What My Trump-Supporting Mother Taught Me About Politics

Advice my mom has given me in the past: never go out with wet hair, take a jacket, carry a hairbrush, always have spare cash on you, vote for Donald Trump.

Hold up. What? My mother? My loving, passionate, nurturing, sweetest-person-you’ll-ever-meet, mother suggested that I vote for Donald Trump?

Let’s take a step back.

If you go to Google and type in “Trump supporters are…” the following words might automatically fill in: racist, blind, hypocrites. These are not the words that I would use to describe my mom. Ever.

So let’s shake things up, if you search “Hillary supporters are…” you may be surprised to see that more than one of the automatic searches are the same as Trump’s. Read: hypocrites, blind. But these are words I would never use to describe myself either. Something is wrong here.

It seems that in this simple search, Google captures what both parties have recently been extremely guilty of: generalization. However, what most search engines fail to do is finish those searches with people. For example, “Trump supporters are…” my neighbors, my Math and History professors, my roommates, my boyfriend, or even my parents. I’ll be the first to admit that I was pissed about the results of the election, but once the initial shock wore off, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the hate that was being talked about and spread was coming from those who felt most attacked.

And maybe that’s a fault in humans when we’re afraid, we try to defend ourselves- even at the cost of someone else. But though some of the pain or fear we may feel is relieved by saying “ALL Trump supporters are terrible people,” it doesn’t actually change anything. Demonizing a group of people seems like the exact opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish here. And because my own mother and some friends are in this group of “ALL Trump supporters…” I can’t stop myself from thinking that there needs to be a shift in this method of judgment.

Something that I have heard repeated a lot in this new political era, and a notion that I totally agree with, is that generalizations are only defeated by narratives. The idea is simple: talk to the people affected by the harshest of Trump’s legislation; speak to the women whose health care has been completely altered; listen to those whose family is not allowed to enter the county; take a second to think about someone other than yourself.

And while this is a powerful way to think about politics, it is something that liberal-minded people must do themselves. Instead of shaming people for voting, engage them in conversation. Talk to the middle-class worker who doesn’t feel fair being taxed for the Affordable Care Act; speak with the experienced voter who has completely lost faith in regular politicians; listen to the neighbor that is loyal to their party; take a second to reconsider what it means to be “open-minded.”

Here’s something one of my roommates said to me at the height of the election; she said, “I know you hate politics, but they’re important.” So even though I really really really hate arguing talking about politics I did my best and talked to my mom about her vote and why she voted the way she did. It was not only an important conversation for us to have to discover our political differences, but it also made us both realize that we feel the same way on more issues than we would’ve ever thought. Whether it’s the changes being made to national healthcare or the enforcement of harsher immigration laws, there’s still a lot that we’re helping each other learn about.

So my challenge to you, Lala reader, is to have the hard discussions with your parents- or your neighbors, or whoever- because you’ll never expand your perspective if you keep talking to people who share your political or moral beliefs. My mom’s a nice woman, and she will talk your ear off about nearly anything, so I’m sure she’d love to grab a coffee with you and have a chat about good ole Trump.

And hey, if nothing else, it’ll help you improve your arguments rather than just raising your voice.

my mom voted for trump and i voted for hillary

Kristine Schmidbauer

Editorial Contributor, University of Redlands Alumna Major: English Literature Her heart belongs to: Chocolate and dark wash blue jeans. Her guilty pleasures: Reality TV and playing with the neighborhood cats.

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