As a good Catholic girl, I have a confession to make. I voted for Donald Trump. I’ll pause for all the gag noises. I know, I know. All the things you’re thinking…I know. I have to say right up front that this is very difficult for me to write. I am the very least confrontational person on the planet (like when I return something to Target, I’m afraid the customer service worker is going to be mad at me and I get nervous). I’ve thought a lot about whether or not to write this because I sort of fear the negative commentary. I am very sensitive to harsh, negative criticism. But you know what? I’m pretty mad-sad, so I’m not going to hide. I go out of my way to be kind and respectful with my words when it comes to sensitive matters; politics being THE most sensitive of matters. So I ask that you are also kind and respectful with your words if any of what I say here gets your goat.
I went the entire election cycle without publicly saying a word (well except for that Vanilla Ice meme. That shit was funny. We all could have used the laugh). These last several months of social media campaigning have been bad for my heart. Generally, I don’t believe social media is the right platform for politics. I prefer cute cuddly otters, remember #betheotters? I find that people make their minds up for themselves and no matter how many memes or articles you display, it only creates animosity and divisiveness and is not productive in changing anyone’s vote. So in that vein I find it a little self indulgent. But this post-election vote-shaming is absolutely reprehensible and I will not stand by and let people make a mockery of me. It is insulting and offensive and should not be tolerated. Because, after all, isn’t one of the reasons that the anti-Trumpsters ARE anti-Trumpsters in the first place because they think he is intolerant of certain folks? Do you see the irony here people?
So back to my vote for Donald Trump. I am white. I am a woman. I am a college graduate. I am upper middle class. I am a devout Catholic. I am a conservative. But here’s what I am NOT: I am not a racist. I am not a homophobe. I am not a xenophobe. I am not a sexist. I am not a deplorable human being. You know what else I am not? STUPID. Being a conservative white lady doesn’t make me a moron just because that’s not what the cool kids are into. Politically conservative does not equal unabashed hatred. I am highly insulted that the media is “blaming” me and and all the other conservative white chicks for getting Trump elected. I am also highly insulted that the media, and even some of my more liberal leaning peers and relatives, are insinuating that I am a racist homophobe because I voted for Trump. Hello? Anyone in there?? That vote doesn’t mean that I am Donald Trump, ya’ll. If you know me personally, you know that I am not a racist, sexist, homophobe or xenophobe as he is accused of being. Casting my vote for Trump does not change that about me. Much the same way that casting my vote for Trump doesn’t make my hair cotton candy-ish, my skin a puzzling orange creamsicle shade and my hands tiny like a baby. I am a flawed person just like everyone else. But I’m not hateful. Therefore, I do not deserve to be lumped in with those kind of people (and I do not deny that they exist). Newsflash: there did not exist a fairy with a magic wand at the polls who sprinkled hate glitter onto people when they voted for Trump. I am not the stereotypical IDEA of whom you think it is who voted for Trump; I am an actual PERSON with thoughts and feelings and opinions of my own. I wasn’t hateful when I walked in, and I wasn’t hateful when I walked out.
I don’t owe anyone an explanation for why I voted for Donald Trump. It was my constitutional right to do so and I shouldn’t be shamed for it. Because, freedom, love and acceptance and all that jazz, right? But I will say this: Hillary Clinton and I have some fundamental differences in values. THAT is why I didn’t vote for her. Does that mean I am a puppet of Donald Trump and stand for every word that he uttered? The answer to that would be a very loud and high pitched NO. That is all I really care to say about that. But I am highly offended by the implication that because I am a white woman I should be ashamed that I didn’t vote for the white woman just because I share her gender and race. Do you know what that is, my friends? SEXIST AND RACIST. Stop and think about that. Doesn’t that strike you as, I don’t know, just a smidge hypocritical being that so many of these vote-shamers spew their hatred for Donald Trump because they believe him to be a racist and a sexist? This level of hypocrisy is mind boggling. Mind boggling, I say.
So let’s meander back to freedom, love and acceptance. Lean in close and hear me loud and clear: ACCEPTANCE AND LOVE ARE A TWO WAY STREET. We must not forget that. If you demand acceptance and love, you MUST, in turn, accept and love. Because, as I tell my elementary aged children: Jesus commanded very simply that we shall love our neighbor. Well…loving your lovable neighbor, the one you like, the one with whom you laugh, the one with whom you share fundamental beliefs is easy, breezy, lemon-squeezy. But loving your unloving neighbor, the one with whom you disagree, the one with whom you argue, the one you with whom you wouldn’t be caught dead having a beer is freaking HARD, man. THAT is when you know you are doing it right. THAT is when it counts the most. But guys, here’s the kicker: it goes for BOTH sides. We must be kind to one another. It really is that simple. I often remind my children (and shouldn’t have to remind adults) that when people are unkind to you, you should be extra kind to them. They might really be in need of kindness themselves but don’t know how to ask for it. It is hypocritical to preach “love trumps hate” while at the same time harboring a vicious contempt for our president elect and those who voted him into office. It is curious to me that “love trumps hate” is being used as a slogan by a movement that kinda hates our newly elected president. The bottom line is that you don’t get to pick and choose to love and accept only when it falls in line with your agenda. That sort of defeats the acceptance part. Love will only trump hate if we ALL participate. Capisce?
So, in closing, he won people. He won fair and square whether you like it or not. If you are an American citizen, he IS your president. No amount of hashags or tweets can change the constitution so you’re wasting your thumb strength. Redirect your energy to being the change you want to see in this country. I am a patriot. I love my country. I value the gift of freedom and the chance to have my voice heard. But my voice does not deserve to be shamed. That, my friends, is just plain un-American.
*Please remember: You can voice your disagreement with me all day long (though I’m unlikely to engage in a public debate), but be kind or be quiet. Thank you.