Living Blue in a Red State, Part 2
I wrote this four years ago after Donald Trump was elected president. I was hurt and angry … but I hoped we could work together as a nation.
Now, four years later with a different outcome in the latest presidential election, I realize the vast majority of the state surrounding me is hurt and angry. I get that. I remember feeling so depressed, so bleak, so defeated, and so scared. I have many friends who feel that way now, scared for the future. I am still hopeful, though, that we can find a way to work together and find common ground.
There are many reasons, I promise, to be hopeful right now.
I’m too young to really remember Geraldine Ferraro, but I’m told I was sad that she lost. I wanted a woman to be president and didn’t understand why we hadn’t had one yet. That was in 1984. So while I didn’t like Sarah Palin’s politics or vote for her in 2008, I was still excited to see a woman on the ballot at that level.
As I wrote in 2016, the loss of Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump felt personal – a highly qualified woman losing to a man who bragged about grabbing women by their “pants pockets,” as my dad adorably said.
So watching Kamala Harris give her speech on Saturday night was cathartic. I hugged my daughters close and we took a moment to be joyful.
We also talked about Stacey Abrams and the important lesson she taught us: When you lose, you don’t give up. Even if you didn’t get what you wanted, you keep working to ensure opportunities for other people.
Ruby even participated in some political activism of her own, holding up a pro-Biden sign on the neutral ground even though I could see her knees shaking and knew she was terrified. (I hid across the street to watch her where she wouldn’t know I was watching.)
So many of my pro-Trump friends and family members are parents, too. They know and share the kind of love and pride I feel for my daughters. They too have probably hidden while watching their kids, trying to keep them safe while encouraging their independence. We have a lot in common.
As I said in 2016: “I have friends and family who voted for Donald Trump, and I love them and have loved them throughout this entire election cycle and will never stop loving them. I know they feel the same way about me. We just have had different experiences, and we are all shaped by our own experiences. Their experiences have shaped their views just like my experiences have shaped mine.
“I don’t personally know any Trump supporters who are actually hateful people — and I know a lot of Trump supporters. For the most part, they’re all parents, like me, who want what’s best for their kids, who want to hand over the best version of America that we can.”
If you think Trump was going to give us the best version of America, I disagree, but I’m sure you had your reasons: the economy, abortion, gun rights.
And while, yes, there is a part of my brain playing “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice,” after all of the absolute chaos of the Trump administration, a larger part is ready to sing some sort of song of unity and hope. I don’t think we can get anything done if we don’t find common ground, listen to other voices (especially those who disagree with us or have experiences we don’t), and try to find a shared path forward.
I had friends who had a daughter born in 2016 on the day of the Women’s March.
“A rare bit of great news on a historic day!” I texted them after they sent me her newborn picture.
They’re expecting another child this year in January.
I think we all want a brighter world for their kids, my kids, all of our kids.
This time, I feel much more confident that we will get there.