My goal in interviewing women who voted for Trump is to better understand the “other side” and, in so doing, perhaps diminish that which makes “sides.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like the idea of an “us” vs. “them.” If there’s one thing I learned throughout my experience worshiping with thousands of people, it’s that every religion teaches of our essential connectedness, the whole of creation derived from a single source of origin that many call God. It may be human impulse to sow division but the divine, as I understand it, always points to unity.

This project is my attempt to apply the lessons of faith in the secular setting of politics.

The hardest part of this approach, I find, is that it forces me to take responsibility when I’d much rather not. If “us” vs. “them” becomes “we,” then no one is outside the circle. We are in it together, each accountable in our way for all outcomes.

In other words, in this faith-infused version of reality, I can’t foist the blame for anything, much less the Trump-is-president thing, on others. I had to find a way to own it.

I had a couple of girlfriends over for lunch the Friday after the election. We had planned it before the election when my friends and I were certain Hillary Clinton would be the next president, just as the pollsters and pundits were announcing in the news. Now it became a somber affair. I had called it “tea and sympathy” to be funny and then it really was.

One friend in particular was taking the election results hard. She was in disbelief that what she considered hate-filled ideology had triumphed. I had never seen her in such a gloomy frame of mind. She’s an illustrator who draws whimsical scenes, bursting with sweetness and joy. You’ve probably seen her work on greeting cards or tissue boxes. Here she was at my table projecting the opposite of what she creates on paper.

I wasn’t doing much better. Before the lunch, I had spoken by phone with Allison, the subject of my last blog post, who previously voted for Obama. During that conversation my own dark clouds had formed, and now over lunch they rolled in closer.

My friends and I ate with no ready laughs. Attempts to steer the conversation to other topics besides the election were fruitless. The words of comfort we offered seemed feeble. “It’ll be okay,” one of us would say. But no one was convinced, the speaker least of all.

After the lunch, I had a date to call Julie. She was friendly and forthcoming, upbeat compared to my friends. She was born in 1975 and lives in St. Louis. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, and works as an account manager for a large firm. She’s a strong woman—literally, an athlete—who is all for equal rights.

The number one reason she voted for Trump: he’s not a politician.

Here was another relatively young, socially liberal, educated white woman who supported Donald Trump.

Maybe I was hoping Julie would say something to reassure me that what we had done—basically hiring a character from television, and not a particularly benevolent one at that, to run our country—would not result in disaster. Who better to defend Trump against my doubts than a woman, much like myself, who had voted for him? Who better to soothe my worries than a person who was optimistic about our president-elect?

But Julie didn’t try to justify her choice against my questioning. She acknowledged that voting for Trump was a risk. She said, “He could very well mess things up.”

I thanked her, my frustration tempered in the moment by an appreciation for her honesty.

But I hung up feeling grim. I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk to another female Trump supporter, or that I was interested in understanding the other side. My efforts felt like a betrayal to my own heartbroken friends. Maybe in this case, “us” vs. “them” was the only option. If the trade-off was hopelessness coursing through me like poison, I would have to live with that.

18 thoughts on “Julie

  1. I have a feeling that the only way you’re going to be able to apply spiritual unity in this case is to join many evangelicals’ side. You know, the ones who really believe their god has sent tRump as their ‘saviour’. .. which would mean that one could not think too deeply about the issue. Or not at all. Which has apparently happened to a certain portion of electors. 😦

    I haven’t read one iota of enlightenment in any of the stories thus far. In fact, they’ve all convinced me that it’s not that difficult to hoodwink many so-called ‘intelligent’ people. Or is that what you are getting at? 😉

    • Hi Carmen,

      Unfortunately, POTUS DJT is what results when people accept beliefs on the basis of how ideas makes them feel, rather than if the proposal is actually TRUE or not. Most people only seek out ideas which confirm their pre-existing biases, rejecting those ideas which challenge them.

      Unfortunately the GOP has spent the last decade engaging in dirty-tricks politicking at its worst, conducting an 8 Yr $30mil taxpayer-funded smear campaign with single goal of taking out HC. Turns out smear campaigns actually work! Who knew? The GOP!

      We’re witnessing a real-time transition from Meritocracy (learning, hard work, experience, etc) to an Idiocracy, where every persons ignorance is just as valid as a fact-based belief. All to assist the crony kleptocracy of a DT, conducted in the name of #MAGA.

      God help us all….

  2. I think that a key difference between liberal and conservative philosophy is that liberals (of which I am one) want there to be no “us” and “them” and conservatives insist that there must be such a dichotomy. You may be very frustrated in your quest.

    • Hi William,

      I’d just add the Old Testament developed in an “us vs them” Hebraic culture, infamous for seeing outsiders (ie non-Jews, AKA Gentiles) as objects of fear and hate.

      In the Torah, Jews were warned against socializing with foreigners (see Dinah incident in Genesis), much less marrying and having children with them. The idea was driven home even by God prohibiting the wearing of clothes made of fabric which mixed cotton and wool.

      Few Xians realize Moses 10 Commandments apply only to fellow “members of the tribe”, and NOT to Gentiles. Hence the killing and/or slavery of Canaanites, Moabites, etc. and other inhabitants of the “promised land” as depicted in Joshua.

      • Dave, The way I understand it is that the original thinkers were aiming for unity and later interpretations introduced the “us” vs. “them” aspects–proving that humans will do just about anything to strengthen their own identities by creating “enemies.”

