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Day Of Election Thoughts As I Was Stranded On A Kayak …

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I’m writing this before I know the outcome of the election. It’s noon on election day, November 3rd 2020, and I’ve just spent 2 hours by myself on a kayak mostly crying. Cut to 4 hours later and we are making cookies and notes for our Trump-loving neighbors.

Let’s back up. I’ve never kayaked before but I closed my office for the day (because it should be a national holiday) and I figured I’d take some time for myself to process all the fears and negative emotions I had around the election. I put on Brene Brown’s podcast and started paddling. I got ambitious and thought I’d go all the way around the lake not realizing until 1/2 way around that it was 3 miles – a real feat for a first-time kayaker. My arms were so worn out that I had to stop for an hour, stranded, and all I could do was think. A lot.

I’ve been stuck in an emotional tunnel full of anger, disbelief, and disappointment and it’s been so toxic for my insides. While many people have so many reasons to be angry and I don’t want to diminish yours, mine was this: I was so mad that so many really good people, Christian/moral people, could align themselves with Trump. That they could physically check the box saying ‘yes, this guy. He’s who I want to lead our country’. I was MAD. I know I’m not alone in this which is why I’m writing about it. There have been a lot of ‘HOW COULD…. ” questions screamed externally the last, well, four years and it has not been good for our collective mental health.

We non-Trump voters have to figure this out to survive mentally and as a nation. BUT HOW? For me, I had to find what we have in common in order to get past this, and after a lot of searching I realized what we all have in common is fear. It’s always fear. Fear is the worst. What I’ve learned is that most (white people) who voted for Trump did so to preserve their way of life, and another way you can put it (very simply, boiled down) is fear of change. I know it’s more nuanced than that, but that if you had to simplify it, that. is. it. I think. Things are changing really fast and It can be scary. The power structure that has been so comfortable for so many for so long is being challenged. What I want to say to everyone is that there is enough power for all of us (thank you again, Brene Brown for teaching me this). There is a big fear of socialism, but I promise that 98% of Democrats just want some basic human needs like affordable health care, good education, racial equality and policy that prevents poverty and gives people more opportunity. We just want more fairness and equity and for things to be better, but that doesn’t mean that you will have less. You are scared of anarchy and are wanting more law and order and I get that – we all want law and order, just a more compassionate version and policy to help reform police and prisons, and more importantly to help prevent the problems in the first place. We need new systems that don’t make compassion and accountability mutually exclusive. Fear has been so weaponized and there has been so much disinformation, lies and polarization, but I’m trying to understand while i disagree.

But listen, I see you. I don’t agree, but I hear your fears. I’m scared, too in a million ways about Trump staying in power and I want to listen so I can help teach.

Once I framed it more as ‘we are all just really scared’ regardless of having very different fears and even seeing a lot of hypocrisy in some of them, I could start to have empathy. If I thought my way of life was going to change drastically I would be scared, too. If I thought that I was living in a country where people didn’t value human life and no one got punished for it, I would be scared too. If I thought that we were headed to socialism and anarchy, geez, I would be scared, too. I see you now and I want to say ‘We just want things to be better, more fair, more equal, I promise.But when you want things to stay the same or even go back in time to when things were simpler for you, I understand how even ‘better’ or ‘progress’ can seem scary.

Now I know it’s more than that, and I don’t want to condescend to anyone or oversimplify, I promise, but I think if you ask yourself honestly the reason you checked that box it’s not his policy, it’s to preserve a way of life that is comfortable.

So this is where I’m at, literally 3 hours ago out in the middle of a lake when I started coming through the emotional tunnel, realizing I’ve been pretty close-minded and very very angry. Getting on the other side of the anger, while not even knowing who wins this election, was an unexpected election day breakthrough. Listening to Biden and Brene Brown talk about power and unity inspired me and made me feel ashamed for letting myself get so polarized, judgmental, and angry. While I will continue to abhore the racism in this country, and do my best to be anti-racist every day. Full Stop. But we simply don’t communicate deeply enough with each other in regards to complicated emotions and politics to find out what is driving the choices, mostly fear, so how can we find empathy? We all just watch the news and then scream into our own echo chambers. We are secretly so ugly in our private time towards each other. Maybe some votes could have been shifted as we popped our bubbles, and opened up the conversation earlier. I blame myself for that. I was too scared to talk about it and too scared of how I would react.

So what did I do? Well, first I had to get home from the other side of the lake. Instead of going around the outside, inside the buoy line which would have taken another hour, I bee-lined as fast I could, paddling maniacally across the lake (which is illegal and normally very dangerous but there was only one boat on the lake – the security boat, and they were far away but surely have ticketed me if they saw me). I paddled so hard and fast and finally made it, sweating, endorphins high. I biked home very excited about my idea.

I had a great idea: We would make cookies for our Trump-loving neighbors. When I proposed this, breathless from biking, the kids immediately said ‘why would we do that for them?’ and that’s when I realized how wrong I’ve been. I’m making things worse and have actually been such a big part of this polarization. While we likely will never agree on many many things, let me be clear, we can’t just keep ourselves in our bubble. Its not working. Trump supporters are not Trump, himself. I think we are all so angry at him that we take it out on those who voted for him. And listen, with the racism of Trump and many of his supporters I want to scream at people to not vote for him for no other reason than that he will continue to incite racism and violence and its terrifying for all of our BIPOC brothers and sisters. Then I get angry again and all empathy goes out the window……

Then I remind myself that he is pinning us against each other in order to divide and retain power….. its text book strategy. He then weaponizes with fear and we all lose when he does this. All of us.

We have 4 neighbors on our street that are ENTHUSIASTICALLY supporting Trump with multiple signs, etc. We’ve never really talked to them maybe partly because of this. They saw our BLM signs, we saw their Trump signs and kinda called it quits on any future friendship. Every time I ride my bike past the one that has a massive ‘KEEP AMERICA GREAT’ sign over the garage I would internally scream, “FOR WHO??? FOR F***ING WHO???? FOR YOU!!!!!! It wasn’t healthy, but it was my reaction.

When the kids would see the signs they would yell “MAMA! THEY LIKE Trump!!! WHY??” And while we would generally shelter them from our disgust, we genuinely didn’t know how to explain the fandom to our kids. They know that he’s a bully and that he’s not kind, but since we didn’t understand why anyone would be an enthusiastic supporter of Trump we couldn’t even explain it to them. There were times when they would see a sign and start chanting ‘Boo Trump, Boo Trump’, and Brian and I would stop them (after a few rounds) but not after proverbially patting ourselves on the back with a decent amount of pride and smugness. Oh good job, Emily, you’ve convinced your 4 and 6-year-old children to align with their own parents and despise someone. How impressive! Despite sheltering them from the bulk of the ugliness, I still knew that letting our kids judge others based on a sign in their yard was bad parenting but I didn’t know how to stop it and frankly I felt so vulnerable and scared myself that I kinda even wanted my kids on my team. Seriously. I’m just realizing this now as I write – I’m so scared of the world right now that I needed my own small children to be anti-Trump to help comfort me and re-affirm my own beliefs. (In case you are wondering this isn’t about politics and we typically encourage them to think for themselves – Trump is different, it’s about morals).

So yes. I had messed up and we had to make cookies for our enthusiastic Trump supporters in our neighborhood. I needed them and our kids to know that we won’t let a sign cut off our community. While we likely won’t share the same ideals, surely we have some of the same values. While we likely won’t ever be close friends, the fact is that we are neighbors. And I guess that’s my whole point. We are all neighbors. We are all human beings, imperfect and so fearful for ourselves and our family living next to each other without communicating those fears. And while I don’t want to self-help away all the truly ugly things out there that Trump and some supporters have said, done, and believe, I also personally have to get to a place of empathy in order to not only keep moving but also to create a much-needed bridge in my own life… In my own neighborhood and in my own family.

So despite who you voted for I want you to know that I see you, I hear you and you are welcome here if you are kind and respectful towards all Americans – more importantly, let’s start talking. Consider this me giving you some cookies with a note that says, “No matter who wins tonight or tomorrow, and no matter who you voted for, we are still neighbors. And if you ever need anything please know that the Hendersons are here for you. We are all Americans”. While I won’t give you my number to text as we did them. I mean it, too for you. And a week ago I would not have been able to say it and certainly not have meant it. We need more unity, more community, to find more in common ground and yes to put ourselves in other’s shoes and try to understand ‘why’ in order to empathize, move past and truly make more universal and meaningful change. We have to stop shaming and alienating people for voting for Trump or not using the right Politically correct language, it just shoves them further away and metastasizes their contempt for “progress” and “progressives”. Because if Trump shaming, purity politics, and cancel culture is part of “progress’ then I would be scared, too.

I could obviously write for hours about this, but I just got back from delivering cookies, and now it’s time to watch the election. Going from anger to empathy wasn’t easy and I’m not saying that you should feel the same way that I do or that I won’t have angry/negative relapses. I seriously don’t want to negate anybody’s emotions – please know that. This administration has inflamed, divided, and incited violence in ways that no cookies can ever ever ever apologize for. Be angry if you are angry. And yes I will likely relapse at some point and be angry, too.

But for now, I feel in a way better place than I have in months, and even dropping cookies off at our Covid neighbor with a note saying ‘regardless of who you vote for we are your neighbors and are all Americans’ felt GOOD. I’m settling in to watch the election with more empathy in my heart for every citizen in this flawed and incredible country than I have in the last four years, likely blinded by hope. We are all Americans. It’s time to become a community, a collective neighborhood who empathizes our way to getting better, together. Let’s make America Better. Full Stop.

**Also since my team is off for the day voting/self-caring no one edited this because it was a last-minute post, so excuse the grammatical mistakes. Also, I’m monitoring comments and anything that is negative or triggering to others won’t be published. I want to build a bridge today, not create more division or make this blog feel unsafe in any way, for anyone. I know I’ve said a million things wrong, or not quite right, or oversimplified or not recognized the extreme harm and pain he’s caused. I know that giving cookies to Trump lovers right now feels like I’m betraying my party. I know all of that. But I’m publishing this anyway without overthinking it because I want us to all find a way to unite despite this incredible division and, heck, maybe we really should start to not only “love thy neighbor” but “love thy enemies”. Or so I’ve heard. Let’s try that, shall we?

