Blur those party lines for a bit…

The whole election process has been fascinating to me.

Here’s a little secret that I have….

I don’t vote.

I guess it’s not a secret, since all my friends and family and now you know it.
I have never voted in my life, and although I’m ostracized by family and friends for my apathy towards the whole process, I don’t feel like I need to apologize for it.

My Facebook feed is almost perfectly symmetrical with Democrats on one side, and Republicans on the other. I mean it’s nearly an exact 50/50 split.

I knew who was voting for Hillary because that’s all my Democrat friends talked about for months. While my right leaning friends were quiet, the left gloated about how wonderful it will be to vote for a woman president, in spite of her flaws. They ignored her improprieties, even though most were committed in her role as a politician, and pointed out all of Trump’s faults, of which there are many.

My Democrat friends railed on Trump and called his supporters morons, ignoramuses, buffoons and of course, “Deplorables.” These are the people who are supposed to be more socially accepting of others, mind you.
The Deplorables showed up to the polls to take their country back, whatever that means.
Deplorables alone though weren’t going to win the day for Trump. Just like President Obama needed support from many white voters, which he got, Trump needed support from people who don’t live in trailer parks and fly Confederate flags. He needed support from otherwise good people, and he got it.
The fact is that the other half, my other friends, are certainly not “deplorables” or ignoramuses or bigots. 

To many Democrats, a vote for Trump was a vote for bigotry and misogyny and all the other isms that get tossed around.

The truth is that these Trump voting friends of mine are farmers and war veterans and police officers and firefighters and other people who have done more than their fair share to make this country great.

Donald Trump is a buffoon, yes. Listening to him talk will be painful for the next four years, yes. But to assume he was voted in exclusively by backwoods KKK members is misguided. Who do you think pushed Obama into office? If you ask the backwoods KKK members, they will tell you that it was inner city criminals who did so, and that’s just not true either. Many middle of the road people voted for both men.

People have ideals that they hold dear, and don’t have much say in who will represent those ideals in Washington. They have to pick what they can.
There are people who want the best person for the job in office, so they vote based on things other than simply whether or not there’s a (D) or (R) next to the candidate’s name. The working class people of America decide who wins.

President Obama did about as good a job as he could have done for eight years. Many Christian whites thought he was the anti-Christ, and that he was going to ruin their lives. In spite of this, he accomplished much of what he set out to do, in the face of much stone-walling.
He most certainly did nothing of the sort with respect to ruining anybody’s lives. I would love to have a beer with Obama one day. He strikes me as an entertaining person to be around.

But, he was a politician, and people are simply tired of politicians. To believe that four more years of Hillary would be anything but four more years of the status quo was not an unreasonable belief.

Many people who support law and order and have strong feelings about what Republicans hold dear voted for a Republican because it was important to them, in spite of the candidate.

People of all races and economic statuses have grown tired of violence and rioting and supporting criminals over law enforcement. Intelligent people didn’t have to like their choice to understand that the next couple of Supreme Court justices could drastically change immigration, law enforcement, abortion and other areas of society that many people are passionate about.
 
I was as shocked as anybody to see Trump win, but now that he has, we’re stuck with it for four years. He hasn’t made a single bad decision as President yet, so give the man a chance. Maybe he’ll surround himself with good people and let them get done what needs to get done to move this country in a better direction.

Or, maybe he’ll set us back five decades socially too, I don’t know. 

To the “winners,” I pray you don’t gloat and become all high and mighty because your candidate won. On the “losing” side, there is legitimate concern among people you know and may care about as to their rights. 
Gay men and women are legitimately nervous…no, scared shitless, that their ability to marry and raise kids could be curtailed or outright outlawed. They may not be able to make simple purchases because of their sexual orientation.
THAT IS A LEGITIMATE WORRY!
Women who may become pregnant are legitimately worried that they may be forced to carry an unwanted child to term.
THAT IS A LEGITIMATE WORRY!
Technically illegal immigrants who have been in this country for years, even decades, are scared that they will be deported to a land they are unfamiliar with, even though they are working and making a living here in the United States. Many have kids who were born here and are people who appreciate this country more than “real” U.S. citizens.
THAT IS A LEGITIMATE WORRY!
 
Trump purports to support law enforcement. Obviously, that is something I can get behind.

I am law enforcement, and I look forward to seeing what he intends to do to help my profession.

At the same time, I support the Constitution and I am a compassionate human being.

