I am a woman. . .and a Republican. I say this frankly and without shame, despite the accusations and insults that have been thrown around since the beginning of this election. “Bigot,” “xenophobe,” “racist,” “misogynist,” “homophobe,” these are all words I have heard used to describe originally Trump, but now anyone who is Republican. Then the results of the election came in, and everything I had heard before suddenly doubled, if not tripled. I was horrified by the terms of hate that I heard pouring out of people that I usually consider rational and compassionate human beings. The Democratic party says it is based on rights and freedom to be who you are, but there was no acceptance or tolerance of any view other than their own. For a party that promotes political correctness and safe spaces while fighting against stereotypes? It was interesting how in the face of defeat these good people took to name-calling, protesting, and grouping all Republicans into an ugly ball of “racist, white, poor people.” Seems a little elitist, a little smug, a little hateful even? These people who had mocked Trump and called it the “death of democracy” when he said that he might challenge the results of the election were suddenly tweeting #notmypresident, a phrase borne out of Obama’s 2008 victory. The entire GOP was condemned for their political affiliation, without taking into consideration that it is a party of diverse people. That’s why I want to set the record straight.
I am a moderate Republican, so I can not speak for all when I voice my views; however, I can explain them better than most. CNN said that Clinton failed to garner the votes from the middle class, votes that President Obama had handily taken in both of his terms. The difference was simple. In fact, Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs can sum it up better than I can with his analogy:
In a very simple way, Dirty Jobs said “Hey – we can see you,” to millions of regular people who had started to feel invisible. Ultimately, that’s why Dirty Jobs ran for eight seasons. And today, that’s also why Donald Trump is the President of the United States.
Obama ran on a platform of hope, and these good middle-class people believed him. But eight years later, that hope had run out. The people that had supported him no longer felt that optimism they had once held; they were ready for something different. And along came Trump, a man who spoke in the unpolished tongue they were used to, and who told them change was needed. If anyone thinks I’m slighting the middle class, believe me, I am not. A large part of my extended family is that southern, “redneck” vote that the Democrats blamed for the election. These are the people who had been lauded as “hardworking” people after voting for Obama. If Obama ran on hope, Trump ran on frustration. He told them what they needed to hear, and they believed him. That belief was all that was needed for him to win.
They also, however, believed in Republican ideas. Not all Republicans like Trump, in fact a large percentage simply despise him. But to switch parties because of one man would be to cut the nose off to spite the face. People had to look deeper than his often offensive language and think about the policies of the party. It was not an easy decision for a lot of Republicans to make, to vote for Trump. But many heard what he was saying, like small government, states rights, less taxes, family values, etc., and they decided it was worth it. Hated as he is, people still had to vote for the ideas they believe in. I have to believe that if Democrats disliked the manner of their candidate but believed in the ideals that they would still vote for that candidate. In the end, it is the ideas of the Party that have to win out.
For example, I can understand why hearing that Trump is against abortion would motivate people to vote. There is a strong religious side to abortion, because it deals with the termination of potential life. My father grew up strongly Evangelical, and while he is more reserved today, he still believes that all life is sacred and therefore deserves a chance to live. I identify as Christian, but I am less sure in my religious footing; however, I can understand his point. While I am personally only against late-term abortion, I think that oversimplifying it down to Pro-Life and Pro-Choice can be a little too neat. As a woman, I want the control over my body, but I think it is important not to marginalize or simplify down what abortion is, or we run the risk of devaluing human life. We cannot forget that abortion is denying a future person the right to live. So to dismiss the choices and thoughts that went into a vote for either side is unfair.
As a Republican, I’ve learned a lot about losing over the last eight years. But I do think that everyone needs to take a few deep breaths, and remember the system that made Obama president is the same one that elected Trump, and it is a system of checks and balances that prevents dictatorships. Thus, saying that Trump is Hitler and mourning the “death of democracy” is a simply ridiculous. In fact, it’s probably a little offensive to Jewish people to call him Hitler; it draws a parallel between the Holocaust and the result of a democratic election. People were more upset over this election than they were over the horrible tragedies in Nice, France. There has been no death, just a change, and this too shall pass. If you cannot try to look for the possible good in his presidency, then look for good in the fact that a term only lasts four years.
I guess what I want to say is that I hate the fact that this election has torn people apart. I’m sorry that people are hurt, scared, and frustrated, and I wish that it wasn’t that way. But the results are what they are, and we all need to come to terms with them. The fact that there was a letter petitioning for Trump to concede is ridiculous, the fact that people are unfriending people on Facebook is ridiculous, and it all needs to stop now. It is not worth losing friendships, it is not worth slandering or belittling each other, it is not worth any more tears or pain. Everyone needs to pull it together and stop complaining. We need to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, we need to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt, and we need to aspire to a better tomorrow.