Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Three Questions to Ask Those Who Voted for Donald

The first step to healing the great divide in our nation is understanding. Because many people simply do not understand how that man could win a Presidential election.

muslim american protestFor me, Donald disqualified himself on day 1 of his candidacy when he talked about Mexicans sending rapists. Those aren’t the words of a man who should lead this country.

For others, the epiphany came later. I know Republicans/conservatives who jumped after he mocked the handicapped. Others bailed after his war of words with the Khan family. And others decided that sexual assault is where they drew the line.

But 60+ million Americans never drew that line. Sure, I’ve heard from plenty of Donald voters that their vote wasn’t because of his rhetoric. They were voting because of jobs, or guns, or due to a deep dislike of Hillary Clinton. I will never argue with someone about why they voted – it doesn’t mean I agree, but that’s the freedom of choice in this country.

That doesn’t mean I completely understand it. In fact, I still don't know how someone could have voted for that man to run the free world. I get not voting for Hillary – I do not get voting for him.

So as we approach the holiday season and awkward conversations, I have three questions for everyone to ask Donald supporters to figure out how got here – and how we can move forward.

Why Didn’t The Racism Matter?

This past Friday night, a restaurant that I frequented many times at a previous job became the inadvertent host of a Nazi victory party for Donald. The number of racist incidents since Election Day has been estimated at 700+ as I write this, with a new example seeming to pop up daily. Just this morning, NBC Connecticut reported about swastikas and support for Donald graffiti found at a New Haven school. 

None of this should be a surprise since the warning signs were there from day 1. But for a significant portion of Americans, it didn’t matter. The racism was not disqualifying. They voted for jobs, and ignored the racism. They voted for their guns, and ignored the racism. They voted against Hillary, and ignored racism.

This is the most critical question we need answered from Donald supporters. Because the America I have grown up in didn’t put up with that racist shit. Or at least, it didn’t publicly.

I want people who voted for Donald to explain why. So many have taken offense at being called racist, yet they voted for one. It simply doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re not racist, then why is his racism okay?

What Aspect of His Economic Plan Appealed To You?

Jobs, jobs, jobs. That has been the recurring theme from Donald voters when asked why they voted for him. It makes sense – politicians on both sides have been touting job creation as a talking point for my entire adult life.

But in Donald’s case – what exactly about his plan gives you confidence? The economic recovery hasn’t expanded to the Rust Belt because of technology, not failed policy. Those rural jobs are never, ever, ever coming back. Unless Donald has a plan to re-educate those unemployed workers – and he has given no indication that he does – they will remain unemployed.

Yet there are two significant pieces of his plan that have been touted, so I’d like to hear Donald supporters explain why they support it. The first piece is the trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. Certainly this would create jobs and there’s no question our infrastructure needs it. But his plan would send the debt soaring into orbit – isn’t that what Republicans threatened to shut the government down over? Why is that okay now, but wasn’t for President Obama?

Secondly, there has been much made of “tax breaks” that would come from his proposal. But the details of which reveal that the overwhelming majority of the breaks would go to the wealthy. By reducing the number of tax brackets from seven to three, it could actually increase taxes for some middle class workers. And the removal of the “head of household” filing would absolutely crush single-parent homes – their taxes will certainly go up. This seems to replicate the Bush tax cuts, which furthered the gap in wealth. This is the exact problem we’ve been trying to fix, not exacerbate.

Pushing the racism aside for a moment – I need to know why voters think his plan would be successful, because just about every economist in the world doesn’t think it will. Based on Donald’s extensive history with bankruptcy, I don’t understand why people assume his business ideas are good. I want that explanation.

What Will You Do Moving Forward?

In the days after the election, I heard from many Donald supporters that we need to unite as a country to move forward.

However, those same Donald supporters have been very, very quiet when it comes to the actions that have taken place after Election Day. Steven Bannon is an admitted white nationalist – where’s the outrage? Jeff Sessions was deemed “too racist” to be a federal judge in 1986 but could be our Attorney General – where’s the outrage? Nazis are throwing victory parties and questioning whether Jews are people – where’s the outrage?

The election is over. Denouncing racism should no longer be a partisan activity – not that it ever should have been.

That’s why I want to know from Donald supporters what will they do now. Will you hold Donald accountable for his actions? Will you press that he conduct himself as a President should? Will you balk at a Muslim registry? Will you push back when Japanese internment camps are cited as the basis for policy?

I don’t ask these questions to start a fight – I ask them because I want to know what they were thinking. And I want you reading to ask these questions to start a conversation. We’ve spent so much time yelling at each other that we’re not considering the actual issues driving our country apart.

I’ve blasted the media, particularly cable news, for their focus on personalities instead of issues, so it’d be hypocritical of me to do the same. This cannot be about one man. This needs to be about our country.

Writer’s Note: If you voted for Donald and would like to discuss, my email address is stholeary@gmail.com and I’d love to chat. I will not publish any emails without consent. 

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