I’m as tired as many people of the violence and rioting and war on police that is happening in our country. We need to do better to address these issues, but we cannot ignore what progress has been made in the past few years since Ferguson.
The concerns of minorities are real, and so are the concerns of law enforcement. There has to be an understanding that criminal conduct won’t be tolerated, with the caveat being that everyone will be dealt with equally, with no regard for a suspect’s race or gender or wealth.
Good luck with all that.
I’m told that since I didn’t vote, I don’t get to complain, which is fine. I have kids and a miniscule bank account and numerous chores around the house to get done, so I don’t need politics to find something to complain about.
I don’t want to complain, and I don’t want to read the complaints of other people.
I have unfriended zero people as a result of this election, and I don’t plan to start now. My  hope is that both sides can see past their differences and understand that you are the same in a lot of respects too.
When both sides aren’t posting political  opinions, they are posting other clues about who they are. On both sides, I notice that my friends, Democrats and Republicans alike, are parents and sons and daughters and employees and are genuinely good people. You both post pictures of your kids playing sports and going to the zoo and doing fun things. Both sides worry about money and wonder why gas prices fluctuate so much. You both root for your respective professional sports teams and bash the rivals. You all have cats and dogs and so many other similarities that it’s really asinine to focus on your differences all the time.
Don’t let politics ruin friendships. Friends who do that are as bad as parents who abandon their kids because they are gay. Hate and racism and sexism aren’t politics though. If this election for you was about making America “white” again, then shame on you, because that’s sick. Truly great will include all races. Contrarily, don’t confuse a person’s pro-Trump stance as being anti black or gay or women. While Trump himself may be all these things, there are many issues that people support, and always have. That he was their only choice in standing up for those beliefs isn’t their fault.
Let’s focus on our similarities for a change, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we can indeed make America great for EVERYBODY again.
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9 Responses to Blur those party lines for a bit…

  1. Jude says:

    Yep, I get it, we are all the same on the inside. Give Peace a chance, love the one you’re with. But they (the repulbicans) did have a choice to pick a candidate that had experience, and someone we could be proud of to lead this country, even if it is a Republican. And I truly hope that the rally cry is to make American great again… Not white again…. As I have heard others comment.
    However, I really don’t understand your choosing not to vote…on purpose… And that you never have. Likely there are many others that feel the same, that perhaps feel that one vote wouldn’t matter anyway. Wrong. The margins in many elections have been narrow, but if every American that is eligible to vote would do so, perhaps we would be in a much different situation… Good or bad. Who knows. Voting is the one right we have to stand up and voice their opinion by pulling that little lever that says, this is what I think. Explain not voting or standing up for your rights to the one lone man in Tienemann Square that stopped an army tank by not moving out of the way. Please.
    I know as an officer of the law, you will lay down your ever loving life for anyone in need. You are a true humanitarian, empathic and sincere, loving family man, and kinda funny! Let’s just pray you never have to lay down your life to protect anyone that stands in the way of freedom or our civil liberties and rights.

  2. byjane says:

    I’m trying to take your words to heart, Don, but they keep sliding off the page. Maybe I can’t approach your equanimity because–well, because I have some skin in the game. I voted. I spent a lot of time and energy researching the candidates and thinking about their platforms. I went with the person who had much of the same values and intentions for America as I do. I did my best to stay out of the friendship-ending thing, because I agree with your point that those supporting Trump are not all KKK Deplorables. Right now, I don’t know who they are…and actually, I don’t much care. I suppose it’s your profession that makes you able to see both sides. I just wish you had done so AND done your duty as an American citizen. Not voting in the easy way out…not at all what our Founders intended by creating this republic.

  3. bellaball says:

    Don – good post! I support YOUR right not to vote. It’s your choice – so I’m sorry some don’t think so. I voted and I have yet to go off on anyone who doesn’t believe in the one I voted for but I’m sorry the ones who did vote for her are being really nasty. I didn’t get ugly when Obama was elected and go off on people – just excepted it. Now we just need to except it and work together as a whole.

  4. tric says:

    I cannot get past the fact you did not vote.
    It may be your right and your choice but that doesn’t make it right.
    As I watch with interest what will happen over there I liken someone who did not vote to someone who watched from the sidelines and had a chance to intervene but chose to do nothing.
    Shakes head.

  5. calijones says:

    I think it might be reaching a bit to say that “Trump may be all these things” and think that his presidency could be anything but.

  6. Kat says:

    I’m 40 and this is the very first election I’ve voted in. Can’t say it did much good, but this year I felt like I had to. But you’re absolutely right – we are all people and we can all be decent to one another regardless of which little bubble we filled in on our ballot.

  7. Pedersen says:

    Not voting is also a way to voice an opinion, just saying.

  8. catsNjammer says:

    I am 60 and have voted in every election since I was 18. We are a free country, you have every right to not vote and it is no one’s business but your own. Since you are in law enforcement, we should all just step back and say how much we appreciate you and what you do for the citizens of your community. I hope you stay alert and stay safe! That being said, we need the peacemakers now more than ever. When anger and inappropriate glee is making its way around the web and through the office we have to heed those who step in with middle of the road approaches designed to cool off those overheated emotions.
    I didn’t agree with everything you said, as you know I am a conservative, but I definitely agree with your point. Good Post!

  9. julie says:

    Bravo! Well said!

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