I’ve really been trying to listen to the people voting for Donald Trump, as I so want people to do for me and my perspective. I recognize the media is probably giving a skewed perspective, just as they do when members of the black community express their frustration, anger, and disappointment in a system that has oppressed them for far too long. I don’t say that to excuse anyone’s behavior. I say it to tell you that I understand there is always more than one side to every story.
It’s been difficult for me to find anyone willing to say they’re voting for Donald Trump, and there are probably many reasons for that, including some of the things I’ve said about this current election. If my words have made you feel shut down, I apologize.
Since I can’t find anyone willing to talk, I’ve had to dig. I have no first-hand accounts, and I wish I did. Everything I’ve read about the people voting for Trump is from a person postulating about what might be going on, so I’m still not getting any input directly from Trump supporters. But, I am starting to understand that there’s a group of people who have felt left out for a while and, if I believe what I say I believe about everyone being worthy of love and our need to be united, then I need to pay attention. It doesn’t matter if I agree with their assessment of the situation. What matters is that there are people who feel they’re being overlooked, and they are voting for the person they believe is paying attention to them. I want to understand that part of this story. The part that isn’t being told.
For many people, it’s scary to watch Trump’s continued rise in the polls and his winning of primaries and their electoral votes. But, I’m reminded of the fear so many expressed when Barack Obama was running for President. During those elections, people expressed their concern that President Obama would ruin the country, that he was a racist, and worse. It’s the same fear, but from a different group of people.
So, I’m working on slowing my roll. I’m searching for people who will let me listen in as they talk about why Trump appeals to them. I’m pressing beyond the rhetoric and the violence and the baiting and the coded language, as uncomfortable as it may be, to sit at the table — or maybe stand in a corner — and try to really hear what’s being said. This is who I say I am. This is where I believe the gospel invites us, or, maybe I should simply speak for myself.
If you’re supporting Donald Trump, and you think it might be okay to talk with me about that, would you please send me an email (send it to firstname.lastname@example.org)? I want to know your story, if you’re willing to share it — off the record.