Dear Trump supporters,
This letter is long overdue. As fellow Americans, we’ve been acting like enemies instead of neighbors for far too long. I want us to change that.
Learning to listen and understand each other won’t be easy, especially after so many years of shouting back and forth and calling each other names. Like in a marriage gone awry, there are deep feelings of hurt on both sides. We’ve dug in our heels so far that sometimes it feels impossible to find a way out of this mess.
But as tempting as divorce might sound at times, deep down we both know that it’s best for everyone if we stick together. So I propose that we begin the process of finding common ground. If nothing else, it’s what’s best for our children and the future of this country. Besides, aren’t you tired of feeling angry and slighted all the time? I know I am.
It’s probably best to start with the elephant in the room: Donald J. Trump. No doubt, we both have strong feelings about this person. You revere him. I can’t stand him. But going tit-for-tat on what he has or hasn’t done won’t help us to come together. Instead, let’s do our best to set aside our defenses and focus on why we feel so strongly either way. It’s the marriage counseling Americans so desperately need.
I’ll go first. For my part, I dislike Trump because he scares me. His words and actions make me fearful for the future of our country. I worry about whether or not democracy will continue, and what rights I will or won’t have. I also worry a lot about what will happen if we can’t overcome our differences. Will there be another Civil War? If so, how many of us will be killed? Will I lose loved ones? Will you?
I also worry about if America will fall apart economically due to our infighting, and if most of us will be poor as a result. Will we lose our ability to help neighbors in need? Will our kids have fewer freedoms than in past generations? These are the kinds of things I think about. Don’t you?
The increase in hateful rhetoric and violence also make me scared for my personal safety and the safety of others. It seems like everywhere I look there’s vitriol of detrimental proportions. I’m not talking about crime, at least not necessarily. I’m talking about the harmful way we engage with each other, all the meanness, spite and superiority. It makes me sad to think how much worse we are for it, and how much happiness we are missing out on as a result. Wouldn’t your life be better without violence and vitriol, too?
I know it seems we are worlds apart, but are we really? Yes, our fears and worries might seem different, but they’re also kind of the same. If we accept that most Americans want what’s best for them, their families and our future — and I absolutely believe that to be true, even for those who differ from me politically — then aren’t most of us operating from a place of good intent because we’re scared of what’s happening in our country? And if so, can’t we start with that as common ground?
As fellow Americans, our enemies should not be each other. Our enemies are those who seek to divide us for personal gain. This includes but is not limited to foreign entities, leaders of billion-dollar corporations and leaders of political parties with agendas that encourage us to fight for them. Why are we fighting other people’s battles?
So far, our enemies are winning. Their tactics of divisive propaganda are working. By pitting us against each other they are diluting our collective power so they can win. This is what they want. We need to stop giving it to them.
This brings us back to Trump. I know he’s a sore subject in our divided nation, but he needs to be addressed. Neighbor to neighbor, Trump is not our friend. We know this because real friends wouldn’t encourage us to hate each other. When he praises you for following him, yet pits you against people like me by saying we’re evil and hate America, he is playing us all. And it serves him. In dehumanizing me, he makes you more angry and passionate thereby strengthening his base. At the same time, he makes me feel more worried, forcing the “other side” to fight back. Now, we don’t just feel like enemies, we act like enemies, even though we’re really not.
A real friend would encourage us to set our differences aside and come together for the greater good. It’s OK if we disagree, but it should not be as opposite ends of good and evil. And any leader who suggests otherwise should prompt us to question what they stand to gain by tearing us apart.
Mending our differences won’t be easy, but don’t you agree it’s worth a try? What do we stand to gain but pain by continuing this battle? How long do we want to live like this? I understand we don’t have to be besties, but wouldn’t it be far nicer to grab a drink as friends and not foes?
In the spirit of new beginnings, I’ll buy yours if you buy mine.
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