During all the emotion of this election, I was so happy and proud of George for deciding to start this site. I was eager to help as I think our friendship is a very good example of the America I believe in, because label wise we aren’t the same; Common misconception says I should hate George because of who he is.
The saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I think this is so true when it comes to assuming someone’s political beliefs by who they appear to be. I am a young professional, I have tattoos, support LGBT rights, carry thousands of dollars in student loan debt. More than once it was assumed incorrectly I was “Feeling the Bern” this election cycle because of what I look like. Then it was again incorrectly assumed I would be “With her” because of my gender.
In reality, I have been a republican since I was 18 years old. Admittedly, I originally registered Red because that’s what the people I respected as a new adult said I was. As time went on I learned my own ideals, I chose my own values, and I still found myself leaning Red. Political parties, much like our nation must continually grow and evolve to keep up with the people. I am not sure that my party has grown as much as I would like with the time, but with groups like the Log Cabin Republicans I think we are getting there.
What is most upsetting to me about this whole election is not who won or who lost. It is the fact that I not only questioned myself for my political beliefs, but that I have been cast as a “racist,” “bigot,” and all sorts of things that are so far from who I am. I have never been one to broadcast who I would vote for, I am not the person who gets on social media to declare that I was with her, feeling the Bern, or on the Trump Train. But this time, this election, it was so much deeper than that.
The words Trump used, the hate he spewed. It was hard to watch. Do I think he is qualified to be our president? Probably not. Do I think the republicans made a huge mistake giving him the nomination? I do. Do I blind support him because my party nominated him? No. A thousand times no. Did I reconsider my party affiliations? I did. I spent days/weeks/hours deciding if I should change to an independent or libertarian. But, at the end of the day the Republican Party values are the closest to my own. It is just unfortunate that one person has made us all look so hate filled.
For the first time in my adult life I was scared. Scared to admit to my friends that I was a Republican; Scared to admit that I didn’t think the world was going to end when my party choose Trump. But my fear was nothing compared to the hate and fear so many people I cared about were addressing. So, I kept it quiet. I chose my words carefully. I knew I was alone in that voting booth and no one needed to know who I chose. I knew I had options and could vote third party, which in the end only tortured me, because by the time the election rolled around most of the people’s opinions I care about knew my party leanings. By the time the campaigns were done and the votes counted, I was floored by the results.
Call me a bad Republican, call me a pessimist. I never once thought Trump would be president. I never once thought the Republicans would take the White house with him as our person. Half of the party distanced ourselves as far from his as we could. But it did, and now people are freaking out. Do I feel like my voice was heard in this election? Absolutely not. The moment it was official there was so much hate and anger. My heart broke for the loss, fear, and disappointment my friends were feeling. I wanted to hug them and tell them it was okay. I hate the things Trump said, the threats, the anger, the legitimate fear in people’s hearts after he won.
At this point, I would guess you think I voted for Trump. I am not going to say who I voted for or why; Who I am is a person who believes that no one gets that information unless I want to tell them. But I am a Republican, and our new president is a Republican. What that has meant in the last 48 hours is that I am an assumed women, LGBT, all non-white, race hating ego manic who single handedly help destroy this nation. But that is not who I am, that is not what I stand for.
I am a lot of things. I am a friend, to people (I call them people because I do not care what race, gender, or lifestyle they have). Great people who I believe should be allowed to love, marry, have a family with WHOEVER they are supposed to. I am citizen of this nation, and I have seen first-hand what people from other nations can contribute to this land I love. I am an advocate, I will always stand up when I think things are wrong. I am not ever going to accept the labels being put on me because I am okay with a Trump run administration. I am never going to feel bad for you if you aren’t willing to do the hard work. Volunteer, start a blog, have a discussion with someone whose views aren’t the same as yours, because THAT is what makes change happen.
Living in fear of one person, no matter how awful and out spoken they are is not the America I live in. The America I live in lifts each other up when darkness happens. I saw it with 9/11, I saw it with Hurricanes, earth quakes, and countless other factors. Responding with riots and hate? That is NOT the America I want to live in. The America I live in is where everyone is happy to lend a hand, offer a support, and remind each other, “We are all in this together even if we have different points of view.”
I am not going to stand in my front yard with a Bud Light and my American flag shouting, “YEAH TRUMP!!!! ‘MERICA!!!!!” Even if that is the picture you have in your head of my party and how we “ruined” this election. Am I going to get hate for admitting that I am a Republican? Probably. Am I worried about it? Not in the least. This place was started by a man I love and respect more than he will ever know. He, along with countless others have shown me that I am okay to be me. I am not all the awful things people may think I am. I am also here to say as a Republican, I am here. As your friend/confidant/fellow member of this country. If you are scared, I will reassure you. If you are mistreated, I will defend you. If you are unfairly judged, I will correct those judging you. I am not hate filled, I am not here to destroy anything. I am your fellow American, who will get up, go to work, drink too much coffee, and give you a smile as we pass each other on the street.
So today I ask you, not as a Republican, not as a women, not as anything but your fellow human. Be kind. Choose hope. Hope that we can work together for four years to show the world we are a nation where kindness, love, and acceptance are alive and well. Tell you fellow humans you love them, support them and accept what they are feeling. It’s okay to be sad/mad/scared, it is also okay to be happy/excited. There are no right answers. There is only how we respond to the questions.