Hi there. I wanted to write this letter to reach out to you one last time as a family member or someone who I have called a friend. I hope you will find it in yourself to actually read what I have written here and take what I am saying to heart.
Perhaps you’ve wondered why I don’t call or text anymore, join you for coffee or dinner, or see you at holidays or birthdays. It could be that your child has asked why I don’t let mine come over to play or attend sleepovers anymore. Maybe you noticed that I haven’t been posting on Facebook or Twitter lately and subsequently found out I do but you can’t see it, or maybe we’re not even friends there anymore.
It is within the realm of possibility you truly have no idea why this is, but I suspect you know why. However, to make it easy on you, I will spell it out for you.
I am cutting you out of my life because you actively and vocally support Donald Trump.
There, I said it. It truly is as simple as that.
I’m a normal, everyday American. I have a job, a family, a mortgage and all the stresses of everyday life. I’m not that political (and in fact, sometimes I don’t even vote). I have my own concerns and interests in life that consume my attention and politics isn’t amongst them.
When the political season would roll around I’d look at the field, sure, and see that no matter who won things were going to keep going in a (more-or-less) positive direction. While I didn’t take great comfort in the knowledge that both of the major parties are essentially beholden to the same lobbyists, there was some solace in the idea that at least they were committed to the ideals that America stood for, a liberal democratic example to the world that was seeking equality, opportunity and justice to all its people.
Well, that’s not the case anymore.
In the last presidential contest an autocrat was elected with the support of hate groups like white nationalists (read: Aryan Nation sort of white trash… you know, Nazis) and the KKK (you know, the rednecks in the white sheets). Since then, he has surrounded himself with their representatives and is enacting a reign of terror against Muslims, Mexicans, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, the media, academics, artists and people of conscience who speak out against him.
Sadly, you support him, too. Now, to be certain, you likely fall into one of several categories.
Any of those categories means that I cannot abide having you in my life in the current socio-political climate. Yes, it is your absolute right to express your opinions, but it most certainly is not your right to have me suffer it. Just as you have freedom of speech to say what you wish, but I have the freedom to associate with whomever I like.
You are trying to normalize the actions of a President with a totalitarian agenda who was likely backed by a foreign enemy. A president who is petty enough to mock the disabled; brazen enough to admit to sexual assault; who admires Russia that is at best a challenger and at worst a mortal enemy; who is so paranoid as to remove the regular seat at the National Security Council table for the Director of National Intelligence and Joint Chief because they are not in his political cadre; ignorant enough to muzzle government scientists for political reasons; who seeks to offend an entire people with a wall and fan the flames of hatred by banning an entire religion from our shores… I could go on and on. Giving an inch is akin to the appeasement policies of Neville Chamberlain, and that only emboldens them to reach for more.
You have walked away from Enlightenment values that make a free society possible. Rule of law and not men, deliberation with a basis in (actual, not alternate) facts, respect for science and education, and an impermeable boundary between church and state are the basis of a functioning civil democracies, including our constitutional republic. Such unions beget progress, wealth and acceptance. Without those things America is headed down a dark path, indeed.
You have walked away from democratic values. You give your tacit approval to the tactics and goals of an administration that seeks to destroy the hard-won foundations of peace and progress. Denying refugees and immigrants entry to our country, not engaging the world in partnerships and destroying cooperative alliances such as NATO and the United Nations are not the ways to make America safer, but instead isolate us, reduce our influence across the globe, and leave us exposed and friendless when we ourselves have a time of need.
You have walked away from the United States being the prime example of leadership and unity in the free world, despite her flaws. Don’t tell me about “will of the people;” Trump didn’t get the majority of the vote. In fact, he did everything he and his Russian puppetmasters could to demoralize voters so they wouldn’t turn out to defeat him.
You are saying that bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism, fascism and hatred are all acceptable in your mind as long as you “won.” What you’re saying that you believe in the absolute rule of the mob, compassion and caring for other people doesn’t figure into policy and that as long as you get yours nothing else matters. What you don’t realize is that your populistic faith is misplaced when you put it in a billionaire who only cares about eroding the public institutions that protect people like you from people like him. You fell for the siren’s song, plain and simple.
You walked away from the America I was taught about as a child, I have seen firsthand, I believe in and where I stand. I have realized I must rally around that America so that its flame does not flicker and die from the machinations of the misguided indifferent up through the outright malevolent. This is my country and will fight to keep it, but I have realized that you are not someone who stand with me. I don’t have a place for that in my life anymore.
Some people have advised (or even emplored) us not to cut ties with Trump supporters or said doing so is counterproductive. However, we seem to live in “interesting times,” and in this case tolerance of fascists and their sympathizers is not an option. They are trying to foist a cultural war upon us, and now is not the time to make well-meaning but misguided attempts at acceptance and understanding. Now is the time for definitive action, and this is among the steps I must take.
Remember, you crawled into the deplorables basket yourself. You may believe in it, you may even revel in it; perhaps you just found yourself there unawares. Regardless, in the end you have to own it and your complicity in what is being architected. This is not a game, this is our nation.
If you ever come back to the vision of the true promise of America, of what can be achieved when we listen to the angels of our better selves and the deeply-held values of our people, well… maybe we can talk and maybe we can mend this rift. Otherwise, I fear the fissure between us is too wide, and words alone cannot repair it.
Better Off This Way