Here We Are, Post Election

December 12, 2016 by NJPainter

Sorry I’ve been away.
The last 4 weeks have been real depressing.
And frankly, I continue to feel a lot of dread.
But it has been an enlightening time too.
Because when the president-elect is as vile as the one we’ve got, it empowers you to be direct with people in your life that you’d usually be more moderate with.

After the election, many of the women I spoke with were baffled not because their political views differed from their fathers, but because their fathers, fathers of daughters, didn’t seemed to be concerned by the total disregard for women’s issues in Trump’s campaign. I shared the letter I had written – ‘To My Dad, Who Voted for Trump’ – with many of them and it seemed to resonate with women, like me, who felt totally stumped.

I think many of us struggle to feel like informed, smart voters and not naive, idealizing leftists in front of our parents. And I think my dad, more than anything, was surprised and proud that I had an opinion I was willing to discuss.

Dad,

I love you, but I wonder what you weighed when you cast your ballot.
I wonder…

Did you consider me when Trump bragged about “grabbing” women “in the pussy?” We’ve never used that word in front of each other before, but the president-elect sure did so here we are.

Did you consider all of the times that I have been cat-called or spoken to as if I were an object or whistled at on a dark street?

Did you consider the future of your granddaughters when he openly rated women’s worth on their sex appeal over and over and over again on the campaign trail?

Did you consider your mentally disabled step-daughter when he explicitly mocked one on TV?

Did you consider how your wife could easily be subjected to the racist, intolerant stigma that he propelled against Latinas?

Did you consider all of us when he denounced Hillary, not for her opposing beliefs but by her gender when he called her a “nasty woman” on a Presidential debate stage?

Did you consider that when we elect a man who conducts himself that way, we allow this to be an acceptable form of behavior?

Did you consider that these aren’t just words? That this is who he is?

I don’t know any part of you that would agree with or approve these specific statements, but I know they weren’t a deal breaker for you when it came to electing a president, and that breaks my heart.

I don’t believe that you have to be responsible for everything your party or candidate says. But these statements were personal, not political.
It felt like he was making those statements directly at me.
And when you voted for him, it felt like you stood by and let it happen.

By electing him, you said, there were more important things to pay attention to.
But how can that be?
I believe these simple statements, which were swept under the rug, are representative of the foundation with which he intends to run our government.
I believe that if he cannot respect women, he cannot respect the country as a whole.
And what kind of President will he be if that’s the case?

I said “I hope I’m wrong” when we spoke about the election results.
And by that I mean:

I hope his insults to humankind were worth the “Christian” values he is bring back to the White House.

I hope someone tells him that women are valuable and intelligent and possess worth beyond their bodies.

I hope that when he assumes the position of president, every decision is based on the betterment of people.

And I hope he realizes that WE THE PEOPLE isn’t just men.

What I don’t mean is that I hope I assessed his character wrong.
I see his character.
I hope that in spite of his character he can work with both sides of the fence.

I disagree with a lot of Trump’s stances. And politically, that’s OK. That’s democracy. But his stance on women was one that I thought we (including you, dad) would put our foot down on.


Hi Ren,
First off, thank you for telling me how you feel. I love you so much and I am so thankful for your willingness to express yourself to me. I’m also really sorry that you feel I let you down.
This has been the most difficult election of my lifetime and I don’t take any of it lightly. There’s a whole lot I don’t know about what it takes to be a good person and do the right thing, and living in a democracy where you get to vote on which thing is best can be really hard, even heart wrenching. But I thank God for that because it forces me to exercise my judgement, discern things as best I can and learn from it.
Here are some things I know:
Every one of us has flaws, Donald Trump has a long list of them and so does Hillary Clinton. All any of us can do is work on becoming better people, and I hope that for both candidates. You listed many, but likely not all of Trump’s flaws. I could do the same thing for Clinton but I’m not going to because then we’d just get into a back and forth about which deficiency is worse and gain nothing but more frustration.
I hate that Donald Trump has said hurtful and crude things and I won’t make any excuses for him. Having said that I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bath water – the “baby” in that scenario is not Donald Trump, it’s my vote. Big issues are at stake and I won’t be a pacifist. It’s also worth noting that more than half of the voters in America voted for him and I can only guess that many of them feel something similar to what I am feeling – dirty but somewhat hopeful. Can you honestly say that you didn’t feel a little dirty voting for Hillary Clinton? It’s also upsetting that many of us who did vote for Trump are now and will continue to be branded as racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, etc. etc. because we dared to exercise our vote and do what we thought was in the best interest of the country given two really lousy choices.

I can forgive Donald Trump (and Hillary for that matter) for saying bad things if he actually stops saying bad things. We’ll see what happens. What has been said is really crappy and my vote is not an endorsement of that anymore than your vote for Hillary signifies agreement with her deceitfulness. Words do matter, but what one says does not provide a full measure of the person. I want to focus more on the future than on the past, on what will be done to improve things. I already know what kind of future Hillary Clinton would bring, at least from a policy perspective, and it goes against almost everything I think is right for our country. Trump is a better gamble for me but still a gamble. I’m hoping that he will do the right things and I’m also hoping that he becomes a better man in the process.

I love you and hope you don’t think too poorly of me.
Dad

Whether or not we can accept and respect the answers, it’s important to say and hear them aloud.

And at the very least, what I think we can acknowledge now is that someone who votes for a hateful, racist, sexist homophobe, isn’t necessarily one themselves.

In the spirit of the holidays (and lots of impending family time) – I’ll leave you with this; the New York Times’ How Could You? 19 Questions to Ask Loved Ones Who Voted the Other Way.

Good luck out there.