t know why everyone else thinks they should get credit now when they have contributed so little to society over the years.
Ok, let me throw up real quick.
So, if you’re reading this, you probably know the arguments against each of the above five sentiments and that the above five sentiments only scratch the surface of the issues. But you must remember, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE BELIEVE THESE FIVE THINGS BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT. So many people believe those things so wholeheartedly that we now have Donald Trump for a President, Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson nominated for secretary of state, former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as prospective Treasury secretary, and the professional sexist and xenophobic Steve Bannon as chief strategist.
So, when you’re faced with a situation to spread some wokeness (and here in Missouri, those opportunities are everywhere), try to see things from their point of view even though it’s hard and will probably make you feel like you need to take a shower.
Try to be calm. Address the fact that there is some truth to their arguments. There are drug cartels in Mexico. There are some extremist groups in the Middle East that hate Americans. Faggot is just a word. White men did invent all of those things. Then counter: Most Mexican immigrants are harmless, hardworking people who would become citizens if they could. Extremist groups do not represent the vast majority of the Muslim community and innocent children are dying at the hands of the Syrian Civil War and ISIS. When a gay person hears the f-word, it reminds them of getting bullied in school so that’s why we shouldn’t say it. Women and minorities have been so heavily oppressed in our nation’s history, there’s no possible way that they would have had the resources to make huge technological contributions to society.
Furthermore, it’s time to stop keeping quiet. It’s scary sometimes to speak up because you likely feel outnumbered and the consequences can be very real. But if there were ever a time in our lives to stand up for what is right, it’s now. Be brave.
I’m sure you get my point. In summary:
- See the issues from their point of view in an open-minded way.
- Acknowledge their opinion and be respectful.
- Explain your point of view in a kind, calm, and rational way.
I think that if we take this approach, it can open the channels for communication and can (eventually) lead us to a more peaceful and equal America.
Do you have a unique perspective on a political or social issue facing our country that you would like to write about? Pitch your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.