  3. I am holding on to the hope that our Congress will temper the president-elect’s rhetoric before it turns into painful and expensive legislation. Still a cockeyed optimist.

  4. I have my friend Tim to thank for finding a way to handle my feelings about Trump’s win. I don’t want to understand the other side. I don’t want to find common ground with “helping us move forward.” I sincerely want to not hate these women and people for foisting their idiocy on me, and that is about it. I was having serious difficulty dealing with my faith, which requires I pray for those who harm me, and this situation, when Tim reminded me in an email that we are supposed to pray that Evil fails. So I now have a way to pray for Trump – my daily prayer is that he, his administration and the Republican party as it now exists fail so miserably that even they will see that new discourse is necessary.

    This doesn’t mean that I think Democrats are perfect. Nothing on this earth is perfect. But the GOP is skirting so close to Fascism that it is terrifying. To be able to pray for my enemies to fail at their Evil at least means I am praying for them, and there is hope that when the stench of Trump is bad enough, sane people will find a way to talk to each other again.

    Here I am again, being honest. Tell the truth and shame the Devil is how my grandmama used to put it.

    With hope…..

    • I’m still trying to figure out how Jesus could admonish his followers to “love your enemies as yourselves”, but only a chapter later go into full-attack mode by railing against HIS enemies, those “woeful scribes and Pharisees”…

      The many paradoxical glib quips of Jesus seem not so far-removed from the irresolvable hypocrisy of DJT.

  5. I was so struck with Julie’s words: ” He could very well mess things up.” Such a cavalier attitude toward the lives of other people. And to the future of Democracy in the U.S.A. “MESS THINGS UP”? WHAT? Does Julie have any glimmer of an idea what that means?

  6. In watching the Rose Parade today it dawned on me that a million Americans created a consciousness of joy and peace in looking at flowers and listening to bands and what their politics or religion is in that moment made no difference. The “them” versus “us” disappeared for two hours. Can Americans do it with politics and religion. I think the majority can. There will always be the fringe “them” versus “us” but I think we can trust the majority of Americans to move into a direction of harmony. Maybe we needed this Trump shake up. We now know how bad it can get and most likely we’ve learned more about the meaning of caucus and votes in ways we hadn’t thought of before but wished we had. We’re a complacent people who would rather volunteer our time and money to care for others than to shake our brains to strategize elections and who we put in charge of them. I venture to say we’ve learned a lot this time around. We’ve given ourselves four years to decide if we’re ready to evolve into a better society. I think we, not “us” and “them” are in for a POW, BANG first year. Are you ready to research the Congressman you’ll be ready to vote for shortly to move things in the direction you’d like the country to take? I voted for Hillary knowing that she certainly was the person with the experience, know how and ability to run the country regardless of what slippery slopes she had glided on in the past. Trump comes with nothing more than a big mouth but look at where it’s gotten him. If we’re lucky we are now AWAKE! what will we do next. The Rose Parade convinces me that we can do a lot in an orderly manner and create a consciousness that satisfies the majority. I hope I’m right. The answer is not in our religion. It seems to be taking a long time to let go. It’s time to transcend our religious thinking and our political thinking and evolve into a clearer way of thinking, negotiating and strategizing to benefit all.

  7. Abraham Lincoln was a politician; JFK was a politician, so were FDR and Teddy Roosevelt. Ever since Reagan’s infamous “government is the problem” campaign slogan, we’ve demonized politics and politicians to the point where an amoral billionaire who should have been tossed on the trash heap of history is going to be president in two weeks, simply because of what he’s not, regardless of his epic incompetence and lack of character. As Merrill said, the flip way Julie said he can screw things up shows just how disconnected people are from the reality of the political world, The GOP has every intention of leaving millions without health insurance so the wealthy can get a tax break. Environmental protections, workers’ protections, voting rights–its all on the table because Julie and people like her want to “shake things up.”

    Like Frank, I wonder where all these people are between elections–how many even know the name of their Representatives, much less would send them a letter or email. One of the reasons people keep voting against their own best interests is because they’re so disengaged, and its much easier to react to trigger issues like terrorism or immigration than to spend some time actually thinking about the issues. Unfortunately, you can’t run a country based in 140-character tweets.

  8. I have to say I do not agree with Julie’s point of view. For the most important political office in the land I want the best, most experienced politician available, even if we don’t share a political party. If I am going to vote for a “non-politician” for a political office it would be for a local office, an entry level political position if you will. The stakes are less and mistakes are more easily rectified with minimal damage/impact at the local level. If I can draw a comparison, Donald Trump does not call his show “The CEO”, he calls it “The Apprentice” because he knows that all the raw talent in the world is useless without experience. I don’t want a president with no political experience anymore than I want an electrician to do my brain surgery.

    • Lori–I agree 100%. Back in the 1950’s, someone asked Robert Taft’s wife if he tried to be an “ordinary” person in the Senate, since he was an Ohioan . At the time, Taft was the senior Republican in the Senate. She said :”Heavens no–Ohio deserves the best person we can send!” My gold standard for presidential behavior is the Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK had to restrain the Russians, the hawks in Congress, and his own military to avoid WW III. Does anyone really think Trump has that kind of foresight and self-control? And have they considered the consequences if he doesn’t?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s