On the night of the election, Marianne sat with her two daughters watching the vote results on television. Marianne, born in 1970, lives in San Antonio with her family. Eventually they all fell asleep on the sofa, the TV still going.

Marianne believed with 100 percent certainty that Clinton would win the election. Even in the moments before drifting off with her daughters, she was convinced that somehow the early returns favoring Trump did not provide the full picture and that Hillary would pull ahead. She had voted for Trump, although she preferred other Republican candidates to him. She thought hers was more of a protest vote than a real one.

Marianne is Catholic. Before settling down in Texas, she served in the military, rising to the rank of officer and living the nomadic life associated with that profession. She has a special-needs child. These characteristics are probably the most important contributors to her vote. She required a candidate who would promote a pro-life agenda, honor and protect the military, and come up with a healthcare model that is more affordable than the Affordable Care Act. She says when she was stationed in Australia she admired that country’s universal free health coverage but is unsure if such a system would be realistic here. She felt that of the two candidates, Trump would best represent these interests.

Marianne’s social circle—both online and in person—leans decidedly anti-Trump. The friend she and I share in common is particularly outspoken against Trump.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Marianne wanted to be honest with our mutual friend and everyone else about how she was voting. Silence felt like untruth in that it allowed others to assume her vote was for Clinton. She posted on Facebook what she believed was a respectful explanation of her choice. She wasn’t trying to convince anyone her vote was right; she simply wanted to be transparent.

The comments attached to her post began to roll in. She was called a racist, bigot, and woman-hater—and that was just by her brother. Suffice it to say, many people were unpleased with her. She believes several “unfriended” her because of that post.

She had to search her heart and decide what kind of role model to be for her daughters. She wanted to be the kind of woman who stands by her convictions even if doing so is difficult. She believed a demonstration of being a strong woman is more important than simply casting a vote for a candidate you disagree with because she’s a woman. Still, it is painful for her to realize people she considered friends thought less of her for her honesty or, worse, no longer wanted her in their lives.

Marianne tried to accept that some friends would be lost to her. But a small handful she couldn’t bear the thought of losing. She sent them private messages saying she hoped they could stay friends. She wrote, “All I think of when I think of you is love.” In their replies, they told her not to worry, that they still loved her.

The night of the election, Marianne awoke on her sofa in the wee hours to see the television screen declaring a Trump victory. She says she couldn’t believe her eyes.

A similar scenario played out in my own house. I, too, had gone to bed thinking the results would seesaw toward Clinton, only to check my smartphone at 3 am. I was equally shocked by the headlines in my news feed.

Marianne shook her daughters awake and showed them the outcome. In the privacy of their own living room, they indulged in a moment of celebratory hugs at the unexpected victory. But even in this brief display of jubilation, Marianne was aware that the source of her joy would be cause for heartache among many of the people she loved. Before, hers had been the losing candidate and now he would be president. This shift demanded that she take even greater care in how she handled inter-personal relationships. She would need to dig into her deep reserves of compassion, which was another behavior she could model for her daughters.

Meanwhile, in my home, I set my phone face down on my nightstand and tried to go back to sleep, dogged by a sense that the world outside my bedroom possessed a haunting unreality. I thought of my own family and friends who had voted for Trump. I wanted to find a way back to the love I had for them.

17 thoughts on “Marianne

  1. Well, I cried when I read the results early in the morning on November 9th. My husband was sickeningly shocked as well.

    I’m wondering about these women you’ve been writing about, Corinna. I wonder how they feel now, after realizing that Obamacare is going to be dismantled and probably will kill – yes, I said KILL – many innocent victims. I wonder how they all feel after listening to that narcissistic asshole brag about the crowds (that weren’t there) who listened to his pre-war speech.

    I cannot read anymore tales from tRump’s women, Corinna. I’ll be trashing any further ones that come in.

  2. Before she voted for Trump, and with her current worries about being a role model for her daughters, she should have taken into consideration what kind of role model Trump is for them. Would I leave a daughter alone in a room with Trump? NEVER. I am glad she is trying to deal from a perspective of love and being transparent. What she did was still wrong. Always will be. Unfortunately, some of us will be left to live with her choices.

  3. I think this is a really interesting project. And probably needed. And I’d love to see you check back in with these folks in two years.

  4. Oh, and P.S. Corinna – I hope you marched on Saturday! I was in Halifax, in solidarity with my awesome American friends! 🙂

  5. Unfortunately this is what we’re left with. It’s too soon to really see Congressional action of any kind. We saw American action in the marches which should be sending a message to Congress. We wait and see. We’re in that difficult place where we are saying, “Hurry up and do something!” and we wait. How will America handle narcissism in its highest demonstration. Our culture is partly to blame because much of it has gradually become narcissistic itself and thus has given birth to such a President. Narcissism will either work or terribly implode. I find it somewhat scary. I think Marianne does too especially with the loss of friends and a realization that she has contributed to the scariness using one of narcissism’s tools….manipulation.

  6. Marianne is a perfect example of the price we pay for a total lack of political education in this country. People think you can tinker with the U.S. government like it’s a 1985 Astro-van. Trump is already showing his complete ignorance of government operations, and can do potentially irreparable damage. Her “protest” vote may well doom her children to a dystopian future where they’ll have to claw their way back from late 1800’s Gilded Age social Darwinism. How anyone can consider a Trump vote in terms of a moral life is a mystery to me.

  7. And, yet, I feel like the “moral” factor is a reality for many people and part of my struggle here is wrapping my head around it because if I can’t see it then I can’t really understand the full picture.

  8. I think of all the women you have interviewed so far I have the most respect for Marianne. She looked at the things that were important to her and voted her conscience. I think that is the most you can ask any of us to do. Time will tell if her vote was well placed. I am curious as to why she is concerned about the cost of ACA since, as ex-military, she has access to healthcare.

  9. I always loved reading about your explorations and the comments people made while exploring religion. I learned so much. But i have to say i’m kind of with Carmen on this one. I really feel, i can’t, and won’t ever be able to understand a vote for Trump, other than total sucker and uninformed. Especially a woman that is a mother?? How is that even possible? Anyway, perhaps there is one positive from this election.And that is that it unites us more and we truly begin to understand “people have the power.”
    My interests are much better served in this way and i plan to spend my time marching and educationing myself and protecting the planet and the human race. Sorry to say i’m not interested in understanding the Trump vote. I too, have family that voted for him and i can only continue to have a relationship with them if we stay miles away from this topic.

    • Hi Beck, I understand that it’s not easy to try to understand “the other side” in any situation and particularly not in this one. I think part of what created the result we’re seeing here is the unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of another point of view so that a large group of people felt angry and as if their experiences and opinions weren’t important to those in power. However, this particular project won’t last forever…I’m over half way through.

      • Unfortunately, Corinna, sometimes there really aren’t two sides to a story. There just isn’t a way to morally justify voting for someone who is so obviously lacking any kind of moral center himself. How does Marianne feel now, after a week in which he’s wasted energy debating the size of his inauguration crowd, implementing a media blackout at the EPA, threatening the press, and now wasting taxpayer money on a witch hunt for non-existent illegal voters? Like Carmen and Beck, I can’t understand why someone would vote for Trump because itself is objectively indefensible on any moral, ethical, or patriotic level.

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