THE QUESTION HAS BEEN ASKED about what we do with the Trump supporters in our life. They are our friends. Our neighbors. Our families. Our church members. The owners of the shops we still buy from even during a pandemic. Teachers. Doctors. Hair cutters/stylists.
Do we keep them in our lives? How will they ever know what they did wrong if we’re not there, in their lives, to teach them?
I think these are honest, sincere questions. I think they are valid. But I think they require honest answers, even if the answers are hard to take.
Let’s set this up as a Gedankenexperiment…
Consider what you find most valuable in your own life. For many people, it is their family.
Imagine someone has been trying for years to kidnap your wife and children and sell them overseas for profit, after a time of beating and torture. And they not only want to do this, they boast about it and tell all their friends of their intentions to bring harm to your family.
You aren’t directly friends with them. You just know about them. And you know they seek the harm of the people you love most.
How friendly are you with them when you meet them? How much do you let them into your lives? How often do you invite them into your home?
The people who seek the overthrow of our government and the establishment of a white Christofascist state will likely not harm you or me — that is, white Christian men. Those of us who are white men, Christian, and solid working people are going to fine.
But they are seeking the harm to our families and our neighbors and our friends. They seek to strip the equality of women. They seek to harm our children by formally dehumanizing them if they deviate from standard gender norms and identities. They seek to persecute our neighbors who are Muslim or migrants. They want to repeal the laws and amendments that serve to ensure our Black friends their human, civil rights.
Now, if these people want to come into your life, do you let them?
And if you discover that people you’ve let into your life are like this — do they remain there?
I’m sorry I have to be so blunt, but perhaps we don’t take it seriously how much our normalizing of these people allows them to exist in our society as people whose opinions should be respected and given power in government. (People can hold opinions, and that’s their right.)
Our friends in the Black community watch us, and that’s for sure. We claim to be their friends, but then they look at our other friends and ask us “What the hell are you doing?” I had this actual conversation with a friend who had to sit me down and have the Talk about how I was trying to play both sides, and either he was my friend or they were, but I couldn’t have both because his life was subject to their anger and rage and desire for his destruction.
I’m ashamed now to admit that I didn’t understand at the time. I didn’t make the connection between my relationships with others and my relationship with him.
Other families have had to have this conversation with their children who remind them that, as a sexual minority, they would be persecuted if the opponents of LGBT equality had their way. “If you vote for or support Trump, you are telling me that my life doesn’t matter, because Trump and his ilk are targeting me. They want me destroyed.”
It can be a hard topic to work through, and a hard decision to make. But ultimately, you need to stand where your principles — and your friends & family — are.
I’m not advising any course of action. I just hope you consider seriously what it means to the people you love when you are equally comfortable around them and around Trump supporters.