It shouldn’t even be a secret. It should be easy for me or anyone to share something like this with you. Except it isn’t.
Here’s my secret…
I voted for Donald J. Trump. And I’ve been really afraid to tell you. I’m afraid because I’ve heard the shouting. Witnessed the name calling. Seen how Trump voters are being lumped into groups and judged unfairly.
Recently, the shouting has gotten louder. The name calling has gotten worse. The blame is endless and dire predictions continue.
Who did you vote for - Hillary? A third party candidate? Maybe you decided not to vote at all. We had choices, and our choice didn't (and doesn’t) make us bad or wrong or stupid. We just look at this part of life differently.
However, many won't tolerate a viewpoint different than their own. That's why I continued to hide. Trump voters had to hide and had to whisper or we would be shouted down, called names, and bullied.
I’ve been hiding since September, when I decided to vote for Trump. My decision was whispered to very few people and usually only after someone told me that they were voting for Trump. It certainly wasn't something to be discussed out loud. I couldn’t sit in a restaurant and say in a conversational tone, “I’m voting for Donald Trump.”
Post-election, in December, I was lunching with an attorney friend and he whispered to me that he had voted for Trump. I whispered back, “I did too.” And then I said, “Why are we whispering?” We talked about how we still felt like we had to keep it to ourselves - it was our secret.
People whom I considered thought leaders showed their bias post election. It was shocking to read and hear what these “thought leaders” wrote after the election results were in: How shameful this result is. How no one saw it coming. That the sky is falling. “How could this happen??”, they cried.
Maybe no one saw it coming because they only saw what they wanted to see. They only heard what they wanted to hear. They refused to believe people could think differently than they do and still be loving and compassionate.
As I look up, the sky is still in place. The United States is still filled with kind-hearted, loving people.
The shouting is still here, too. And the name calling: people who voted for Trump are uneducated, racists, homophobes, misogynists… these are only a few of the ugly references.
I’m none of those things. I just think about things differently. I think about different issues, and I think about issues differently. After much consideration, I decided to vote for Donald Trump.
And that doesn’t make me bad or wrong or stupid. It means I voted for a different candidate than you did.
I'm still human.
Before writing this, I asked very dear (liberal) friends to share a sentence or two stating how they would describe me to someone who didn't know me. Following are a few of the words they used: compassionate, smart, calm, spiritual, loyal, supportive, adventurous, fearless, vivacious and with a heart of gold.
Do these descriptors no longer apply?
Maybe you'll decide to end our friendship because of what I’ve shared here. Or you’ll no longer be interested in what I say or what I write. Our differences will suddenly be too much for you.
When I stopped drinking alcohol, I knew friendships would change and some could end. By writing about my choice for President (which I’ve found to be much more difficult than writing about sobriety), perhaps friendships will change or end. Yet I’m compelled to write this because, in keeping this secret, I have not been true to myself.
Mitchell Lee Marks recently wrote an essay in The Wall Street Journal entitled Coming Out For Trump. In it, he wrote “[t]his may be hard for some to believe, but watching protesters today call Trump supporters racists and bigots has been nearly as distressing as being told to “die in hell, faggot” 30 years ago.
I can identify with that feeling of distress. That feeling helped me write this. It hurts me when you shout in my face, categorize me, and tell me I’m promoting hate.
Hopefully what I wrote will be a catalyst for conversations between people with differing opinions. I am optimistic.
I am optimistic, too, that you will give Donald Trump a chance.
©Catherine Borowski 2017
Live a wealthy life.
Catherine Borowski, life coach, knows that life can be messy. Though digging into the mess, beauty emerges in the most unexpectedly brilliant ways.