Y’all, WE CAN’T LET HIM PIT US AGAINST EACH OTHER ANY LONGER and that is exactly what is happening if we bash each other for being empathetic and trying to see the other side. We can’t let him win. We need to unite towards progress, against him, not cannibalize each other for showing empathy. The left does this far more than the right. Let’s NOT do that. xx

Fin Mark

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Robin

I know a lot of loving Christians who can vote for neither man. So please don’t assume all Christians voted Trump. Jesus wasn’t Republican or Democrat or American. We are asked to love our neighbour. It doesn’t mean we agree on EVERYTHING. But we can love them because they are made in God’s image and have inherent worth as a human being.

Katie

She didn’t say, “all” Christians.

Rory

I don’t see where she mentioned Christians.

Rusty

Twice. First and second lines.

Rory

I meant Emily. I finally found the reference to good people, “Christian/moral” people. Just because one proclaims oneself “Christian” doesn’t mean that person is “good,” actually. Lots of historical and contemporary evidence to contrary.

Michael Schley

The most interesting thing about this comment is that it has over 40 likes.

I wrote my own blog post trying to wade through my own disbelief, primarily to bargain with those in my life who are single issue Christian voters. My vote departs from the evangelical party in the interest of respecting everyone made in God’s image and their inherent worth as a human being. <3 Love this.

http://www.cbinsf.com

Mary

Hey Emily, I am pretty sure you won’t read this, but one major factor people also vote for Trump is because Biden / Harris is the most pro abortion ticket ever. They believe that babies should be allowed to be injected with poison and dismembered up until the moment of birth and left to die if the abortion didn’t work. Half of Americans find this atrocious. As a therapist I see the life long effects of abortion on women’s mental health (The pro aborts never mention this!) and know that it is life-changingly horrible for them too. Not to mention blacks babies are aborted at a much higher rate with some real racist history about abortion clinic locations. These babies loss their most fundamental right in a violent way and the numbers are far higher than any other of the sufferings you listed. Since you didn’t list the most glaring issue for Christians, I thought I might help clarify since you mentioned that all people are made in God’s image and have inherent worth as a human being. A statement with which I couldn’t agree more.

Andrea

What you wrote is factually false and a major part of the problem. Facts just are facts & can be easily found if one does not look for confirmation bias. I would be happy to site with evidence & facts how your post is wrong about Biden/Harris, but I doubt you will except it. And if decreasing abortion is your true goal(because even when against the law it continues) then you should support Democratic Administrations because it is a FACT that abortions go down when they are in the WH. Do you know what countries have the highest abortion rates? The ones with the strictest laws against it. The ones with the lowest have the most access to birth control & are most equitable to women across all metrics.

Mary

This is false. The numbers are far more nuanced than you say and are often manipulated to make that point. Murder is wrong -the unintended pregnancy rate has actually fluctuated since the early 1980s. Alternative explanation for the abortion rate decline is because a higher percentage of unintended pregnancies are being carried to term. Approximately 54 percent of unintended pregnancies were aborted in 1980. That number fell to 42 percent by 2011.

Mary
Meridith

I see your comment and agree completely that this is a key reason many people did not vote for Biden.

While you cute anecdotal evidence regarding the effects of abortion in mental health, I will add that there are empirical studies that show that while some women regret their choice, the majority of women who have had abortions would do it again under the same circumstances.

Meridith

cite*

Mary

Unfortunately there is nothing cute about my anecdotes.6 times higher suicide rate. Two national records-based studies from Finland revealed that aborting women 6 times higher suicide rate. were 6 times more likely to commit suicide in the following year than were delivering women.1 • Up to 60% have suicidal thoughts Up to 60% have suicidal thoughts. According to a recent study in a major scientific journal, 31% had thoughts Up to 60% have suicidal thoughts of suicide after abortion. In another survey, approximately 60% of women with post-abortion problems reported suicidal thoughts, with 28% attempting suicide and half of those attempting suicide two or more times.2 • 154% higher risk of suicide. 154% higher risk of suicide. Another study of more than 173,000 American women who had abortions or 154% higher risk of suicide. carried to term found that, during the eight years after the pregnancy ended, women who aborted had a 154% higher risk of suicide than women who carried to term.3 • Higher suicide risks for teens. Higher suicide risks for teens. Teen girls are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had an abortion Higher suicide risks for teens. in the last six months… Read more »

Really Mary all stats aside, it is simply NOT up to a government (often made up of older white men) to make decisions for a females “potential mental problems.” Access to affordable health care lowers the abortion rate, we all know this now. But where is the actual “human rights” is voting for an administration that has carelessly handled Covid? Those are living breathing humans, with so many REAL deaths and a Commander and Chief to say “it is what it is?” is beyond deplorable. I know a lot of people think they needed this one issue as a reason to vote for a man that simply DOES not care about women’s health, physical or mental. ANd you got your justice so why not take a stand and vote him out when is behavior is SO not Christ like? Why are we needing to REMIND people, especially other women that Donald Trump has 26 (yes 26!) sexual assault cases pending against him. Voting on this one issues is a deluded argument. If you want to lower the abortion rate then why doesn’t the Republican party or really any party -put their money where their mouth is and serve women reproductive… Read more »

Mary

Do you think it shouldn’t be up to the government to decide that murder is illegal? At what age is it okay to dispose of your children? Science is pretty clear that a unique life with it’s own DNA begin at conception. They are pretty dependent on you until at least one year old. Is murder okay then? Funnily, I think there are far more complexities and nuances to both sides than you seem to be aware of. If you don’t want your government to tell you what to do with your body, then how do you feel about them forcing you to have health care, mandatory vaccinations, etc. And, it’s an incredibly privileged thing to say it’s okay for other people to have abortions though you wouldn’t do it to your own children. You were given the privilege of life unlike so many children conceived in the last 40 years. I do have a PhD and have spent decades immersed in this topic. In fact, I used to be pro-choice until I read and understood the issues better, worked with women who had abortions and saw evidence of body part trafficking. And, since I have encountered the pro-life movement,… Read more »

Amber

Hey Mary – Your statement “Biden / Harris is the most pro abortion ticket ever” and the details that follow are just flat out wrong. Biden has stated he is ‘personally opposed to abortion,’ he didn’t feel he had the ‘right to impose [his] view on the rest of society.’ It’s super easy to research yourself (Just one source: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/politics/a34205908/joe-biden-stance-on-abortion/)

Many abortions are not unwanted pregnancies at all, but are unviable for different reasons. How do you feel about IVF, the disposing of embryos and “reduction” for fetuses when pregnant with multiples? Terminating a pregnancy/fetus comes in many different forms and for many, many different reasons. It’s not up to us to judge or condemn a woman who has made that choice, but it should be HER choice.

I believe that God put women in control of their bodies and allows them to carry a fetus for a reason. He gave women control over that fetus, and we should trust a women’s judgment.

Bethany

Thank you. Things are a lot more nuanced, as you acknowledge, but your vulnerability is very much appreciated.

Summer

Yes! Well done. I think Jesus called us to love our enemies because He knows it’s something we can’t do on our own. And… because nothing is more powerful. (It’s what He did in the most radical way possible, in order to bridge an even bigger and more important divide than this one.)

I appreciate all of the grace in your heart, Emily, and your heart to share and extend that gift. To be honest, the thing I fear are the type of people who can’t understand what you said. All of the most evil systems begin with the thinking that “the other” is undeserving of “do unto others.”

PS. I don’t know if you would find this helpful, but if you Google “walkaway Georgia H” you can find a video that explains that empathy for the oppressed could actually motivate a right-wing vote.

Vicki Williams

Great post Emily! I’m in!

Sara

Sorry, but no. Just no. As the mother of a Black daughter – no. You can afford to be ‘nuanced’, because in the end, it will only affect you tangentially. Those of us who have skin in the game will not rest, cannot rest. No one is safe until everyone is safe, even those who ignorantly vote against their own self interest.

B

Totally get this comment, but also, one of the only Trump voters I know is my only Black cousin (who buys into the “save the children” element of QAnon, cue sad tears). I think treating all voters like a monolith is what Emily is opposed to—and that makes sense, because of course, individuals change the minds of individuals.

Kiki Flinn

Your Black Trump-supporting cousin is such an outlier compared to who Trump’s base actually is, which is factually monolithically white, I’m so confused why you even bothered to mention him. Except to divert blame from where it is very much deserved. Which is insidious.

Your anecdotal experience is cute, but statistics don’t lie.

Yam

After 4 years of Trump, it is no longer anecdotal: this time around almost 1 in 5 black men voted for Trump (18% vs 13% in 2016),
8% of black women,
26% of Latina women,
36% of Latino men,
28%(!) of LGBTQ people.

I think we (am including myself as a D voter) should rethink our assumptions.
That’s why I liked this post.
I do not need to agree with all of your analysis, Emily, because there is a humility here: we do not understand everyone. That does not mean they are bad!

Bell Stevents

1 in 5 black male VOTERS. 26% of Latina VOTERS. That distinction is important.

Andrea

Those statistics you site are from exit polls. The majority of people voting on election day were republicans. They are not an accurate reflection of the totality of thirds who voted.

Herselfindublin

I’m not American, so I’m looking at this from the outside. And I think your point is very well made, and also it seems to me that Emily agrees with it.
I’m just commenting to add that when Nelson Mandela was in prison on Robben Island he encouraged all the ANC prisoners to learn Afrikaans so they could talk to the white guards in their own language. And look at the change he (and others) wrought in their country. There is a way through this, and communication is part of it.

