I am a daughter of two people who support U.S. presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, and I am heartbroken over it. Despite my shaken foundation, my resolve to stand against Trump is emboldened.
My parents support a racist elitist, but they are not monsters — they can’t be. They taught me values like never knock someone’s home or financial status, and try to help people in need if you can.
So, when my father started posting hateful memes on his Facebook page more than a year ago in support of Trump’s candidacy, my heart sank. We had a screaming match over his support of Trump. (Some irony here: I was living alone in Mexico at the time.)
Months later, dad told me he was saddened when I protested Trump’s candidacy at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Never mind his daughter was standing up for what she believed in. Never mind that her choice was not a personal attack against him.
“If they want to come over here, fine. But do it the right way and work for it ― just like we’ve done for all of our lives,” my parents say. Never mind that’s exactly what most immigrants want to do — they want to work. They want the chance to make a better life for themselves and their families.
“Let them get jobs in their own countries,” they say, referring to refugees and immigrants ― legal and illegal. Never mind other countries are so poor there are no jobs to be had. Never mind their own countries may be in a civil war, or experiencing drought and famine or corrupt leadership that pales in comparison to ours.
My parents are among many people who believe they deserve to have more than everyone else on Earth simply because they are American. Never mind that our souls had the good fortune to be born into America, into relatively easy lives at this moment in history. They want their daughters to get further ahead in the consumerism game than they got. A good job, healthcare, a house, cars, toys, gadgets and more. Middle American rights, right? They think so.
“White lives matter,” my parents say. “A strong military is good,” they say.
Yes, my dad was drafted and fought in the Vietnam War, and yes, I’m eternally grateful for his service and I admire his bravery. That doesn’t make the war justified. It doesn’t mean I have to blindly accept what the “establishment” offered as reasons for that war, or any war, or any military aggression to promote American interests at the detriment to non-American human beings.
About which lives matter: in my opinion, Black lives won’t matter until White people say they matter. It’s a horrible statement, but I believe it’s true.
My parents have (let’s call it) old-fashioned views about women. For most of my childhood in the 80s, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, because she could be and because she wanted to be. My friends’ moms had to work.
My father calls women “bimbo” for seemingly no reason at all. Maybe a woman is walking too slow and dad can’t turn his car into a parking lot fast enough, so he’ll call her a ‘bimbo.’ I have never seen mom oppose his remarks, although I don’t spend too much time with them. Does dad really believe random women are ‘bimbos’? I don’t think so, in his heart of hearts, but it is how refers to women in general — as being less than men.
Dad likes to share jokes. He’s a good storyteller. Sometimes his jokes are funny, but other times, the jokes demean women. It’s really no wonder he has no issue with Trump’s lewd mouth.
My mother excuses Trump’s ‘locker room’ bragging as simply “crude” and “not always tactful” — nothing more — because she believes Trump may be “our last chance” to “fix this mess” that is our country. It’s a country mom says she “doesn’t recognize” and she “wants it fixed!”
I won’t even get into the current president’s ethnicity and religion, even though Trump himself admitted his birther issue was a crock.
My folks are hard working, tax-paying Americans. Older Americans. Ignored. Angry. And “scared for the future.” They say they are not worried about “what the country has become” for themselves. Rather, my mother insists they are fearful for what the country “has become” for their daughters — for me.
Yet, my life is pretty awesome. I’m college educated. I’m early retired. I’m healthy. I’m happy. I’m free. I am loved. What more could I possibly want?
My parents can support whomever they want, just as I am allowed the same freedom. We have agreed to disagree. My sister, thankfully, abhors Trump as well. Our family dances around any serious political discussion, usually with my declaration the conversation is over, and I either leave the room or firmly move onto another topic of discussion, no matter how dull.
As I have told my parents, I don’t share their fears. I am not afraid of the Syrian family driven to run from their homes and run for their lives because ISIS is on the right and an insane egomaniac leader is on their left. I am not afraid of the Latino man who works the fields to send every penny he can back to his family in Nicaragua, Mexico or Honduras or Guatemala... I am not afraid Hillary Clinton is going to somehow wave a witch’s wand to magically erase a Constitutional amendment. I am not afraid of the black man in a hoodie walking to the store with his head down. I am not afraid of those things and more because I believe America is still great, despite enormous puzzles to be solved.
That is what really scares me: the millions of Americans who, like my parents, support Trump because of “old fashioned” views and irrational fears.
I draw some courage from the hope Trump supporters are the minority, and I hope everyone like me who can vote, does.