If You Support Trump, We Can't Be Friends
There are no Trump supporters or apologists on any of my social media platforms. I made a point of deleting them all months ago. If any slipped by, they have remained mercifully quiet. It’s simple: if you love Trump, we can’t be friends. That is non-negotiable.
I have never been shy about my political position. I am pro-choice, pro-black and feminist. I support equality—marriage, racial and gender. I stand behind anti-elitist and anti-oppressive movements. Essentially, my stance is the antithesis of Trump who, as we all know, ran on a platform of hatred and disregard for the rights of women, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, POC, and the LGBTQ community.
So when he won the election, it broke my heart. Even as a person living in Canada, I am terrifyingly aware of the implications of his presidency. I went to bed at 4 am on election night hoping it was a bad dream and woke up to find the nightmare was, in fact, real.
In that moment when the reality of what had happened settled in, I was especially grateful for the fact I stated at the beginning of this post: there are no Trump supporters or apologists on my social media platforms. There is no room for them here. I have no space, time or energy for it.
Some would call me close-minded for this. Others would describe my choice to remove people who disagree with me immature. And in most situations, I wholly agree that choosing not to associate with people because of a difference in opinion is close-minded and immature. It’s not a rule I live my life by.
My friends and I disagree on a lot of things. I have friends who are religious, though I am not. I have friends whose tastes in music, movies, food and books are different from mine. I have friends with different views on vegetarianism and veganism. Any discussions about our disagreements are usually civil. Our friendships function just fine despite our differences.
But I cannot befriend a Trump supporter because I cannot associate with people who either openly support discrimination of any kind or sit back passively when it happens. Whether or not certain groups of human beings deserve to be treated as such is not a matter of opinion. It’s not something we can respectfully disagree on.
Respectful disagreements are for things like whether Star Trek or Star Wars is better. They are not for whether gay people should be protected from hate crimes. They are not for whether a woman should be the one to determine what happens to her body. They are not for whether Syrian refugees deserve an opportunity to escape war and live safely in our country. We cannot respectfully disagree about human rights and freedoms. Nor can I sit and discuss the latest episode of Scandal while pretending we don’t have different beliefs about who deserves to be treated well. @@If your opinion harms other people, it’s not an opinion you’ll ever get me to respect.@@
And, of course, you get the people who say they supported Trump, not for his hateful rhetoric, but for his conservative policies. Let me be as blunt as possible about this: that is absolute horseshit. There comes a time when you have to consider if your political preferences have devastating consequences for real people. If we are to judge by the number of hate crimes that have happened in just a few days since Trump has been elected, we know that that is the case here.
Passively choosing Trump because you are conservative while ignoring the oppressive platform he used as the foundation for his campaign makes you guilty. You don’t get to say, “I voted for Trump, but I’m not racist/sexist/Islamophobic/xenophobic/homophobic.” You do not get to wash your hands. They are as dirty as his, perhaps even dirtier because you valued your political leaning over the safety and well-being of real people. People who you then think should respect your political point of view. (I’m looking right at the 53% of white women and 13% of black men who voted for Trump.)
If a person wants to actively or passively support political candidates or positions that directly impact the rights of other human beings, they are entitled. It’s a free country and they have a right to their opinion and all that jazz. But they are not, and never will be, entitled to my attention, patience, time, or conversation and they certainly are not entitled to my friendship. I refuse to feel bad about that.
If you’ve ended friendships over this election for the sake of your mental well-being, you did nothing wrong. You were not selfish, childish, immature or irrational. Don’t let anybody make you feel bad for standing in what you believe in the way you saw fit. @@You have the right to protect your space even if that means the end of a friendship.@@
[Main photo by Marc Nozell - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46942232]