You break my heart.
Since 2016, I confess: even though we’re all supposed to “go high” and to try to see both sides and to understand that different people have different ideas about what makes a good leader and to listen to everyone’s voice because everyone’s voices deserve to be heard—I know and believe that. But deep down (and probably not so deep down, especially in my private conversations) I have held contempt for trump voters.
I confess: I do not understand how anyone can think he is good for the country. I am still astounded that a reality-show conman is the president of the United States. I still feel like I am living in the wrong chapter of a choose-your-own-adventure story. Honestly, I find it disgusting that people can believe a person who makes fun of disabled people and thinks that white supremacists are upstanding citizens and denies science and destroys butterfly habitat for a pointless wall (and thinks that building walls is a solution) and doesn’t have time for books, who stands in front of the country every single day to lie about everything he can, even inane issues he doesn’t need to lie about—it disgusts me that people think this is OK.
I’ve tried to keep my small, judgmental thoughts to myself. But, you know? The other smallminded people don’t mind sharing their opinions.
“trump’s my man!” the mom of one of Kaleb’s friends told me shortly after the election. “He’s getting all those lazy unwed moms off welfare.” (This was a short-lived friendship.)
“That man is doing great things for our economy,” many, many men have mansplained to me on Facebook.
“At least he’s preserving our religious freedom,” more than one church member has said.
“Nah, he’s right,” a friend astounded me by saying. “All the hype over the environment is just fear mongering.”
Library patrons, church members, neighbors, friends, strangers at Costco…it isn’t my imagination. People—actual adults—think he is OK. They aren’t even embarrassed to think he’s just fine, while I’m over here struggling with shame that I think they are morons. And trying to convince myself that if I could see both sides I could somehow heal the rift, at least between people in my actual life.
Maybe it’s time to realize that there isn’t much I can do. Republicans are going to republican. They’re going to continue thinking that voting suppression is fantastic and that taking away women’s rights is a great idea and that destroying the ACA is just fine because, after all, it was pushed through by a black man. I can wave my arms and write my blog posts and raise my eyebrows in disbelief but none of that is going to stop them from being who they are.
And until recently, I held on to the belief that this is a Republican issue. That small-mindedness and the overwhelming desire to look backward for an image of how our country should be (“make America great again” really means “make America white again”; it means going back to that 50s ideal when wives in pearls and dresses scurried around at home making sure dinner was ready for their husbands when they walked in the door, when Black people knew their place, when gays stayed properly in their closet and, of course, when all the Mexicans were still in Mexico) belongs squarely on the red side of politics.
But the Democratic primary is making me think otherwise.
It’s making me think that maybe my sister Suzette was right. “It’s not just Republicans who are slime balls,” she’s reminded me more than once. “It’s all politicians.”
Except…I’m not really heartbroken by politicians.
I’m heartbroken because of voters.
I’m devastated that once again, our choices will come down to old white men.
I’m so tired of old white men ruling the world. Definitely the current president—I’ve been tired of his type of new-money trashiness and stupid wealth for all of my adult life. But all the senators too, blocking bills and putting narrow-minded judges into courts. Governors like Utah’s stroking the back of the dominant religion and selling our state to oil and property developers. Even the mayor of my little town is an old white man, one who swirls his finger around in his retirement funds and redecorates his office.
But over and over and over and OVER, we just keep voting for old white men.
And of course, the old white men are just going to keep showing up and consuming everything and ruling the world. Why?
Because America elects them.
“Hilary couldn’t beat trump,” someone told me yesterday, “so people won’t vote for a woman because they don’t think a woman can beat him.”
Is this true? Even though Elizabeth and Amy and Kamala aren’t Hilary?
Biden isn’t Obama.
Bernie isn’t Roosevelt.
But Biden says “I’m an Obama Democrat” and we all line up to vote for him?
Obama bailed out the banks. Clinton was a sexual slime ball. The Bushes got us into unnecessary wars.
The litany of trump’s mistakes and failures is legion.
Over and over, old white men—and, OK, at least Obama was black—have done damage to our country.
And yet over and over, we just keep electing them.
America: isn’t it time for something different?
Can’t it be, at last, the time when we can look forward? When we can grow up and let go of our prejudices and narrowmindedness?
If not now, when?
“Did you vote for Elizabeth Warren just because she’s a woman?”
That is the question I asked myself yesterday, over and over. Partly, no. I voted for her because she took on Bloomberg in the debates. And because she had actual plans. And because her health—physical and mental—seems much stronger than Bernie’s and Biden’s. Partly, yes. My first choice already dropped out, so I went with my second choice. I know enough of feminism to understand that this is what people hate about feminism; they think that it’s about prioritizing women over men. If you also have studied feminism, you know that at its core it is about equality, and we have to call it feminism because it is women—not men—who have to fight for every scrap of power.
I voted for Elizabeth Warren because Bernie terrifies me and because Biden can’t remember the position he’s running for or the, you know, the “thing” (ie the Declaration of Independence). And because Bloomberg is terrifying in an entirely different way. And because while I disagree with her stance on health care, I agree with almost all of her other plans, and because I think she would stand a better chance at helping to heal America’s divisions (Bernie certainly will not do this; Biden might but only if he can remember what he’s doing).
And, yes: I also voted for her because she’s a woman.
And it breaks my heart, America, that you can’t do the same.