Earlier this summer a friend said they were going to vote for Trump.
I turned bright red, I kid you not. Bright bright red. Even I thought it was funny. They said, “I take it you’re a Hillary fan,” and I said, truthfully, that it wasn’t so much that I was pro-Hillary as I was vehemently anti-Trump. (This has changed: I’ve really had to examine my prejudices against Hillary and question how many of them were instilled by 30 years of media telling me she was evil and corrupt, but that’s another post.)
My friend said, “Why?” and I said, “Because Trump thinks that women are things, not people, and if he’s elected President he’s going to be the person appointing at least two, up to probably five, Supreme Court justices, and every right women have will get rolled under. If you think, for example, that there are any circumstances ever under which a woman should be able to have an abortion, you should not vote for Trump.”
(I don’t know if I had the clarity of mind at that moment to actually say “You in fact need to vote for Clinton if you think women are people,” because a vote for a third party in a two-party system isn’t a protest vote, it’s taking support away from whichever major party, whether you like it or not, aligns more closely with your values, hopes and expectations of your country. Which is also another post.)
I asked them why they liked Trump, and they said they liked the sense that he was cutting through the bullshit and saying what he thought and that somebody who wasn’t tied to the political system seemed like they could do a lot of good.
I said I understood that, to a degree, because I *do* understand that it feels like politicians frequently say one thing and do another, and that they’re always very careful about what they say so they aren’t committing to anything, and I *get* that there are millions of lower and middle class white Americans who feel like nobody in Washington is listening to them.
I also said that Trump is a billionaire, he was born a billionaire, he’s going to die a billionaire, and he absolutely does not care about the lives or futures of people who are not billionaires, regardless of the stories he might tell from the pulpit.
I said as somebody for whom the environment is an important topic I thought Trump would literally burn the world down in the name of making a profit for himself and his billionaire friends and that it would do the rest of us no economic good at all. And I said I didn’t have any great hopes for Clinton improving things environmentally but I thought she at least wouldn’t make it worse.
My friend said I’d given them something to think about, and admitted they hadn’t thought beyond the surface of Trump’s presentation. They said that that was on them, it was something they should have done.
I don’t know if I convinced them to vote for Clinton. Obviously I hope I did. But honestly for me what mattered most was that we had a conversation about politics and nobody (especially me, because who are we kidding, I’m prone to this) flew off the handle, and that we both made each other *think* a little bit. And that’s valuable, not just to me personally but to our political system and our future as a whole.
(Ad hominem attacks in comments will not be tolerated.)
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)