Dear Donald Trump Supporter
Please don’t misunderstand me. Yes, there are times in the past you when have frustrated me, though perhaps not for the reasons you might think. But this letter is not a setup. I don’t want to argue with you. I am not going to call you names. Neither am I going to waste your time as some in the media have done calling you a low-information voter or trying to convince you that your faith in Donald Trump is misplaced. Instead, I want to understand you and I want you to understand me. Though we may not be exactly on the same page, I am thankful that you are at least engaged in the political debate when the hearts of so many Americans have turned apathetic. Our country is at a crossroads, maybe the most important crossroads in recent history. We need engaged voices, however divergent, to sit down and rationally discuss the direction forward. And so I hope to have a reasonable and provocative conversation, find some mutual ground and walk away on friendly terms to continue this conversation another day.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I get it. You’re angry. You feel betrayed. For years I have felt the same way. For years I have dutifully gone to the ballot box on election day in the hopes that my vote might impact the way Washington does business. But year in and year out nothing seems to change and I have begun to wonder if the Republican party has grown indifferent to my existence. (Political side note — I am a conservative leaning independent who tends to vote republican because they most closely reflect my political philosophy, but more often than not I find myself settling for the lesser of two evils and never really voting for someone). Sure my congressmen and senators seem engaged in the issues that matter to me when they are in campaign mode, but as soon as they cross inside the DC beltway, they are affected by an onset of political Alzheimer’s and promptly forget me and the other voters who had anything to do with electing them. Even in banner year 2010 when the Tea Party was supposed to take back Congress’s power of the purse and reign in our country’s runaway spending (which, it is important to note, began with George Bush and continued with Barack Obama — so both sides bear some responsibility for our current state), the newly elected congressmen only lasted a few months before many of them began to renege on their promises of principle over party and were absorbed by the establishment. Now, nearly six years after the 2010 elections, Washington is as stagnant and corrupt as ever — Obamacare is still law, people are still uninsured or under-insured while insurance premiums skyrocket, our national debt is still spiraling out of control, lobbyists still have politicians in their back pockets, the border has grown more porous than ever, refugees and non-citizens get enough government assistance to live quite comfortably…while families (yours and mine) still struggle from paycheck to paycheck to make it through the month. For all the DC talk of an improving economy, there is much to be said of the reality on the streets. It doesn’t make sense how the government can spend trillions of dollars on everything from food stamps to healthcare to war and education and every pet project in between and most Americans feel only the residual effects of what was promised as sweeping change.
Donald Trump is strong enough not to cave to Washington’s pressure, to any kind of pressure really. He has shown time and time again that he doesn’t care if you’re in the media, an established politician or some entrenched bureaucrat; if he doesn’t like you or your tactics, he’s going to tell you straight to your face. It must be extremely satisfying to support a candidate who essentially gives the middle finger to DC political correctness every time he talks. What is more, Trump embodies anti-political correctness so much so that he doesn’t even have to mention politicians or the media in order to convey the angst he feels. That his angst resonates is clear in the numbers Trump wields: his supporters at every rally, his percentages in every poll, and by every delegate he has won in the primary thus far.
I will be honest, however. I don’t support Donald Trump’s campaign for President and I am not sure if I could support him as the Republican nominee. My allegiance is not now, nor will it ever be to any single candidate. I have learned from my past political disappointments to not expect my leaders to solve my problems for me. A good leader will remember that they are a public servant and not a benevolent dictator or even a kindly enabler. A good leader will listen to their electorate and help to remove obstacles in their paths, but will never overstep their political bounds in remembering that the decision and the desire to solve problems must come from within their people. Trump, like many politicians before him, is making promises of what he is going to do to make American great again (i.e. build a wall, increase tariffs, fight ISIS, get healthcare to those who need it, etc.). I love that he recognizes that America is a great place, the greatest in the world even, but that she has lost her direction, her shine. And I love that he wants to get us back to our greatness of days gone by. The problem is that one man, however powerful, charismatic and influential, cannot make America great again by himself. Even a team of people who are highly organized and influential cannot make America great again. If America is to again regain her regal glory of the past, such a change must come from her people and not her leadership.
We have been blessed to live in this great country, blessed to have such founding documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to delineate our God-given rights. Each of us has been endowed from on high with the rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, as well as giving consent to be governed and to abolish the government when it does not live up to the standards it should. In other words we have been created as free men and women and it is our duty to protect those right. We are not blind lemmings, nor automatrons, nor hapless dolts waiting for the government to give us our daily bread. We are citizens of this great nation, children of God, and the power is within us to invoke change. We need a leader who will reflect these values.
Ultimately, your vote is your vote, your sacred privilege to exercise your right for good, ill, or indifference and no one can take it from you. The power is within you to vote or not vote, to be informed or not informed, to ask serious questions of your candidate or to ignore those questions, to pray for and about your candidate or not to pray.
If you think Donald Trump will succeed as President of the United States, then you should pull the lever for him. If you believe that Trump has the best chance against the Democrats in November, then he’s your man. If you are voting for Trump to anger the Republican establishment, even if there’s a chance of your vote backfiring and putting a Democrat in the White House, but you are okay with that, then go for it. If you are just voting for Trump because it feels good to have an incumbent front runner, a outsider who cannot be bought, a guy who could flip DC on its head, but you haven’t thought about this long-term, then I urge you to think about this long term. The decisions you make when you’re angry usually wind up being poor decisions. If you have jumped on the bandwagon because it feels good to be on a winning team, I urge you to jump off for a second and evaluate where the Trump train is headed. If you like it, jump back on, if you don’t, find a new direction. If you like what Trump says in broad strokes, but have questions when it comes to the specifics of his plans, I urge you to ask those questions, figure out the specifics, and resolve those doubts. If you can’t resolve your doubts, pray about them and move on. If you are sick of politics and just want someone to do the heavy lifting for you, I urge you to take back your power, stand up for your rights and responsibilities, and move your life forward.
As deeply divided as we might be as a party or as a nation, I believe that we can come together and heal ourselves. While I am concerned for the results in the upcoming election, I find myself caring more for the people who make up this nation than for the results at the ballot box. I hope that somewhere in your heart you feel the same way. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Your fellow citizen, your brother, your friend, Nathan