What do we lose when we end a friendship with a Trump-supporting relative or friend? We lose a close social connection with someone we were emotionally attached to. But what exactly are we losing when our arguments about the actions and policies of Donald J. Trump come to a fever pitch and those relationships come to an end?
At this point in 2021? Nothing that cannot be replaced. Friendships come and go, and family is so much more than blood. When those relationships come to an end, they will be replaced.
Iin 2016, if you were not deeply involved in politics or knowledgeable of the people surrouding Trump, it was understandable that you might have been fooled by his promise to ”make America great again.” He spoke to people’s very real pain. I get it, but that was then and this is now.
Now we know the names and faces of the ideological extremists and racists around Trump. That much became abundantly clear in the final three years of his presidency. Trump’s dog whistles to fascism and racism have become train whistles. During the 2016 campaign and in the first few months of his presidency, if you were not aware of what certain phrases really meant, you could claim that you were fooled. But as those dog whistles became audible, that excuse no longer worked.
That means that the people who supported Trump were okay with his racism, bigotry, and contempt for democracy. As Trump ran up deficits that were much higher than his predecessor’s and created fewer jobs, it was clear that it was never really about America great. What really attracted people to Trump was the racism and the fascism. As Trump blatantly called on terrorists to attack the Capitol building last week to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College vote, those same Trump supporters cheered the president and the rioters on; it was clear that these people cared more about Trump than this country itself.
I am not demanding that anyone walk away from their Trump-supporter friends and relatives; I am making my own choice to walk away. How much of a friend is someone who voted against the humanity of other people? How much do they care about me as kin when they vote to hurt me and my friends?
I am okay with losing the friends and relatives that I am going to lose over the course of the next few weeks. I still have friends – on the left and the right – about whom I care deeply and who care deeply about me. And though we may have different perspectives on the social ills in America, we are still, in our own ways, attempting to solve those very real problems. We are still trying to protect the humanity of everyone of all races, religions, genders, sexualities, and political ideologies. And that is the opposite of what Trump supporters do with their votes and actions.
Keep your friends close and the enemies of humanity in the shadows.