I am still waiting to hear one of my friends who supports Trump say something critical that goes beyond “I wish he would talk differently sometimes” or “he’s flawed like the rest of us”. My friends who support other politicians seem to be able to readily offer such objectivity. Trump doesn’t have supporters so much as he has worshipers, disciples. That’s not news.
The votes have been cast. There are no minds to be changed. But Trump is still launching a full scale attack on America and democracy and yet, nothing from my friends. I hope that it is shame that is muting them, but I fear it is religious zeal for their newly found messiah. If it were embarrassment at least I could still entertain the idea that we share some of the same values at some deeply hidden level.
After all of the horrific things Trump has done and said in office, the hardest thing about his reign has been the (I fear) permanent damage it has done to relationships and my view of people who were once my friends. I have never had to have a category for how to think about people who are my friends AND yet would vote for a rapist, racist, criminal, traitor who does not even pretend to respect people, liberty or the nation that elected him.
And so, some small part of me hoped (naively) that someone out there who supported Trump would at least be able to weigh in now that the votes have been cast to say, “Trump’s tweets about the election being stolen are dangerous and irresponsible”.
But I don’t think that is going to happen and I, like millions of others, will be left to face the reality that many of my friends were simply not the people I thought they were.
More than 68 million people have voted for a man who is profoundly evil. No victory or defeat will make that anything but tragic.
Regardless of the outcome of this election I will spend the rest of my life mourning these truths.
And here is what else I know. We can be better. People can change. Cultures can change. But it will not change through revenge or spite, but through mercy and love. Even though I feel a deep sense of betrayal by every friend and family member who supported Trump, I will not stop trying to find ways for us to work together to make our world better.
We cannot get to “better” without those 68 million. They have things to teach us and hearts that need softening and eyes that need opening and that will not be done in battle. It must ultimately be done together.