On Sunday night, I talked with a family member who voted for Donald Trump.
She doesn’t hate or endorse hate.
She’s not stupid or ignorant.
She didn’t want to vote for Trump – but she couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.
Flip the names and you know my way of thinking heading into the polls.
Before the election I didn’t know which way my conservative loved one would go. She didn’t know which way she would go. Poking my head in on her Facebook page after the election gave me no hint which way she went.
When I called her on Sunday, it was mainly to tell her I admired her ability to stay quiet on social media. I hadn’t been quiet — not within myself or my home and certainly not on social media, where a blog I wrote about my tears and fears over Trump’s victory would end up trending on Huffington Post.
I couldn’t have called my loved one on Wednesday or Thursday or Friday or Saturday. If she voted for Trump, I couldn’t hear it. But Sunday, my heart showed up. My open mind showed up. My ability to hear another perspective showed up.
I didn’t “get over” the election results. I haven’t “moved on.” Fear is still with me. Concern is still with me. Befuddlement is still with me. Anger, even, is still with me.
The call with my loved one was the third one-on-one conversation I’ve had with someone who voted for Trump. These conversations put a face on a Trump vote. And these are the faces of people I love, admire and respect. They are kind and loving people. They are people who have their own fears that are quite different than mine. And, like me, they took those fears into the voting booth with them.
Some friends have told me they’re not ready for these conversations — they may never be ready for these conversations.
They tell me I’m a bigger and better person than they are.
What I am is willing.
What I am is on a path to peace.
I’m not suggesting my path is your path.
Someone said a woman voting for Trump is unacceptable… that I’m defending people who endorse hate… that my loved one betrayed me — a woman married to a woman — by voting for Trump.
I understand that rage. I’ve felt it myself. But I can’t sustain it.
I’m not at peace.
I want to be at peace.