Alexis

I posted something similar way down in the comments, but I wanted to respond and amplify what you are saying as this post is hugely alienating to LGBTQ and BIPOC people who don’t have the luxury of safely making a “friendly” approach to neighbors who support people and policies against their very existence and survival. (And no it doesn’t matter if you anecdotally know one black person voting for trump or whatever, as said below – Trump has made racism, xenophobia, misogyny and violence his platform, that is an undeniable fact, even if you justify his record as a family-separating, sexual-assaulting, violence-inciting racist because of something else you care about that he will uphold that you think morally entitles you to overlook his abject cruelty and danger to humanity). MLK had different methods than Malcolm X, but I can assure you he was not baking cookies for the KluKluxKlan. I would worry more about how your actions make the people feel who are directly hurt/targetted by Trump’s actions than how your BLM lawn sign makes your Trump supporting neighbors feel. It is as much the tolerance (by largely white people) of the “racist uncle,” the family friends who are homophobic,… Read more »

Jessica Turner

Thank you for this Alexis! Everyone loves cookies, but the fundamental rights of so many are at stake here, and though I will always support the cause of baked goods, I don’t understand the timing of this post at all. It’s so tone deaf to the people of the world who aren’t white/cis/wealthy and it’s privilege and privilege alone that allows anyone to tell a story from this place. I’m sorry, Emily, and I’m positive that your ideals most likely align pretty closely to my own liberal ideals, but I think it needs to be said that the problem isn’t Trump and Trump alone, it’s the mechanism that got him to power and keeps him in power. It’s the “bystander” approach of shouting, “but I’m not racist! I’m not homophobic!” and then supporting him at the polls. Your neighbors don’t think women should have equal pay. They don’t think my two best friends should be allowed to be married. They don’t think Sara’s daughter should be able to vote with ease and they don’t think people who are desperately seeking a better life in this country should be allowed to exist at all. How do I know? Because they support… Read more »

Alexis

I couldn’t agree more, Jessica. I just read this thread to my husband and BF and both were adamant that I stop following. I don’t doubt that Emily’s views are aligned with my liberal views in many ways, but she has just given so many permission to look the other way from injustices that we all enable when we don’t fight back. A more polite society won’t be less divided, it will just ensure that the people who need the most help and support are silenced and suppressed. While all the white/cis/privileged get along and occasionally donate to goodwill or tip their housekeepers.

Eva

I completely agree. This post really demonstrates how performative her advocacy has been over the past few months. While she may not “agree with” the views of her Trump-supporting neighbors and followers, she is failing to hold them accountable and thus ultimately doing nothing to dismantle the power structures that Trump supporters are determined to uphold. I just unsubscribed from the insiders community as I cannot continue to support the virtue signaling.

Lea

This comment is 100% coming from someone who is appalled by the atrocities occurring against the BIPOC, LGBTQ, female, immigrant, poverty stricken and other communities across the country. I also live in an area that at least 75% Republican and pro-Trump. This does mean that I have a large community of people that I am friends with that support Trump enthusiastically. I have asked so many questions of these friends and family of mine- in regards to the vitriol being shared, the legislation, the inaccuracies and insanity of his social media- truly everything. The reality is that so many Trump supporters live in a bubble. They don’t know anyone who is directly impacted by his words and his legislation. They don’t feel any of the pain. They truly cannot grasp the impact his words and actions have. And they have very specific engrained values (abortion and if they’re honest tax laws) that they find more important than the social issues. This is because they truly don’t have the capacity to understand these concepts when they remain in their bubbles. Some of them are truly the most generous people I know- supporting entire families in poverty, paying for others education, volunteering… Read more »

Beth

I very much agree with this and am faced with the same scenario in my “red zone” community. I, for one, think that if we want to see change it starts with loving your neighbor whether that person is LGBTQ, a minority, or a Republican. Just as we can’t put every Biden supporter/liberal in a box, we can’t put every conservative/Republican in a box. And we certainly can’t continue to demonize others, which is a trait we claim to hate about Trump. If we choose to only listen to and associate with those who think like us and vote like us how will any of us ever make a lasting impact on those around us? Because Emily doesn’t agree with her neighbors, but is showing them love says so much more than shunning them ever would. I NEVER comment on political posts, but this post is about love and human decency more than politics and that deserves praise not condemnation.

Lea, thank you for putting my thoughts into words for me. I agree 100%.

Jessica

This is my family 100%, I was raised Republican. If it weren’t for kind people who voted Democrat who took the time to talk to me and understand me, I wouldn’t have my mind opened up to anything other than Republicans. If it weren’t for kind people who voted again trump in the first election, I wouldn’t have changed my vote to Biden this year

This comment is exactly it for me. While it’s not the responsibility of (or necessarily even safe for) marginalized and targeted communities to be the ones “baking cookies for their neighbors,” it *is* the obligation of white, privileged people, to cross the aisle, start a conversation, question a comment, raise an eyebrow, and begin dismantling the division in the daily micro-moments we’ll never have if we write these people off completely. If we give up on their capacity for growth and change, we surrender to the idea that white supremacy will always prevail. I have to believe it won’t.

Liz

Yes, Lea! This. I have a similar story — my family mostly voted for Trump. You will not find people more kind, generous, open hearted, and dedicated to their communities. They’re Hispanic and lifelong civil servants. Their reasons for voting Republican are multi-faceted but they are learning more about the world through loving me & my family, who are different from them in many ways. My brother learned so much he started voting Dem years ago. Things are awful, I know, but more division will not help.

Sally -Appalled onlooker

That’s ridiculous. You’re going to stop following an interior design blog because the writer suggested she was going to be nice to neighbours who voted for a different political party and conceded that maybe they’re not evil, but misguided? I’m not American, don’t live in America, I AM a socialist, think Trump is an outright lunatic (because he is) and a bad person (he is, demonstrably, immoral) and like many in the rest of the world watch America’s descent into intolerance and craziness with deep concern and worry. Reading some of the responses to this benign (in any other country) post I now realise it’s unfair to assume only Trump voters are irrational and fanatical. You (and all) should read a plethora of materials of all views, assuming they are appropriately expressed, as this clearly was. Don’t just read things that reinforce your own viewpoint and unsubscribe when they present an alternative perspective. Democracy depends on an informed and open citizenry. This whole notion that if you’re not with me, you’re against me is dangerous. And reading that into the above post, which was about someone trying to mentally and emotionally make sense of a truly astounding and very worrying… Read more »

Sally-Appalled onlooker, beautifully, powerfully put. Amen. Thank you.

Kelly Curley

This response saddens me. Sounds to me like you would rather start a war than talk to a neighbor who is a Trump supporter. You need privileged white and cis people on your side, whether you realize it or not. By ‘cancelling’ Emily for her privilege you are bolstering the argument of the right, whether you realize it or not.

Rusty

Good point!
In this case silence is certainty betrayal!

Karen Sunday

and I agree with this post as well but I pray biden is in and I will keep my hope!

Kathryn

This is all I could think while reading this. No one who supports this man at this point deserves my time as they actively support taking away the rights of my friends and my children. They have made the world less safe for anyone who doesn’t look or think like they do and they do not care. I read this and think “but a black/immigrant/lgbtq+/muslim family would not feel safe bringing them cookies”. And until they do, Trump supporters do not deserve to feel accepted. Given all that you have previously posted and claim to understand, this feels unbelievably tone-deaf and priviledged.

Ellie

But then isn’t it even more important for someone who does feel safe to enter into discourse with them so that they might be pulled out of the trump echo chamber?

Daria

How many people are taking on the work of discussing these issues with Trump supporters vs. just saying “it’s okay if we disagree!”

Eva

YES! Thank you for putting my exact thoughts into words. This post is so unbelievably insensitive and tone deaf.

Alexis, please don’t presume to speak for all. I’m LGBTQ (and solidly against Trump), but in no way found Emily’s post “hugely alienating to LGBTQ” (or alienating at all). I found it wise and brave.

Alexis

Nothing I said precluded the possibility that people with your POV exist. There are Trump supporters and enablers of all stripes. (And yes, if you think what Emily wrote is “wise and brave,” then you are an enabler for all the reasons so many have eloquently shared in this comment section).
We don’t have to agree, but I’m also guessing we won’t be baking each other cookies and that’s ok, too.

Sending love and blessings your way, Alexis. Be well.

P.S., There’s immense freedom in no longer holding something imaginary together. No longer clinging to the absurd notion that any of us is anything other than perfectly imperfect and human.⁠

This changes the world. This sets in motion a whole other way of experiencing self. This sets in motion a whole other way of experiencing and relating to others. Let’s meet each other here. In this place. Darkness and light. All of us.⁠

Love wins. Always.

Yam

Dana Leigh Lyons:
You’re the best. I love your grace in all your comments. It gives me hope and makes me smile (a rarish one right now ;)).

LouAnn

Personally I don’t understand how anyone, especially a Christian, could vote for Trump. That said, Emily’s approach of tolerance and compromise is the only sane way forward.

Your approach, Sara — full of intolerance, patronizing people who disagree with you as “ignorant,” and insisting on defining every aspect of life by race and ethnicity — is why Trump nearly got re-elected despite being someone most people, including his supporters, despise as a human being.

Biden looks to be winning by a hair. And it’s because he is not seen as an extreme progressive. He is a moderate and a consensus builder and THAT is the only way forward. We all will have to learn that you can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you can get part of what you need.

Yam

LouAnn,
I hear you and agree about tolerance and compromise as the way forward. Thanks for expressing it so well.
Biden is winning by a hair but perhaps it is as close as it is because he is NOT progressive. Part of what I have learned/am learning is that we take on the ideas of (both party’s) leadership of who WE all are.
The Democratic Party said that a moderate would allow down ballot advantages, but they definitely has not happened here. (See the losses in the House, unexpected, and the less-than-expected D performance in the Senate :(.
True this is evidence from the negative, but for evidence from the positive see Florida:
There was a $15/hour initiative on the ballot. Biden said he would not support. The Democratic Party said they would not support it–all apparently bc of that same idea you cite of needing a ‘centrist.’

P.S. The majority of Floridians voted for President Trump AND for $15/hour!

That does not fit into the narrative we are used to, and reminds me of my last surprise: Sanders’s success in Michigan, supposedly against the odds, and definitely not what I was told to believe by pundits and Dem party leaders.

MKK

“No one is safe until everyone is safe.” Perfectly said. It is not just Trump, but it is the Republican cronies (McConnell and Graham) who have no moral compass. Unfortunately, Republicans work dirty to maintain power. Their interests are very narrow and it is not to keep everyone safe. The “ we go high when they go low” Democrats have an uphill road. I am more disgusted with Senators and House Repr. that have shown how morally corrupt they are. I have no power with my vote to remove them since I do not live in Kentucky or SC. What woman, TODAY, would vote for someone who says this: “I want every young woman to know there’s a place for you in America if you are pro-life, if you embrace your religion, and you follow a traditional family structure — that you can go anywhere, young lady,” Lindsey Graham said this and he does not live a traditional lifestyle. However, he wants to direct the life of women. “There’s a place for you..” REALLY!!! To the elderly neighbors who FEAR Socialism, it may have been more educational to have let them know we will remove Social Security and Medicare from… Read more »

Mary

Those of us without skin in the game – white, straight, able-bodied, cis, educated, WASP here – have the absolute responsibility of reaching out to our privileged, Trump-voting family/colleagues/neighbors. Sara, you’re right. I can afford to be nuanced and so I MUST, because my Uncle Richard certainly hasn’t responded well to my firy debates over the past four years. He wants a message of unity? I have to play by the rules of his game if I want to make any progress (even though it fucking sucks and I actually just want to punch him in the throat). This is what the privileged, protected Emilys and mes of the U.S. have to do because it doesn’t cost us, emotionally, what it costs our more vulnerable family and friends.

