An Open Letter To Hillary Clinton

Mrs. Clinton,

A couple months back, you had a (now infamous) speech where you referred to some of Donald Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” and irredeemable”. You received a lot of backlash for this statement, but I found a lot of truth in it. In a political race that has gone so far beyond a debate on issues and is now seemingly only a contest of character, I, too, think a vote for Donald Trump is irredeemable. I think people who stand by a man who has acted out in the way that Trump has, and who has said the things that he has said, are deplorable.

My main question is- what happens when I am related to those same people?

I have immediate family voting for Trump. I go to school with and work with people who are voting for him. I feel as if the way I see them has changed in a way I’m not sure can be reversed.

I am passionate about social issues. This will be my first presidential election I am able to vote in, so I have been keeping up with every bit of political information I can over the last year and some change. I have put a lot of effort and passion into the views I will be voting on behalf of on November 8th, and I just feel like I am being directly contradicted by people I spent my life looking up to.

I can hardly have a conversation with some of these people anymore. In a normal political climate, discussions could be had on policy issues and over differences in political views. The time for that has passed. All discussions involving the election now lack substance entirely. And with the rise of dangerous and misinformed speech, paired with the spewing of far-right conspiracy theories, people feel a lot more comfortable siding with opinions that are hateful or just downright incorrect. This has shown a different side to people I have close to me in my life. It has shown me that the average Trump supporter isn’t some crazy, far-right, conspiracy theorist. The average Trump supporter is hovering around 38–44% of the American voting population. This election has served as an outing for people who either hold disgusting and hateful views, or at the very least stand by them. This election has been divisive, in a way that I think is necessary. I am an advocate for divisiveness if it means finding out who will stand by someone who is not only deplorable, but ultimately unqualified to hold public office. Knowing who those people and what views they hold and where they get their information is a way of finding how much work needs to be done. It is sobering to find that such a large percentage of the electorate is buying what Trump is selling. At the same time, though, this brings trouble. I am not the only one with people close to me who are standing by him.

My question is, where do we go from here? How do we change a political climate that has been infiltrated by hate and conspiracies? How do we restore trust in American democracy? How do we inform an electorate, who has been misinformed on such a wide scale? How do we steer the political conversation back to one that has substance?

This is the reality that we live in, and the reality that you will more than likely be elected into governing. These deplorable people are just that; but they are also mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends. A massive flood light has been shone on people who hold damaging views and support a damaging man. How can we redeem them?

Quick Note: I know my being uncomfortable with my family members who support Trump is not the downfall of this election process. This is not some “woe is me” letter trying to find an answer for my situation. This election has caused physical and mental trauma to a lot of people. This election has caused hate crimes and bullying, along with anxiety (especially in children) to rise. These are all real issues that I care strongly about, and should not go unacknowledged.