Yesterday I had a conversation with a man I deeply respect and admire who is voting for Donald Trump.
I asked him to 'make me a better person' by telling me why he supports Trump. I simply don't talk with Trump supporters much. It is a sign of the division in our country that we are, most of us, so isolated from those who disagree with us. I had a stereotype for Trump voters that this friend in no way fit. He is intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate, highly educated and a voice for those in need. How could he vote for Trump, I wondered? So, holding back my opinions, I asked him to tell me.
I was surprised to find that his support for Trump was solely on economic issues. My friend is a fiscal conservative and a social issue moderate. He feels that Trump is a horrible person but trusts he will back fiscally conservative stances. My friend is as disgusted as I am with the tenor of the campaign and even agrees that many of Trump's statements would--if he weren't running against Hillary--prevent him from voting for him.
In the end, my friend said, his vote is as much against Clinton as for Trump.
My hope is that there are many Trump voters that fit my friend's profile rather than the profile of Nationalistic, racist, anti-women, anti-immigration stances I assume people have who will vote for Trump. My friend is not angry or belligerent in any way. In fact, he is a tad embarrassed it has come down to this choice. He will not 'take up his musket' (as one Trump supporter suggested they do if Hillary wins). He will live with the decision of the people and continue to be the admirable man he has always been.
My fears for November 9th outweigh my fears about November 8th.
My greatest fear is that after the election, the United States will be ungovernable.
Talking with my Trump supporting friend gave me hope that my fears will not be realized--that the US will (though deeply divided) BE the country I hope and pray and believe it truly is, in spite of our deep and painful divisions.
I feel better and more hopeful after my conversation with a friend I deeply disagree with.
Maybe such conversations are what we need now, more than ever.
The walls between us as Americans are of our own making. Only we can take them down.
What is needed is for Americans to draw circles to include others rather than build walls to divide us.
And cast your vote with hope....
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