Thank you for speaking out, Sara. And Emily, thank you, too. Love to all.

(But not the Trump voters – I’ll be nuanced in real life but after working the polls for 14 hours yesterday I do not have the emotional energy to be nice to internet maga-ites.)

Eva

I agree that it is our – the “white, straight, able-bodies, cid, educated” – responsibility to reach out to Trump supporters. However, baking them cookies and saying you will be there for them no matter what is not going to change their views, it just demonstrates that they can be racist, misogynistic, ableist, etc. and not be held accountable.

Lee

And constantly shrieking at them about being “racist, misogynistic, ableist, etc” is going to change their views?

Folks like you on the left who are closed off to any opinion but your own are just as bad as the right-wing Trump sheep.

That you take offense at an act of community like cookie baking for neighbors says a lot about you (but nothing good).

Lea

Is there any evidence, other than the fact that they voted for Trump, that these are racist, misogynistic, ableist people? Do we assume these people are these things because they are Trump supporters?
To play devil’s advocate, are you a socialist who wants to steal money from rich people? Trump’s supporters believe that if you voted for Biden, you are fully in support of socialism/communism.
I believe this labeling is so incredibly dangerous on both sides- it dehumanizes people to their party preferences. I believe we must give people the benefit of the doubt and strive to understand them before writing them off.

Jen

Thank you, Lea – Such a valid point.

There is so much hate spewing from these responses to Emily’s post that it makes me wonder how one side can actually consider themselves more justified than another. I think we all need to take a solid look inward before tearing others down. That goes for our political leaders (ALL of them on BOTH sides), our MEDIA giants, and our individual selves.

MKK

Because, Jen, it was a patronizing post. An appearance of do-good after self-reflection, but falls flat on so many levels. But, I will still be following EHD, because it was brave of Emily to post!! I respect her for it.
If you are a HUMAN, the stakes are high….not just for the marginalized.

Keva

The difference here is that Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his racism, intolerance, and misogyny. This is a fact. There’s no need to believe it. On the other hand, the idea that Biden is a socialist is just that: an idea. You don’t need evidence that Trump supporters are racist. They don’t need to be. They are by way of validating his behaviour. The outcome is the same whether they are blatantly racist or passively accept it.

There is absolutely a time for labeling people’s actions and it must be done in a free and tolerant society in order to call out and invalidate egregiously harmful behaviour that demeans and devalues others. That is what is happening here and what so many are having difficulty with. At what point does tolerance of intolerance become dangerous? When it comes at the cost of the rights and value of those who are on the receiving end of the intolerance. That is the tolerance that Trump sells.

Morgan

Happy socialist Canadian here! Lea, just wondering if you know what socialism is? It’s actually not the same as communism and there’s no “stealing of money” from rich people. Very rich people and corporations pay taxes though to help support social programs for everyone, so that we can all live better, healthier lives. Kind of like a privileged person giving cookies to their neighbours 😉

Yam

Are people misogynist and racist because they vote for a presidential candidate who is?
If so, then we are almost all misogynists and racists. I hope to God Biden wins, but I certainly cannot pretend not to see his history of racism and sexism (to put it mildly).
And I have certainly voted for plenty is misogynists before ….

Megh

I agree. If you are a marginalized community or someone with a loved one with preexisting conditions or an LQBTQ person it’s hard to forgive the Trump voters . The stakes are really highly for some of us. The rest of you go build bridges( appreciated) but understand that your life isn’t personally impacted. You have privilege.

Gail

And what if you are a Christian, pro-life, a Midwesterner, a Southerner, a plumber, a farmer, an electrician, or a oil worker? Democrats have forgotten these groups or Trump would never have won in the first place. I don’t think the farmer in Nebraska who votes for Trump is a racist. He feels that Democrats have left him by the wayside. I listened to a Democrat on TV saying that Nancy must go because Democrats have become the party of the coastal elites. I am guessing that Biden will win, but there are millions who voted for Trump and we will remain a divided country.

Lily Rose

I agree with you, Sara. I admire the thoughtfulness, and self reflection going on here, Emily…but I just can’t.

Voting for Trump no matter what the reason is voting for a racist, fascist, scary man that goes against what so many people love about America. No. This isn’t “I don’t wanna pay higher taxes” or “I don’t want universal health care”. A vote for Trump means “I’m a racist who just wants to see how much I can get away with without giving back to my fellow BIPOC folks”. I can’t sympathize with anyone on any level that voted for this man.

Ana Maria De Mier

I am in the UK so I am an outsider but what I have understood from Emily’s post is that we have to stop having tantrums (although there are reasons to have tantrums) and start thinking: How do I attract these people to “my side”?

Do I need to bake them cookies to start putting “social” seeds in their minds through a sweet conversation without them realising of it, then let’s be it.

We have to stop fighting from our emotions, to start thinking strategically to win

Good luck everyone. It’s very close Now! Fingers crossed 🤞🏻 ☘️☘️☘️☘️

J

I cannot even believe the hate in this thread. “trump supporters don’t deserve to be accepted” among so many other hateful comments. REALLY? that’s so inclusive and unifying, way to practice what you preach.

Some of these comments are painting with broad, broad strokes. your generalizations are wrong.

I’m a conservative (gasp! Don’t worry I’m leaving) 30-something and I have read this blog daily for years. Thru those years the conversations have gotten tough at times, but this…this takes the cake…comment after comment after comment…. Its just downright rude and horrible. I no longer belong here, so I’m out.

Sharon G

I’m with you. So much hatred; it is actually scary. I don’t want to belong to this group.

Yam

Please don’t leave, J!
I am not a conservative, and I am probably to the left of most posters here, certainly to the left of Emily, and for the life of me I don’t get this either.
I mean, I do, bc I see it all the time now, but it is as if the Dems we have voted for are so amazing (seriously? These are not people I would present as role models, ever!, with a few exceptions of course ;).
Most of us are trying our best. But maybe Emily’s point is that trying our best from now on means not accepting the stories the pols and pundits we support are telling us.
Anyway, I hope you stay, J. We need you in this conversation!!!

L

J, I’m so sorry. I’m as liberal as they come and am one of these “WOC” everyone cares so much about these days and I’m actually really turned off by the vitriol. It’s not ok.

Aphrodite

Well said.

I get a bit sick reading this blog post – all it does is make privileged white women pat themselves on the back for being “nice” to others and therefore benign complicit in accepting the disgusting treatment of BIPOC, the LGBTQI+ community, etc. Heads up: the other side don’t give a sh*t about treating anyone with compassion!

Not to speak for the black community obviously, but the onus should not be on minorities to make things “nice” and “comfortable” and “not scary” for racists and bigots who don’t even see them as worthy of human rights, when day-to-day life is terrifying for them.

It’s time for revolution, not cookie making.

…Otherwise the cycle just continues because people are too SCARED to create change for fear of scaring the people in power reinforcing the status quo?! Ugh.

M

This is exactly it, Aphrodite. Emily, I totally get your good intentions with your note and cookies to your neighbors. But, don’t you think all of the issues that are arising in our country – support for a racist, white supremacist president, such outward and shameless displays of hatred and violence – is BECAUSE we have all been TOO comfortable? Allowing these people to say whatever they want without ever calling them out – be it our friends, neighbors or family? I’m a person of color, and have always had to “laugh off” micro aggressive racist comments at work, family gatherings, and even in certain social groups, because I didn’t want to be the “PC”/debbie downer/”sensitive” person, who made things awkward and uncomfortable for the rest of the (mostly) white people. Haven’t we gotten to the point BECAUSE we’ve tolerated all of this for so long, without the voice or platforms to finally rise up and call powerful people out and tell them they are WRONG? I just believe you may be approaching this bridge building with your Trump supporting neighbors in a way that is sugar coating what is behind their support for him. Cookies and a note of… Read more »

Addie

Thank you Sara.

Lauren

I didn’t vote for Trump, but I love this with my whole heart. Thank you for being open to giving grace, even when it’s undeserved.

Gail

You had a nice comment until the “it’s undeserved.”

Jill

Wow this was really nice to read during these polarizing times. I’d like to think the Holy Spirit is nudging us all to love our neighbors & it’s cool to see that at work in your life today. May we all choose to love first.

Vanessa

I have a lot of respect for you doing that and saying all these things. I’ve thought similiar things as well but what stops me from jumping fully on this band wagon is that I’m a white (therefore privileged) 39 yo female with a job and no real risk either way from the election results. I have to take a strong stance against Trump and his supporters for those who’s rights are being taken away by him. I’m not going to go out and do anything flagrant against anybody of course. However in my mind they aren’t worthy of my good deeds.

Elizabeth

My mom and I have been at complete odds about politics during this past presidential term and the absolute truth is that we are both afraid of a world that we see coming and that we don’t want. We are just afraid of different things and that’s why we disagree. I try to tell myself that she is afraid of her life getting worse just like I am, and it really helps me put things into perspective too.

Rusty

You just reminded me of a dear, very elderly and now passed, friend. She used to call Australian Aboriginal people “natives.”
Inherently degrading them, yet against her very religious beliefs.
I listened to her, a lot.
She listened to me, some.
Then, she started asking me questions about Indigenous Australians and became truly interested in cultural aspects (I studied a few Aboriginal Education units at uni), which she’d previously been completely ignorant of.
Through shared dialogue and listening, knowledge, understanding and tolerance and acceptance grew.
I am honoured to have known her and to gave shared in our humanity.

