Sherman: An open letter to Trump supporters
Dear Trump supporters,
I didn’t vote for Trump. I am for abortion rights and pro-socialized medicine. I think welfare programs are for the betterment of society, and I hug trees if left outside for too long. I also don’t think you’re an idiot, a racist or a misogynist because you vote differently than I do.
While the Affordable Care Act repeal bill was set to go to the floor for a vote, I was on a plane. For three hours, I wasn’t connected to the news or social media and didn’t have to feel like a democrat or a republican.
Then we landed.
Within minutes, the cabin was abuzz with the vote’s cancellation and the “failure” of the republicans from some seats and the “stupidity” of the democrats from other rows. I smiled just a bit. I had to. Regardless of political leanings, it was a relief to see my fellow Americans engaged in the conversation.
I’m old enough to have voted in the 2008 election, and I can’t remember a time when people have been as involved in the goings on in Washington D.C. as they are now. The top trends on Facebook are political. The hashtags trending on Twitter are current news stories. For better or worse, we are paying attention to what’s happening in our country and what today’s choices might mean for the future. There’s a conversation taking place. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly polite conversation.
That’s why I want to direct my words to those who voted for and/or still support Donald Trump. I disagree with some of your political views. That’s it. That’s all. Why is that disagreement cause for partisan votes that leave our government gridlocked? You think one thing and I think another. And even in that, we agree on more issues than those in congress seem capable of admitting. I support the troops, value the Constitution, support the Second Amendment – as well as background checks, restrictions for domestic abusers and the mentally ill, and an electronic database – and am in favor of religious freedom. But the conversation doesn’t end there.
I support responsible government spending, and I worry that we currently have an administration spending half-a-million dollars a day in order for the first lady to stay in NYC. I support the troops, and I am concerned that at a time when the greatest threat to national security is global warming, we have an administration that cuts funding to the EPA and a president who said global warming was a hoax. I support bringing jobs back to the Midwest and rural areas across the country, and it concerns me that the hostility toward Mexico may result in trade restrictions that will primarily impact the midwestern states.
I don’t agree with you, but I am listening. I’m not convinced I’m right and you’re wrong. I’m not blindly aligning myself with blue or red (sidebar: I’m colorblind so that’s rather difficult for me anyway). Consider this an olive branch or a cold cider. (Seriously, what does an olive branch even look like and why is that still the go-to peace offering? Cider, folks.) This is me offering a cold cider and asking if we can continue this conversation over a drink.
As the flight began to offload in Boston – a city so ripe with history that a cup dipped in the harbor is best served with milk and sugar – I heard people debate the merits of the bill with those beside them. I heard people question what will happen with their premiums and what the future of healthcare in the U.S. may look like. This conversation is happening, and I need your opinions just as much as I need my own.
M. Esther Sherman
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