Bridging the Gap this Thanksgiving by Reaching Across the Aisle
As Thanksgiving approaches, millions of Americans are gathering with family to celebrate what we are thankful for. But this year, what we are thankful for might cause irreparable damage to familial ties. The 2016 Presidential Election has been polarizing for many Americans, dividing even the closest knit families along political, economic, and social lines. Your Racist Uncle won’t be bluntly ignored or even mollified with a quiet chuckle and a quick change of subject. This year, he will be front and center, reveling in the aftermath of Trump’s victory.
However, Racist Uncle probably won’t be your only relative who voted for Donald J. Trump nor will he be the only relative genuinely happy with the outcome of the election. While some prepare for the inevitable Thanksgiving Catastrophe 2016, complete with turned over tables and slingshotted side dishes, we must remember that everyone who supports Trump has a reason, but not all of their reasons are rooted in racism.
It would be our greatest mistake to demonize every one of Trump’s 61.9+ million supporters as racists, bigots, sexists, homophobes, etc. By doing this, we make it easy to disregard their arguments, brush them aside as ignorant degenerates who don’t deserve a second of our time.
Many of his supporters were simply following their deeply held convictions regarding political, economic, and social issues. These people within the GOP are who Democrats and Independents must unite with in order for our great country to heal and move forward.
Many Republican voters were simply tired of conservative bills being blocked by a Democratic POTUS. Others believe Trump’s policies regarding terrorism will make the US more secure. Despite the rhetoric about building a “huuuge” wall, stronger policies on illegal immigration are beneficial to security, and the economy.
Many small business owners are currently struggling to survive. Current tax brackets, and even the costs and regulations associated with Obamacare are making it difficult if not impossible to improve their economic situations.
Many Americans simply couldn’t vote for a pro-choice candidate. Simple as that. Social issues in contemporary politics usually include such religious and moral debates such as abortion. When boiled down to the basics, the Republican candidate, who is traditionally pro-life, will secure the votes of pro-life voters, regardless of who the candidate is. Their beliefs don’t make them racist, or sexist. Their votes reflect their conservative political, economic and social convictions. Racist, sexist and bigoted Americans do exist but they are a minority. Republicans must effectively counter their rhetoric.
As Desmond Tutu’s father advised, “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” This Thanksgiving, as you join your family around the dinner table, remember the reason you are all together. Be thankful you still live in a country where you can discuss your beliefs openly without persecution. As you argue your convictions against a Trump administration, allow the Trump supporters the same courtesy. Only through respectful discussion will we be able to find common ground.