Lauren

I really love this! Thank you so much for your vulnerability! I think one of the big things that’s happened as well, especially this year, like you kind of mention, is the fact that we’ve resorted to judging people based on the way they vote instead of who they are as a person. We’ve resorted to ASSUMING the worst in people because they vote opposite of us when in reality, we all just want what we think is best for our families. There used to be a saying that you never talk about money, religion, or politics at dinner parties. Maybe there was something to that? Only kidding – I think it’s important to discuss real issues that affect us all, but in a civil manner. I don’t walk up to people I haven’t seen in sometime and immediately ask who they voted for, I ask how their kids are or how work is going. Because at the end of the day, it’s your friends and family’s well being that matters and as long as they’re healthy, happy and loved, we’ll be ok!

Karen

I have been a wreck for months over Trump, and my husband is also pro-Biden. But I’m more emotional about it. And he has continued to tell me not to dislike nor judge someone because of who they vote for. I want to absorb that, and I definitely see how that will lead down a bad path for all of us. BUT, I also inherently don’t understand it. If we chose one (OF THE MANY) things I deeply dislike about Trump – let’s say, racism. And I ask a Trump supporter, “So, when he told the Proud Boys “stand back and stand by”; or when he calls Covid the “Chinese Flu” or “kung flu”, you don’t think there’s anything wrong that?” And that person says no. So therefore, that person tolerates racism, and frankly one of the worst kinds of racism – the kind that is amplified through the voice of our President! And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2020, you’re either racist or anti-racist. So if you’re tolerating some racist shXt, then you are a racist. And I cannot tolerate being around that, and I am left only to dump that person in the bucket of racist… Read more »

Rusty

The. Entire. World. Hears. You!

Taylor

The Proud Boys are led by a Latino man and they’re not a white supremacy group. Viruses have historically been named after their country of origin (Spanish flu, SARS, Ebola, Zika, etc.). Even the Media referred to COVID-19 as the Wuhan virus for months! The corrupt Media has lied and mislead the American people for years. While Biden has called POC “super predators”, said he didn’t want his kids growing up in a “racial jungle,” the Media has continually covered for him. Even when he said that Obama was the first “clean”, “articulate” African-American candidate. Biden also said he was against gay marriage years ago…Trump has never said these things! If you take the time to actually listen to what Trump says, you’ll see that, while he may not be an eloquent speaker, he’s NOT a racist. The Media is constantly manipulating his words and manipulating how and what information they relay. Think cages at the border…those were built by Obama! Trump’s policies have been wonderful for minorities (First Step Act, Opportunity Zones, giving over $100 million dollars to historical Black colleges and universities, the Platinum Plan). Not to mention, you wouldn’t believe all of the horrible racist things said… Read more »

T

The $1000 dollar difference here is that Biden is a lot like the rest of us on our own path to learning about racism. Absolutely no one is 100% perfect and I don’t expect our candidates to be, what I do expect is a willingness to listen to the other side and acknowledge when you’ve misspoke so that you can do better. Isn’t that what we’ve asking of ourselves during these days? Trump is literally incapable of that. He doubles down instead on whatever comment he makes and essentially believes he’s always 100% correct even when it flies in the face of facts, science, and experts. That’s a dangerous mindset for anyone with power; never mind the president of the United States.

Meg

@Taylor just trying to understand…are you ok with the cages at the border? With children being torn apart from their parents? 500+ kids without parents able to be found?

Fatima

Taylor this is a bad take, Gavin McInnes, a proud Islamophobe according to his first public interview about the Proud Boys, founded the Proud Boys, and is a white supremacist or sympathizer and certainly early leader of the tech alt-right movement, guilty of spreading the most heinous comments about immigrants, Islam, women, black people, Jews, etc. go look it up. The de facto leader is now a Latino, once Gavin was deplatformed for all his misinformation and after his arrest. He also was the co-founder of Vice Media. 🙄 Listen to all the voices in these comments. We are talking about people making excuses for racism we are talking about people like you.

J

I have never commented here but there are a number of factual inaccuracies in your post. The Proud Boys were founded by Gavin McInnes and are a western chauvinist group with members spouting white supremacist ideology. (Source: SPLC). While their current leader is not caucasian, their actions do point to them being a white, or at least western, nationalist group. SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Calling something the Wuhan virus (its place of origin, like Zika and Ebola) is different than taking it upon yourself to EXPAND the place name to encompass the entirety of China (although yes, 100 years ago–when we still made black people drink from separate water fountains–we found it appropriate to call it the Spanish flu). Biden did not use the term super predator (this you can find on Politifact), despite Trump saying he did. In addition, there are several instances of Trump on video saying he did not support gay marriage (if you google “Auntie Gay” you can find a hilarious compilation of them). Lastly, the Obama administration did build the cages to deal with migrant caravans of unattended children (those who arrived with no parents). Trump then used those cages to separate… Read more »

Meg

Excellent, J. This is why I asked Taylor about the cages, etc. My experience with dialogue with many Trump supporters is along the lines of “But Obama,” etc instead of actually discussing the issues. I get FoxNews talking points, many of which misconstrue and conflate the truth.

Taylor seems to care about who built the cages first, without mentioning the kids. The kids weren’t in those cages 4 years ago. So much passion about “But Obama” and not a word about the kids being separated from their parents. So I have to assume Taylor is totally fine with kids being in cages.

J

I always find the “Trump isn’t racist” argument the hardest to deal with. Biden’s one comment (that he apologized for) was so just so incredibly offensive and yet, Trump’s decades long, documented history of racist actions and comments simply don’t exist.

Yam

J, I don’t think it is about the one comment.
He called Strom Thurmond one of his “closest friends,” just for starters. Kamala Harris actually called him out in the debates on his very close friendships with segregationists. And rightly so!

It was sort of a well known non-joke among a friend of mine involved indirectly in politics in DC that Obama chose Biden precisely *because Biden was known to be racist–in order to calm the worried whites who might be “uncomfortable” with Obama being black. Biden was like a sign for these more passive (for lack of a better word) racists. If Biden the racist could tolerate O, he must not be such a radical black man, the thinking (apparently!) went.

Yam

J., Thanks so much for this.
It is so well presented and is so level-headed. It is so easy to want your side to be the good side, that we often overlook that our “side” has really big problems.

Karen

Actually, the point of my comment is that not all Trump supporters are racist, and how I am making an effort to discern which aspects of a Trump supporter I may or may not like/agree with. Racism is a big one, and KUDOS to what T says – no one’s perfect, and some of us are trying to be better and educate ourselves.

And calling Covid the “Wuhan flu” (a place) is no where near as bad as using a term that connects it to the people (Chinese) or their martial arts culture (kung fu).

I don’ t need the media to relay the dumb shXt Trump says, I just need to listen to his speeches and read his Tweets. And frankly, I’m SO freaking OVER IT.

Sharon G

Yes!

Allie

@Emily Henderson – you might question the wisdom in your post when the people taking your side are defending the Proud Boys as Taylor does above and spewing misinformation about the false threat of socialism, using rejected exit poll data to pretend that Trump’s supporters are diverse, and all the other crazy talk coming through in the comments. Scary stuff. I am going to focus my energy and acts of kindness on the people in this country who are truly oppressed and just came through in this election to keep the door to democracy open.

Yam

Actually, the Spanish flu did not start in Spain. There were apparently cases in Kansas and New York City, but the US didn’t want this to demoralize the war effort. Spain was neutral then, so they didn’t censor it. #funfact 🙂

Some of Trump’s policies seem like they are bad for those of us with minority identities and status–even if part of it is just that they are “cosmetically” bad, meaning even if people were treated the same at the border (which they are not, and Trump did not invent *that difference in treatment, that is for sure!), even if people were treated the same, making statements about Muslim bans is itself kind of upsetting if you are Muslim (and of course, can be even if you are not).

I can definitely agree and as a Dem am shocked at my fellow Democratic Party members short memories, that there seems to be so much obliviousness to Biden’s racism. And (ahem) sexism.

Most of these politicians are really not such great people. I’d definitely not hire any of them to teach kindergarten (or 1st grade on!!).

Eliot

I think supporting Trump speaks volumes about who a person is. If someone feels that mass death and white supremacy are best for their family? That isn’t for me to forgive, as the privileges attendant on being born white, middle class, and an American citizen insulate me from the worst effects of these decisions, and this isn’t someone I want to sit next to at a dinner party. I like to believe that I wouldn’t have been one of the “good Germans” whose preference for civility facilitated the Holocaust, and I won’t be one of the Americans who shrugs while children are ripped away from their parents, unarmed black people are executed in the streets, and hundreds of thousands of Americans left to die prevantible deaths. If that’s incivility, I can live with it.

Lia

Thank you for making this point, I also came here to make it. Would we bake cookies for the Nazi sympathizers in WW2 era Germany? I don’t think so.

J

Trump supporters are not akin to nazi sympathizers….most of Trump supporters are not racist whatsoever. It’s a ridiculous and shallow thing to assume. There are all sorts of people who support Trump. Check out the walk away movement. It was actually founded by a gay man. And why the world do people think rights of minorities or anyone will be removed? I’m so confused…when has Trump ever indicated that? It’s a fear constructed by the media…and this is coming from someone who is not a Trump voter.

Taylor

Thank you for such a wise response to that vile and ignorant comment!

T

Usually individuals who support Trump to try to point out that he himself is not racist or misogynistic is a losing argument. Just like many women campaigned against the right for women to vote. Trump himself is racist, misogynistic, lacks any willingness to listen to others, undermines our democratic institutions, and in general has no empathy because large groups of people are abstract to him. No, the individual Trump supporter might not go around saying “I think women don’t work.” But by voting for him, you support and align yourself with someone who is by all objective accounts problematic.

Mariana Green

If you vote for a racist, that makes you racist.
If a candidate being a racist isn’t a deal-breaker for you, you are a racist.

Yam

So voting for someone who bragged about being to the right of Regan, was proud of being anti-abortion, was famously close with one of the only segregationists left in the Senate, was responsible for the process of the hearing that dismissed evidence in support of Anita Hill’s claim of harassment, etc. for the past 50 years or so—is supposed to make me proud?

Sorry, I can hold my nose and vote Dem all the way down, but don’t expect me to feel superior to those who voted for the other alleged racist.

Fatima

The walk away movement? Brandon Straka? Another tech alt-right supporter hiding in the comments? Emily, come get your alt-right, white supremacist, supporting kids.

