Finding a Way to Common Ground

Earlier today I sent a couple of texts to my sister and wife expressing to them that I found myself in a place where there was so much that I wanted to say but couldn’t convince myself to actually write. In one sense, I didn’t want to say anything before I’d had long enough to digest everything that has taken place over the past few days. And on the other hand, I didn’t want to forget how the story that has unfolded has made me feel. I’d like to get some of these thoughts out while they are raw and fresh. But all that aside, the biggest challenge in getting myself in front of a keyboard has been a desire not to contribute to what I referred to in the texts as an endless cycle of bullshit.  Thankfully, my wife talked my out of that mindset and convinced me not to squelch my own voice.

Yesterday, upon learning the news of the election I wasn’t mad at the results. I’m still not actually mad about the outcome even if it isn’t what I had hoped for. I’m not naive enough to expect to go through life with every president being the one I selected. I’m also smart enough to know that it shouldn’t be that way. Checks and balances are a good thing. And that simple idea is the main reason I stay registered as an Independent. I would be lying to you if I said my beliefs don’t lean to the left, but I always reserve the right to check myself and follow my beliefs down whichever path calls out to me. I don’t need a political party to be my life GPS. So with that in mind I’ve spent the past 36 hours trying to understand why people voted for Donald Trump. I want to find the common ground. If you want to talk about Making America Great Again, that’s where we’re going to make the biggest impact. You can talk about walls, and taxes, and trade deals all you want, but if we never stop to understand what someone else is thinking we’ll forever be caught in the endless cycle of bullshit I referred to above. So whether your nominee won or lost please do make an attempt at understanding the other side and learning how to disagree without screaming. I guess you can call this my attempt.

I understand why people didn’t want to vote for Clinton. I didn’t either. She’s put herself in way too many compromising situations to be trusted. I get it. In fact, way back before we knew who was going to represent either party I told my sister that if it ends up being Jeb Bush vs Clinton I wouldn’t be voting. Why? Because the government is broken (and both sides are to blame equally) so what’s the point in voting if we’re never going to change anything. So to you, Trump voter, I understand your desire to go anti-establishment.

Trade deals, lower taxes, stronger military, strong small business, etc. I get it. These aren’t all things that are necessarily very important to me or things that are going to get me out of my seat to vote but I absolutely understand the case you’re making when you say you want to see all of these things stronger, more productive, and beneficial for citizens. I also don’t think that these desires are exclusive to the Republican Party (low taxes aside).

But here is where I’m lost and what I struggle to understand. I told you that I understand why someone wouldn’t want to vote for Clinton. Maybe she is corrupt. Maybe she is a liar. Maybe she supports a government much bigger than you’d prefer. Maybe she had directives in mind that would spend tax dollars in ways that you don’t see fit. Fair enough. It’s also fair to say that the vast majority of government decisions never really move the needle all that much when it comes to improving our daily lives (yes, I know some decisions do affect us greatly). But people….every day people affect our life. I find it disgusting to hear a man walking into what is supposed to be the most respected job in the world talk about people in the most disrespectful way imaginable. I’m not going to bullet point the myriad things said here, because we’ve all heard them 1000 times. But some of you justified these things. Some of you ignored them. Some of you think these things. Some of you say these things.  I value my neighbors and hold myself accountable to give them all the respect they deserve. That respect between two people is important to me. That’s not politics. It’s humanity. And that’s what makes me sad. That’s what I don’t understand. Screw politics, screw parties. This is about a lack of compassion and decency. There isn’t a deal ‘GREAT’ enough that can justify overlooking these types of actions. I don’t understand how a person even gets to a place where you’re even considering someone’s political platform when they haven’t even established the ability to show common decorum when discussing folks from a different background.

I’m not mad Donald Trump is going to be President. I’m not mad at Republicans for thinking differently than me. I do find it gut wrenching to be faced with the reality that is a country filled with people willing to overlook or actively participate in the mistreatment of people that are just like you and me. That’s what I don’t understand. That’s where my ability to see it your way ends. I’ll accept the results of an election. I’ll never accept yours or his disrespect of others.

1 Comment


  1. // Reply

    This is a really good article. It is a sad also scary world we are living in. One of the hardest things I have had to do as a parent is explain to my oldest son
    (who is 7yrs old) that this man was elected president. He was heart broken. One thing he did ask was,why would people vote for a person who treats and talks about other people the way he does? My wife and I teach our children not to see color, not to hate someone based on there pigmentation, religion, etc. This is why my son is having a hard time with this man being elected. And I am also.But my hope is in God and not in man no matter who the president is.

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