Recently, I wrote a blog called To Those Who Don’t Look Like Me, pledging my physical, financial and vocal support in the wake of this hate-filled election. This version is for those who don’t vote like me (or at least didn’t for this election), specifically those who voted for Trump:
To those who don’t vote like me, it’s okay. I’m not here to convert you to my party, patronize your political choices or even understand your reasoning. We are allowed to vote (if we vote at all) for anyone, whether that be a major candidate, third-party underdog or Harambe.
To those who don’t vote like me, I don’t think you’re a racist just because you voted for Trump. You’re probably in the majority of Trump supporters who don’t celebrate white supremacy and commit hate crimes. In fact, I think there’s a very good chance you’re not a hateful person just because you’re conservative. But I still have a few requests:
To those who don’t vote like me, please do not try to justify blatant racism. Do not make excuses for Trump. Do not let those words normalize. Do not accept a petty, years-long crusade to discredit President Obama’s citizenship. Do not expect liberal citizens and politicians to work with Trump and the GOP after eight years of historical obstruction.
To those who don’t vote like me, think of how frustrated you get when liberals say “all Trump supporters are racist,” and try applying it to another group: Muslims. Just as you are likely one of the many non-white supremacist Republicans, not all Muslims are terrorists. The overwhelming majority of Muslims are not out to harm America.
To those who don’t vote like me, imagine being an immigrant fleeing a war-torn country. Wouldn’t you go to the place you’ve always been told is “The Land of the Free?” to pursue a better life? To pursue the “American Dream?” Might you try to bypass legalities too, if it was a matter of life or death? Might you hope for some sympathy?
To those who don’t vote like me, do not allow other Trump supporters to harass minorities and women. Do not pretend that harassment isn’t occurring at a higher rate since the election. Do not victim-blame those who are being affected.
To those who don’t vote like me, you are probably white. Acknowledge your natural privilege. Do not let someone else deal with the ramifications of that privilege. Do not let it slide when black families in rural, conservative areas are waking up to KKK flyers on their doorsteps. Do not turn the other cheek when you see hate crimes occurring. Report such hate to the SPLC.
To those who don’t vote like me, check your sources. We’ve all fallen victim to fake news, but finding something you want to hear does not make it a fact. Do not defer to obviously biased publications and label anything contrary to your personal beliefs as “crooked, mainstream media.” Do not be misled by Breitbart News’ cherry-picking of climate change information from The Weather Channel. Use Google. Use Snopes.
To those who don’t vote like me, force your President to adhere to the Constitution. Demand that he abandon his conflicts of interests and put his business assets in an actual blind trust. Do not allow him to meddle in the job market, and if he does, do not allow him to exaggerate the positive impact of it. Make Trump answer for repeatedly stiffing small business owners.
To those who don’t vote like me, do not take his hypocrisy. Be outraged that Trump has appointed billionaires, donors and Goldman Sachs veterans to prominent positions. Be annoyed that a leading Secretary of State candidate resigned as Director of CIA for sharing classified information.
To those who don’t vote like me, rally against your President’s threatening Twitter habit. Make him realize that targeting anyone who opposes him, however kindly, is tyrannical. That his influence is dangerous when used in that way. That it can literally get people killed.
To those who don’t vote like me, if you live in a rural white county somewhere and rarely interact with minorities, burst your bubble. Black people, gay people, Muslims and other people you may not have met – they’re not scary. Go meet them and see for yourself. Better yet, openly converse with them. You’ll survive.
To those who don’t vote like me, put your money where your mouth is. Do not say “I voted for Trump, but don’t support the things he’s said” unless you actually show it. Prove that yours was not a vote like many others, implying that overlooking his hateful rhetoric towards women and minorities was acceptable.
To those who don’t vote like me, if you don’t get the drained swamp, jobs, or national security you really voted for, be angry. If you get swindled, like so many others have, be outraged. If you get an administration that reneges on their promises, or takes away people’s basic rights, don’t act surprised. Then be livid.
To those who don’t vote like me, if Trump’s prejudices weren’t significant deal breakers for your vote – if you valued his role as a political rogue or believed in whatever semblance of his policies you could find clearly explained – fine. But do not let him get away with being prejudiced. Force him to focus on the promises he made. Force him to “make America great again.”
To those who don’t vote like me, I’m not mad at you. I don’t agree with you, but I understand you probably didn’t vote for Trump to purify the white race. I know you’re almost surely a decent, intelligent person. But your vote did, whether you like it or not, also endorse Trump’s words.
To those who don’t vote like me, hold your President accountable.