Lia

Hear me out, because I’m not saying Trump voters are Nazis. And I am not saying that all Nazis were terrible people who supported the Holocaust. I’m saying, regardless of how nice and kind and non-racist individual Trump voters might be, and for their reasons for voting for him, Trump supporters are making a choice to vote for an administration that has barred people from certain backgrounds from coming into the country when here zero evidence that this is making us safer, has separated children from parents seeking sanctuary in our country and failed to reunite hundreds of them with their families, has limited refugees, truly some of the most vulnerable people in the world (and well-vetted for both health and safety), has reduced access to affordable healthcare for so many, who ignores science and backtracks us from the climate change intiatives we must adopt, has used inflammatory language around race and hesitated to condemn white supremacy, and has been completely undermined the public health response in this country to COVID-19, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and disabilities. And this is only the stuff I can think of off the top of my head, he was impeached, for… Read more »

Eliot

It’s sort of pointless to think of racism as this sinister club that has card-carrying members. We’re all (Americans) a little bit racist, myself included, because we live in a society founded on genocide and slavery. The idea that most Trump supporters have somehow sidestepped the baggage of our national heritage is preposterous on its face and has nothing to do with my point. In fact, I didn’t use the word racist. My point is that Trump supporters are either in favor of or willing to overlook the atrocities of his administration, and that tells me that they are not the kind of people who deserve civility. As to the Nazi analogy? There were many Nazis who didn’t harbor deep anti-Semitic or anti-Roma sentiments in their hearts; they just didn’t find the ghettoization, imprisonment, and eventual slaughter of these groups to be deal-breakers. Somehow people find the mention of Nazism more offensive than the permanent separation of babies from their mothers. But if you’re comfortable with a policy whose explicit purpose is to traumatize the most vulnerable population imaginable–at least comfortable enough to look the other way as long as your boss’s marginal tax rate is a little lower–at what… Read more »

Ava

There’s an interesting documentary about a black musician named Daryl Davis who has spent the last 30ish years befriending members of the KKK. The result? He has changed the heart of over 200 of them. Just imagine if there were more people like him…
https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/15/us/charlottesville-klansman-black-man-meeting/index.html

Lisa

Thank you for this post, and for reaching out to your neighbors. I’m moving to a red state in the nearish future and have wondered whether I should put up yard signs (because I desperately want to be friends with my neighbors). I might steal your approach — put up the signs that say what I believe, but also reach out to everyone, and especially the people who seem to be disagreeing with me.

Tiffany Stark

I appreciate your vulnerability here so much Emily. I voted for Biden as well, and have been struggling with my feelings towards Trump supporters too (namely my mother). I don’t have the answers, but I do know an act of kindness is never the wrong choice. Xx

Loved this, thank you. Have so many good and kind family members who vote for Trump and I hate hearing influencers bash Trump voters. Everyone has different reasons and experiences that inform their vote and the whole point of America is that we get to have different opinions. I also think that telling someone what they believe is wrong has won over exactly ZERO percent of the opposition throughout history and also is Mr. Trumps main tactic. So…why do it? All the best to you, here’s to us as a country learning and growing and uniting despite differences in opinions.

Ellen

I appreciate your post. If people are afraid of change they should do some reading and investigating what those changes would be and why are they afraid of them. Especially about climate change for example. I just can’t be there with Trump supporters because it’s about (like you said) moral and values and humanity.

Ellen

I appreciate your post. When people are so afraid of change, maybe some reading, talking and investigating will explains some more about what they’re afraid of? For example concerning climate change?? I’m not there with the Trump supporters because for me it is (and you said that too) about moral, decency, humanity…….

Julie

Wow. Thank you. This was a such a powerful post. Feeling some similar things lately.

Ella

Had I read this before Election Day, I would have been persuaded to vote against trump. Truly it’s writing and dialogue like this that’s missing and causing a lot of people to vote republican. I believe if people saw more of this, they would be voting differently.

Gwen

@ Ella a legitimate and non-judgemental question here. I’m not American and therefore obviously didn’t vote. Why would this have changed your vote? Do you really feel that democrats or anti-Trump voters don’t have basic empathy, decency, love their neighbours? What do you find is missing in your neighbourhood or interaction with people of other political or ethical beliefs that keeps you from switching your vote, if this story was enough to have potentially made that happen?

Alexis

I had the same question/confusion.

Rusty

You kniw, from watching from the other side of the world, ut looks like many DO NOT!
It’s literally dependent on skin colour, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, whether you own a gun, whether you wear a face mask…the list of criterion to qualify for love is endless.

You are such a good person – and I have ALL the feels as a parent with young kids (and have felt and done exactly what you have with my 7.5 year old). But this is such a good perspective and so admirable.

Kp

Nope. The only good thing about having neighbors fly a trump sign is that at least you have for warning of racism, bigotry and xenophobia.

Tracey

See, its also comments like this that cause division.

Catherine

I think your Biden sign must say “myopic,” “judgmental” and “closed-minded.” Seriously people, just stop.

sonrie

Thank you for a gentle reminder for neighborliness. I think that a lot of people forget that it’s not even about the candidates themselves, but an underlying web of political machines and media with goals to create deeper divisions.

Sarah

Thank you! I couldn’t agree more.

Hi Emily! Thank you for writing this. I have been having all these same feelings and didn’t know others were too. While I don’t yet have children yet, I do have family, best friends, colleagues, and clients who will be voting for Trump. I’ve been feeling so angry lately; I know it’s not directly towards them. It’s so much more complicated than that and this narrative and your situation gave me a bit of outside perspective. I live in a tourist bubble town (Manchester, VT) in a blue state with many red friends and family. Thank you! Thank you!

Kaylee

Thank you so much for being brave and posting this. Such a very, very good and important reminder.

Kori

Thank you for being so open and honest. It is so interesting hearing your point of view. I live in the Deep South, and don’t know if I can name one person I know personally that voted for Biden. When we pass a house with a Biden sign (literally I can say it’s 1 house in my entire city) we give it a double take. What I can tell you is that we aren’t filled with hate, aren’t homophobic, bigots or racist. We are educated professionals who do our research and vote our convictions. Most of us love Jesus. We love our country, we love our friends and our neighbors big. We love those who disagree with us. We don’t spend our time protesting, marching or ranting on social media. Maybe that’s why we’re so misunderstood and misrepresented in the media. My point to this post is to say, we aren’t voting out of fear. We know the world will go on no matter who wins. If you are living in fear of who wins this election, you’re placing way too much importance on this election. Every four years this happens. Someone’s candidate doesn’t win. The other side thinks the… Read more »

Tracey

So well said.

Sonja

Hi Kori. For the privileged life goes on. But this, and every, election has very real impact on our fellow citizens. Trump has eroded the protections of so many of our friends and family. So while your friends and family might be there tomorrow that is not the case for everyone. It does matter, deeply.

Edith

Most educated professionals vote Democratic, studies show. So it’s confusing why you and are your Deep South neighbors vote for Trump??
I have to agree with Sonja. But I would go even further. Trump and his supporters ARE hurting the lives of us white, privileged people. For one thing, he raised my taxes, took away protections of my environment, and may take away my adult children’s health care. He doesn’t just discriminate against Black people, migrants and women, although those are among the worst things he does.

Edith

And oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that he’s endangering my family’s lives by encouraging followers not to wear masks.
This doesn’t mean that I call people names or yell at them. But do I think Trump supporters are culpable for endangering my family: yes.

Sonja

Yes, Edith! I completely agree. People must be held accountable for their choices and the harm those choices cause.

Joe

So why vote for do you him? You didn’t say.

Joe

So why did you vote for him? You didn’t say.

Maggie

So I don’t understand how loving neighbors, friends, and family is something that belongs to Trump voters. I think you unfortunately are believing a media misrepresentation of Democrats. Protesting for those you love and care about is important though, and you can decide to protest because you love your family and friends and care about how they are treated in this country. What are your convictions? How could you vote for someone that is against minority rights, lgbtq rights, and women’s rights and call yourself a Christian. Trump is not a typical Republican and does not represent the neighborliness that you seem to value so much. Your vote is one that supports hatred, so maybe you should re-evaluate if you are really sticking to your convictions.

Rusty

The fact that Republican politicians voted for Biden and launcged campa0against him and the entire world is aware of tgat, speaks volumes.
He isn’t a Republican.
He’s an egomaniac narcissist.

T

For the privileged, life goes on…I live in a country that has completely handled COVID. Which the US could have done but didn’t because our president is not presidential.

You might not think you’re filled with hate. And most likely you and others like you fall in the “hold our nose and voted for Trump.” But in the end, it means that you did vote for someone who was racist, who had no empathy, who caused the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Americans. Maybe you did it because you’re pro-life or because you want conservative judges. Whatever the reason, it means you also decided those reasons were enough to overlook the racism and arrogance and complete lack of human decency this man has shown. Regardless of your reasoning, you voting for him supports all of these things. And it means that supporting a person with integrity wasn’t important enough.

People who voted for Trump just need to own that fact.

Rusty

Well said. On point.

Rusty

The world Will go round no matter who wins.
Isn’t it important that it spins evenly and not with a warped wobble to uts axis??

LouAnn

What hypocrisy: “We love those who disagree with us.” You voted for Trump who has made clear on Twitter every day for four years that he does NOT love those who disagree with him. He does NOT love his neighbor. All he does is rant on social media.

You voted for someone who does the opposite of everything you claim you stand for as a Christian. You are a hypocrite.

Elisabeth

You can’t say you love people and then vote for politicians who will actively harm them.

Elisabeth

(Kori — not you, LouAnn. Not sure why this posted as a reply to you.)

Karen

The PINNACLE OF PRIVILEGE as defined in 2020:
“We know the world will go on no matter who wins.”

You are so blessed! I hope you sleep well at night, snuggled and kept safe by that blanket of supreme privilege. While others may lose their health insurance, while children are long lost and separated from their parents (who came here looking for safety and help!), while people of color continue to face daily racism, while others have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and that pandemic continues to rage out of control (and thus will continue to suffocate our economy), while our natural earth shrivels away from us because of thdamage we have done.

But not for you. You are so blessed. Revel in that.

