I just got back from a 10-day trip abroad to Iceland and Sweden and let me tell you - the break from politics was exhilarating. I voted for Trump and celebrated the victory, but even I have a hard time processing the post-election social media outrage phenomena.
Even from tiny villages in Iceland, I heard something about the cast of Hamilton; there was also a bit about Trump cups? I refused to click into any of it. In the grander scheme of things, while these mini-news cycles spark emotion and interest, none of them really matter all that much.
Now, as I return to the United States, ready to get back into the conversation, it appears many Americans have suddenly decided that, when it comes to the Thanksgiving dinner table, the election never happened. Just pretend for a few hours that Donald Trump doesn't exist.
However, in the polarized era we live in, banishing politics and respectful discourse from the dinner table - or, perhaps more pragmatically, fron a quiet corner during cocktail hour - is hardly a helpful solution.
There are plenty of Clinton supporters who have spent the past few weeks slandering Trump voters as guilty of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other crimes ending with “ism” or “ia.” Clinton herself once labeled half of us as deplorable. This Thanksgiving, many of those same progressives will likely be sitting directly across from one of those deplorables.
Here's a question for the Clinton people at the table: will you avoid engaging in a political discussion with that family member at all costs, and then return to your regular schedule of bashing Trump voters? Or will you actually try to engage and listen to what they have to say?
I hope you pick the latter: you don't need to agree, but try to at least understand, instead of walling yourself off in intransigence.
I've had several liberal friends approach me over the past few weeks and tell me that they don't understand why I voted the way I did. I've taken each opportunity to calmly explain myself. I also listen to their concerns and I try to take those concerns seriously.
Trump supporters should act the same way. There's no need to boast, taunt, or dismiss. The election is over. Donald Trump won. If we want to make the next four years bearable - for all of us - we need to remind each other that we all have concerns just as much as the next
guy girl person (it's 2016, after all, why use gender pronouns?)
Angrily cursing Obama voters in 2012 didn't help me cope with that painful loss. Trying to understand what Mitt Romney could have done better, and understanding why people voted the way they did, was what ultimately exorcised the resentment.
So tomorrow night, grab a glass of wine, find your local Trump supporter, and just ask “why?” Take advantage of the opportunity. You might be surprised at what they have to say.