Oped | Why Trump did not earn my vote

I hate politics and at the same time it fascinates me. I hate it because so much of it involves labeling. It intrigues me because it shapes our world – its policies, its values.

The ugly part of politics is labeling. We need to try to reach past it – stop being consumed by a world of contradictions and controversy. Being tolerant does not mean you agree with someone else or have to accept their beliefs. It means you’re nice, thoughtful. You listen.

I have never missed a general election. I am 4 for 8 in picking the winner. And I am still here. My family is still doing okay. I did not vote for the winner this time. I could not. Others could.  That’s their right, just as my vote is mine.

I do not for one second regret my vote.

To explain every detail about why I could not vote for Mr. Trump wound only make things worse in this antagonistic, post-election climate. People have been reassuring me. He didn’t mean it. It was just election rhetoric. For me, I couldn’t move past the words. Words matter to me a lot. When you’re running for office, that’s all we really have to go by – especially considering the president-elect doesn’t have a political track record on which to judge.

In the end, I voted for whom I believed was the most qualified. That doesn’t make me a bleeding-heart, elite liberal in case you were already judging me. I am far from either of those two labels. And really – do I have my own a gold tower(s)? I paid my own way through college, as are my kids. I am a stay-at-home, gas guzzling SUV driving, suburban mom with four kids. I have no time for protests. I fit no one’s mold.

I voted my gut. Others voted theirs. Some are happy. Some are scared.

So how do you heal? For me, having faith in the political system helps, but it doesn’t erase it. A candidate was elected that I differ from on many, in my book very important, levels. Some people whisper to me secretly that they actually think Trump is socially liberal… he was just saying what it took to get elected. Again, sorry, words matter to me.

So much of this election was a lesson in contradictions, motivated by fear. I was supposed to believe all politicians were corrupt and Trump could save us from that. I absolutely don’t believe that – republican or democrat. Sorry. I won’t label. I know good people doing good work who are elected officials. I don’t believe a system needs to explode to fix it, but apparently others do. Again, that’s their right.

I was also supposed to believe the mainstream media is all corrupt – so it was okay for Trump to treat them horribly at his rallies. Not buying it. I know people who work in this “mainstream media.” They, too, do not deserve to be labeled. Good people reporting what happens. And here’s a hint Mr. Trump: If you don’t want them to report the crazy stuff you say, stop saying crazy stuff. Maybe Hillary was right about the delete your Twitter account thing?

But I don’t fear Donald Trump. Rather, it’s some of his rhetoric that scares the living you-know-what-out out of me. It is that rhetoric – his words – that left many people feeling scared Wednesday morning. It’s real. For me, those words directly contradict what this country was founded on, its core values. It’s one reason he did not earn my vote.

But, we must still be tolerant. People are inherently good. Believe in that. I do. Behind some label of conservative or liberal are real people. Our neighbors. Our family members. Our coworkers. Good people.

Try not to discount or judge the fear that now exists  It’s a side effect of an unprecedented negative, divisive election.. call it an election hangover I guess. Try not to discount or judge that happiness also now exists. Many people feel their voices were finally heard – people who believe Trump will bring them a better life.

But let’s not go backward folks. We are a country founded by immigrants, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and press. Do not ever lose sight of that. Cherish that. And to Mr. Trump – I challenge you to use these good words going forward. Make this your new rhetoric. But don’t ask me to excuse the words you used before – because they matter.

And for all you feminists out there I say this – use Hillary’s tenacity as inspiration. She could have quit so long ago. I bet many wish she had. Love her or hate her, go back and look at her roots, her early speeches – what got her started in politics. Find your cause and then stand up for it. Don’t be scared to be a strong, vocal woman. Don’t forget your pantsuit or that ‘nasty women vote.’

As Hillary said in her college commencement speech: “Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it.”

So move beyond the fear. Find the passion. Don’t label. Fight for others. Hold elected officials accountable for words and actions. Stand up for what is right. Believe in the good in people. Fight for the America you believe in.

And lastly, to my New York transplant daughter who witnessed a history she was not expecting inside Javits Convention Center Tuesday night: This is not the end. Let your fear motivate you to do good, but not consume you. You can be, and are, the future. I am proud of you and your kind heart.

 

hillary

Hillary Clinton Election night event, Javitz Center New York City. Photo: Paige McCall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Voted in every election by military absentee ballots since voting for “Ike” in 1956.

  2. Well I happen to have organized can and bus pools to take people to the Trump rally in Everett from out here in Snoqualmie. Sorry to disappoint you but hundreds of people attended.

  3. Robert Baumann says

    Dear Ms. McCall. Yours is the thoughtful sort of voice we need to hear more of. Thank you for your uplifting words.

  4. The left has lately been dripping with hubris, which in classic literature always portends a fall……….Stephen L. Carter

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