GJ

This comment is what saddens me about our situation. You say to love each other and be kind to each other …but do you mean to ALL OTHERS? Because for many people, this election WILL change their lives. For people who need health care or abortions, for black people or other people of color who want to be able to safely leave their homes, for LGBTQ people who want the same rights you enjoy. This administration is actively trying to do away with these rights…but it’s fine…because it doesn’t affect you. So not sure how voting for Trump is being kind to others.

Amy

I live in coastal NC, and I was born and raised in SC- but my parents are not from the US. I wonder, how many of your friends/family are black or brown? How many LGBTQ folks are in your circles? You need to widen them if you don’t know anyone who voted for Biden. I don’t know how you can say you are an educated professional and circle in Trump on a ballot. He stands for everything that is vile, ugly, discriminatory and he is certainly not a Christian. How he kept your vote is truly beyond me- I really don’t understand. Every day, here in NC I can drive by masses of folks waving Trump flags and yelling at passers by. It’s disgusting and disheartening. I’m sorry to my black and brown friends, and all my beautiful LGBTQ loves. We need to do better. “Good” Christians cannot hide behind their morals and then vote for a candidate that spreads hate and incites divisiveness wherever he goes. Without a mask mind you. Our country is struggling with science, and FACTS because our president has too big of an ego to listen to anyone. If you’re not living in at least… Read more »

Ellen

Kori, how are you doing your research? I am not asking in a snarky way, I am genuinely interested, and would like to read some of what you is informing your opinions. I appreciate that you love those who disagree with you, and would like to know how that love is expressed. Perhaps your engagement here is a part of that? I am glad you commented. An earlier comment-er mentioned the Conservatives in her life are some of the most generous people she knows and I don’t doubt it for a minute. But your assumption that family and friends “will still be there” misses the reality of this year entirely. So, so many have lost family and friends to Covid, and tragically to suicide, or to police actions. With the mounting Covid case numbers, more deaths are coming. I think Progressives are fearful – I know I am – because so many Trump supporters are armed, and Trump continues to approve of the tactics of bullying and intimidation. This administration has been cozy with authoritarians (Kim Jung-Un, Tayyip Erdogan, Rodrigo Duterte, Narendra Modi, Viktor Orban, and of course Vladimir Putin), has been threatening to the press, and has isolated the… Read more »

J

While I think you truly mean well, I hope that you will read this comment and take it to heart. People who are not white have to fear who wins elections. One party in America fights to rob non-white people of their vote (think shutting polling places in minority communities), their rights (think limiting gay adoption), access to their families (think the Muslim ban), and more. If you’re a Muslim immigrant your friends and family are nit always there—they may have been banned from traveling here. Your life probably does remain relatively unchanged by elections but your perspective is not everyone’s perspective. I too love America and my neighbors bigly and that’s why I protest in the streets—for the rights of my neighbors.

Isabelle

The thing is that life DOESN’T go on for the 238,000 Americans who have died from COVID, or the victims of police brutality, hate crimes, domestic terrorism, family separation…the list goes on. If you loved your country you WOULD be voting out of fear, as well as hope – fear for the lives of your fellow Americans, and hope for a better future.

Maggie

Thank you for sharing this! My husband and I and all our siblings voted Biden, but we have many friends and family that support Trump. My husband and brother-in-law in particular have spent a lot of time talking with friends and family about why we made the decisions we did, and I hope hope, at minimum, they understand our reasons. Despite some frustration and despair, both my husband and brother-in-law have remained kind and respectful. I know it’s tough sometimes, especially when it feels like so much is at stake, but kindness and respect are so important!

RR

Someone else said it very well–acts of kindness are never wrong.

Jessa

Hey Emily, a great post. I just want to add something unrelated to politics – as you try and be kinder/more empathetic to other people, please extend yourself the same grace. You are worth your own kindness. Reading your thoughts about being a bad parent because your kids have yelled ‘boo Trump’ or that you feel like a ‘shitty person’ (from one of your replies) makes me really sad. You can regret not doing more reaching out, you can make mistakes, be flawed, like everyone is, but you are still good and still worthy of love and compassion. I read something once that if you are worrying about whether you are a good parent, then you are already a good parent. I think think you can change ‘parent’ to ‘person’ in that sentence.

Jamie

You did a good thing with your kids. Showing your kids your vulnerabilities and doing something about it is really what parenting is about. Good for you! 💓

M

The cookie letter made me cry. So touching and truly the right thing to do. We can’t fight hate with hate. And the closer we are to people with whom we disagree, the closer we can get to finding a better road. Also, I encourage you to watch The Social Dilemma. It helps explain why we are so bitterly divided.

I want to bring you cookies, seriously.

Teri

A while ago you stated one problem you had with a certain religion was that it was run by a”bunch of old men”. Joe Biden is as old or older than some of the very men you accused of being too “old”. I just wonder why its ok for an old man to possibly run a country but not a church?

We ARE all Americans, and neighbors, thanks for the reminder.

Jessa

What does this have to do with anything???? I swear some people just have to pick, pick, pick

Teri

Asking to understand a statement is not “picking”.

Rusty

Um, Trump is old too!?!

KM

Because he ended up being the party choice. Many of us voted for others! I’m still sad we didn’t have a Warren/Castro ticket!!! Dems were scared and picked the safe choice, but baby steps I guess…

Lynn

I appreciate your effort to understand Trump supporters. We all know he’s far from perfect. Personally I wish he would just think more before speaking. But I do live in a country that doesn’t value human life. Abortion is killing innocent babies each year. As a christian I can’t vote for that. But I still love America. It is hard to see the other person’s view. We all can do better.

Cait

And yet, time and time again, democratic policies (health care, education, access to birth control, social services) have been shown to decrease abortion rates.

Kara

I hope you voted Democrat then because abortions go down under Democratic policy. This is a fact.

I agree that under the current administration, we live in a country that does not value human life (see COVID). I simply can’t vote for that either.

Maggie

What about carrying about humans after they are born? I think you should look into how much hate and violence Trump has incited. He had emboldened white supremacists. He has separated migrant children from their parents. He doesn’t think black lives matter. He has shown time and time again that he does not value human life. It must be nice just getting to focus on one issue instead of trying to see all the ways humans are suffering in this country because of Trump and because of one issue voters who don’t value life after birth.

Edith

The country does value human life (at least some). People pick and choose, don’t they? Some say yes to zygotes and no to Black people and migrants. How can people who identify themselves as Christians not care about those people ?

T

I respect your belief about abortion but the question remains. All life is precious. So how do you reconcile that with supporting someone who has clearly discarded life? From politicizing scientists’ advice to prevent the spread of a disease to separating children at the border to the lives of minorities.

This is what people mean when they say Trump supporters don’t do their research. Saying you’re pro-life makes you a single issue (abortion) voter. It does not make you a voter based on a principle (the sanctity of life) and really, it doesn’t make you a well-informed voter just based on the statistics of abortion rates based on policies. Is the goal to not reduce abortions to zero?

Caitlin

Hi Lynn! I absolutely hope you voted for Biden then! When democrats are in office abortion rates go down, always. So it would be very hypocritical and interesting if you voted for trump. I’m sure you’re also very concerned about the children post birth (hopefully!), such as the ones Trump’s policies tore from their mothers and fathers. And have yet been able to reunite, a national shame and crime against humanity.

Katie Chapple

Thank you for speaking up! I do have the same question as those who responded earlier – respectfully – for single issue voters, such as pro-life, you’re essentially allowing one significant aspect of an election guide all of your choices. As such, do you do research in proportion to the importance of this decision? Do you follow the thread of “if this happens, then this…” five times to really understand the impact of the one single issue you are hinging your extremely significant decision on?

Could you help me understand how hinging your vote on pro-life is actually helping your stated first priority? I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this for a while. If it helps, google scholar will take you to the actual published studies / data completed by scientists, with independent peer review (rather than any news article, which I would imagine you would consider biased).

You might be interested in looking into Arnold Kling’s the Three languages of politics. It’s been a really useful framework for me to consider when it seems like we’re all talking past each other on priorities and values. Jonathan Haidt’s work on the 5 moral foundations is also useful for understanding different political choices.

Atiya

I second the recommendation of Jonathan Haidt’s book on moral foundations theory (“The Righteous Mind”). It helped me crawl out from deep despair after the 2016 election. A research-based view of the human mind is what we liberals need to advance progressive ideals. A white liberal reaching out to white conservatives with cookies is exactly the kind of step that is *effective* for advancing liberal causes, as much as it might seem nauseating to BIPOCs. Your intuition is so right. I think this book would help you ground your epiphany in social science research. Thanks for doing the work, Emily.

Catherine

Thank you both for these recommendations. I’m going to look into both of those books as I try and process my incomprehension of those who are acting from a completely different set of priorities. Rage and despair are not working for me…

Sindhu

Omfg THIS. As you said in a comment below the division of America is what’s the most heartbreaking out of these four years. As a 16 yo who spends a good while online, I can’t tell you how bad it is to see such hatred for people on opposite sides, almost nobody seems to be trying to heal the wounds … I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life in a country that seems to have nothing connecting all of us. This is EXACTLY what I needed before this stressful night. A reminder that we are all Americans and that we should try to empathize with each other despite political differences. Thanks so much Emily, it’s so amazing to see someone trying to bring us together rather than drive us apart like I keep seeing everywhere.

Rusty

As a 16 year old, YOU can make an enormous difference.
BE the change.

Ann

Saw this and felt inspired to remember our common ground, basic morals, and common work for the benefits of all humans:

“No matter the result of this election, white supremacy will endure, patriarchy will endure, classism will endure, homophobia will endure, transphobia will endure, and more. Make sure your commitment to ending these systems of oppression also endures.” @RaquelWillis_

Wishing this country strength, endurance, and kindness no matter the results of this election.

Joanna

I love this sentiment and effort, and I believe it is what our communities and country need right now.

Friendly thought: may want to blur out your neighbors’ license plate for their privacy (assuming you haven’t altered it).

Chrissy

This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing and shining bright, I’m with you! Loving our neighbors is always a good idea, more than ever.

Emily W

I just want to mention what a privilege it is to be able to try and reach out to your “opposition”. The parents of a good friend of mine are from Mexico. They live in rural Oregon, and their neighbor likes to go shooting his gun while walking down the street to “scare them back to where they came from”. I have no doubt if they tried to take him cookies they would be shot the minute they set foot on the property due to their brown skin.
Peace and unity are privileges. Important work but it is also important to remember the privilege in focusing on it as a task to work on in this moment.

