My Feminist Mother is Voting for Trump
And I don’t know what to do about that
It all started about a year ago when my uncle got sick.
After being separated from most of our family for as long as I can remember, my mom finally reconnected with my uncle last year. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and given a few months to live. My mom, not ready to lose her brother only weeks after getting him back, uprooted her life to help take care of him in Elkhart, Texas.
Elkhart is one of those tiny towns that nobody knows or cares about unless a serial killer or cult leader makes headlines. “Elkhart is named for a friendly Native American who assisted the early settlers of the town,” boasts its Wikipedia page.
Naturally, every television in town broadcasts a 24/7 loop of Fox News.
I remember catching up with her on Christmas last year. We were gabbing about my then-boyfriend and my audition to be a bartender at my new favorite gay bar.
“It’s nice to talk to you, kid,” she said with a certain sincerity.
“It’s all Fox News all the time here,” she continued. “I’ve been hearing so much of it I’m actually starting to believe some of it.”
This was the beginning of the end.
Her path to feminism was a long and winding one. My mom is one of the strongest women I’ve met. She’s also brazen enough to let anyone know how strong she is.
She’s done a lot of heavy lifting throughout her life to develop her strength, so she’s proud of it. My oldest sister was born when she was only 15. Mama raised her as a single mom for several years. She’s survived and thrived her way through more abuse than any one person should be able to handle. And she’s come out swinging every single time.
Further, she was a member of the generation of women who stood up against misogyny and discrimination in the ’70s. She’s been to her share of protests while balancing several jobs to provide for her children. I’ve watched her command respect as a wife, a mother, a leader, and a boss.
I was raised to understand compassion and empathy and to fight back against injustice. She taught me to be a feminist.
When I decided to apply to become an advocate in a battered women’s shelter, she hugged me so hard I couldn’t breathe. She was proud of me for making a difference and sticking up for women. She was proud of the son she’d raised.
But I don’t recognize her anymore.
The same woman who walked away from abusive relationships, who tearfully listened as I told her about my own experiences, who taught me the importance of respecting women, members of the LGBTQ community, and people of color, well before I ever came out to her, is now voting for Donald Trump, the personification of America’s last surviving angry white man.
And I have no idea what to do about it. We talked during her visit a few days ago. I thought face-to-face may be better for a mutual understanding than phone calls are.
I told her about the many, many allegations of sexual assault against him. She said she hadn’t heard anything about it, but that he doesn’t seem like that kind of person. She thinks it’s suspicious that all these allegations are only coming to light now that he’s running for President (note: they’re not). Yet she’s the one who taught me how few women take their assailants to court, let alone win the case.
I told her about his so-called “locker room” talk, and she said it was probably taken out of context. When he had nothing better to say to Hillary Clinton than to call her a “nasty woman,” she said that Clinton wasn’t too supportive of women in the 1990s either.
“I have not been a Hillary Clinton fan since she trashed the women that came out accusing Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual acts while he was in office,” she said. “It was proven after he lied over and over about it. He eventually admitted to these acts. He was impeached. It was great she stood by her husband and forgave him, but she could have done that without attacking the women that was involved.”
She taught me all the values that ensured I could never support a racist, misogynist, homophobe, or Islamophobe, but she’s doing exactly that.
As far as other progressives go, her opinion of Obama has changed as well. “I was in fact an Obama fan, but not now, after being lied to regarding how Obamacare would work. It doesn’t work and certainly has not for several years now. Has Obama accomplished some good things while in office? Yes, he has. However, the cost to our country far outweighs the good he has accomplished.”
She no longer seems to value the things that she taught me were of absolute importance and is now rationalizing things like misogyny and racism as “the liberal media” painting a bad narrative around a candidate that she considers an underdog. And that breaks my heart.
“Trump has been and will be my choice for president unless something can convince me otherwise,” she concluded. “I don’t think the American people can afford another four years of what we have had over the past few years. We need a major change and I think he is the person to accomplish it with the people he has and will surround himself.”
I still respect her. I still think she’s one of the most brilliant women who will ever walk this earth. But I don’t recognize her nowadays. Election day is around the corner, but I don’t know when or whether I’m going to get my mom back, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.
Not for her, at least.
What I do know is that I still have all the same values she taught me. I carry with me all my previous life experiences. My years of education on domestic violence, sexual assault, and their link to misogyny won’t be forgotten or wasted. I will continue to do my best to end violence in our society and stand as the proud feminist that my mom taught me to be.
Election day is around the corner, but the issues surrounding this election will continue to play a major role in our everyday lives and our society as a whole. No matter who wins, we have to continue to have these conversations. We have to continue to fight for equality and understanding. And we have to do that right now, today, through the rest of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and after election day.
Hi! I’m Michael Noker. If you liked this article, make sure you also check out my YouTube channel, where I make jokes and talk about dating and stuff. Or consider hiring me to write for you. I’m, like, entertaining.