Caitlin

Emily W, that is so shitty and I’m so sorry.

KM

That’s exactly why she should be doing it though, right?! Because others can’t? Acknowledging the privilege and using it to make change where only she can.

Also – your story is terrible. I’m still dumbfounded at situations like this. Don’t be that neighbor. Be a cookie neighbor!

Jenna

Good for you Emily! I voted for Biden and I think you did the right thing. The hatred and name calling will not make America better, only acts of empathy and trying to put ourselves in other people’s shoes will and showing by example is what I believe opens peoples hearts. I never comment on anything, but this was just so lovely.

Lauren

Thank you for sharing your heart. The internet (and our country) needs more of this. One of my greatest fears is that God is ripening our country for judgement and I often catch myself praying a lot of times “for the best candidate” to win, when in fact I should be praying for “His best for our country” to win. If I have learned anything in my short 29 years of this life, it’s that my idea of what’s best is just a view of the trees. God is sovereign over all things and knows the best for all. It’s funny to think that so many prayers are being lifted up and that all are being answered… it’s just that not all answered prayers are a yes. I have to remember that God is a victorious redeemer and we are in His hands. Ultimately, regardless of how anyone votes, we should aim to look more like Christ, be obedient in our convictions, share our hearts, and pray for the rest. We were not made to be a fearful people. When we let fear drive our decisions, we crash and burn. When we let bitterness let us believe that a person’s… Read more »

Caroline

The goal should not be ending the polarization. The goal should be ending the harm caused by this president, and anyone who supports him is complicit in that harm, too. Sorry, but you were right before you made the cookies and thought that was the right thing for your kids.

B

Your goal isn’t to end oppression by eliminating, through persuasion, support for the oppressors? Wack.

Eve

What a beautiful post! As an outsider, the rest of the world has watched America’s battle with a morbid curiosity. Although this is not my election (we voted last month in NZ) it’s impossible to visit any news site or social media feed without being bombarded with polarising statements of “American Identity”. Some of it is very hard to understand (the idea that guns are some sort of human right or that constitutions can’t simply be updated as we learn more about the world??) But some of it is very relatable and you are right, Luke all prejudice, it’s absolutely about fear. For some reason US media and both of your major political parties seem to have chosen anger and fear as their promotional strategy. Very much you are as a country stuck in an “us vs them” mindset. It was interesting to me that you ended your note with “we are all Americans” rather than “we are all humans”. In 2020, it would so so wonderful if we could all work together in this world, and understand that every country/culture/religion has methods and ideas that are valuable, and we really needn’t have so much distrust and fear of each… Read more »

Eve

Also, one other change I would love to see in politics (worldwide but especially the US) is for people to stop identifying with a party, and instead talk about the POLICY they would like to see. Instead of “I want Biden as my leader, or I want Trump, or I’m a Republican/Democratic etc, start talking about what you want to see your government/country achieve. Do you want healthcare to be state funded, so you want housing to be more affordable, do you want childcare access or maternity support, do you want gun laws changed, do you want to improve the mental health system, more money to the arts, to science, to agriculture. Do you think the university system is working? Do you want the roads to be improved? …
Talk about vision, community support, and the world you want to live in. Because ANY political party/government can achieve those things if the people overwhelmingly support that idea. You don’t need to focus on political alliances in order to share your hopes, wants and needs.

Rusty

P O L I C Y.
Now there’s something that was predominantly lacking on one side of the chasm.

Rusty

Oh, sooo, yes!
NZ is THE only place I’d live other than Aussie.
Mmmwaahhh, Cuz!

Karen T

Thanks, Emily. I read this as I am laying in bed, trying to fight off massive anxiety about the election. Your post really helped to bring that anxiety down a few notches. If we can make an effort to humanize Trump supporters (yes, some are terrible but some have to be decent people, right?) then fear subsides and the door to compassion opens. For my own sanity, I need to believe that there is hope for this country even if Trump wins.

JT

I love you for this.
Thank you.

Susan

I’ve voted for Democrats and I’ve voted for Republicans. I’m gay, yet I’m conservative and pro life. I was married for 13 years and have 3 boys. My brother and my dad were Naval officers, yet I’ve actively discouraged my boys from signing up. I’m deeply patriotic yet anti war. Now I’m not married and have had a partner for 10 years. Im from the midwest yet it’s not the only place I’ve lived. It’s a dangerous mistake to think that people who vote for trump are one dimensional, scared, uneducated, blind, any of the other adjectives used to categorize a person who votes republican.If you met and formed relationships with the folks who have those Trump signs up, you might find that they are complex individuals who really don’t like what is going on in our country. Riding with Biden is like riding in a car whose transmission is going to blow on the interstate. Riding with Trump is risking being driven over a cliff. Yet we have to get in a car to move down the road because reality is, we have 2 choices only. Do both sides have good policies and ideas that can help all Americans?… Read more »

LouAnn

Kamala Harris is more qualified to be president than Trump ever was as a failed businessman, con artist, and reality TV host.

Katie

The Republican party literally did not present a policy platform this election. They essentially said we do not have any policies that we stand for.

Maggie

So I think it’s important to be kind to neighbors, but if politics do come up you should say what you believe and why you believe it. You should question your neighbors’ beliefs too. My mom is the most social person I know and talks to everyone on her block, but she has the hard conversations too. I guess what I’m saying is I understand how building social capital with neighbors is important. Having non-politics conversations is important, and let’s them know you value them, and allows you to have the hard conversations and be heard. I think my mom had changed some hearts and minds on her block. I think this is really only possible though because she is white and privileged, and does not have to fear for her safety when approaching her neighbors.

Hayley Penton

I agree with all of it: the cookies, the anger, the boo-ing, the excessive kayaking to clear your head, the intensity of our privilege, the deep confusion of people ignoring the disgusting qualities of Trump, the tears, and the empathy that is desperately needed. This is being human and aware in a very intense time in our country. We are in process and hopefully will find new depths and new ways to work through it. Appreciate these words and also still resonate more with the anger but know I’m open to the cookies down the road.

Emily

Am concerned that you might have inadvertently put your phone number on the internet…
Thanks for this post. You’re right, his supporters are not him. We need to teach our kids empathy not anger. Noted.

Coral

I found Design Mom’s anti-Trump thread from August enlightening. She took a really hard stance and I get it:

https://designmom.com/the-consequences-of-your-actions/

The whole thing is worth a read but here’s a quote:
“I create content and community for decent people. Do we agree on everything? No. We may debate the best way to educate kids. Or disagree on baby names, favorite books, or suburban vs. urban vs, country living. But I will not make space for you to debate the merits of white supremacy.

You want respect, but your behavior and beliefs are not worthy of respect.

You don’t want to be shamed or mocked for supporting Trump, but you align yourself with people who want to “make liberal snowflakes cry” and who mock anyone who wears a pandemic mask.

Do you think I care about losing you as a follower? I do not. Not one bit. I will actively block you on Instagram if I know you’re a Trump supporter. You unfollowing me doesn’t hurt me in any way. I literally — in the true sense of the word — won’t notice you are gone.

You can’t support Trump and also be a decent human being. You can’t support Trump and earn my respect.”

T

This 100%. A lot of Trump supporters want to say that they’re good people and don’t like Trump’s behaviors, words, whatever. But no. You don’t get to align yourself with white supremacy values and someone who shows no common decency and still try to claim that you’re separate from it all. If you voted for Trump, own your vote and just say common decency wasn’t important enough to you because of X issue. Don’t try to put lipstick on the pig.

Jane

Will Emily be releasing her book next year?
I am really looking forward to it – whoever wins the presidency.

Sophie

This is a wonderful post, Emily. I’m British but our political situation currently is not so vastly different from yours. I am firmly Left, but it has become increasingly obvious to me that Left wing dialogue and rhetoric, especially on social media and from a grass roots place, is hugely damaging the cause. We are scaring people; they feel judged, policed, and (deeply ironically!!) that they will be freer under conservative than liberal rule. It’s madness. We have to radically rethink the way we are communicating our beliefs, we have to stop making it a moral requirement of people to use brand new forms of language invented on twitter, we have to stop being so righteous. We need people to feel that to be a liberal is about being fair, and that’s all. Most people are broadly reasonably good, and if they are hectored constantly about being otherwise, and made to feel that no effort they make will ever be enough, that around every corner is another ethical pitfall and trap to fall into, another possibility of being publicly shamed…then yes, they will vote for Trump. I hope that things will get better from here, whatever happens. Thank you for… Read more »

Caroline

YES YES YES to all of this. Also British, also very left-leaning. I find it utterly *baffling*that the left can’t see how totalitarian its communication has become. I absolutely despise Trump and could not vote for him.
However I absolutely understand why people are also refusing to vote for being hectored and bullied by an inflexible left that honestly reminds me of maoism (public shaming and re-education, anybody?) Again, I absolutely despise Trump and all he stands for, but if he wins I’m blaming an arrogant left as much as anyone else.

Terry

Yes yes yes! This and above EXACTLY. How is this not so obvious to everyone ?? And I am a US citizen

Christen Connell

Boy I could not agree more with this comment. I usually skip Emily’s political posts, not because our politics don’t align but because I find the inability to accept others differing opinions to be absurd and arrogant. You, being the better person, made cookies for your Trump voting neighbors? How insulting. You are not better, you just don’t agree. You will need less hysterical kayak rides once you accept your opinion is not the only opinion and that is okay.

Terry

While I agreed with the other comments above, I think this one (christen’s) is rude and holds the same unforgiving rigid attitude Sophie and Caroline were pointing out. Emily isn’t trying to say she’s better than anybody. This is an honest attempt to open up. And sure, she didn’t “have a conversation” but she opened the door which is the first step.

On one side, nothing is ever enough and opponents are terrible people. On the other side, everyone is an arrogant “woke” bla bla bla and also – terrible people.
Enough is enough. I hope everyone can recognize the importance right now to find center and open their minds. On ALL sides. The majority of Americans, I believe, do fall somewhere in the middle… and are NOT terrible people.

Also, I’d never ever suggest to knock on a stranger’s door and say “ hey! Let’s talk about our differences and let me try to tell you why you’re wrong about everything!” … starting with cookies is nice and neighborly and bravo to Emily for just being kind

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