I don’t know about your social media circle, but in mine there’s a lot of posting about how much people hate Obama and they are NOT using the word hate casually. THEY REALLY HATE HIM. “Worst President Ever,” “Ruining our country,” “Terrible for America” etc. I do not hide the fact that I voted for him twice, and I wouldn’t because – while he hasn’t done exactly what I hoped – I think he’s met a lot of my expectations. I’m certain most of those people know that I voted for him, I’m about as vocally left as they come. So, I subconsciously mark those people on my list of “People Who Probably Don’t Want To Ever Have A Conversation With Me About Politics.”
And that’s a bad list to have because that divisiveness is something I think is bad for the country. Way worse than any President would be.
And this? THIS is why I didn’t pull up that “Friend Who Like Trump” page and immediately unfriend anyone on it. And it’s why I haven’t unfriended anyone who may like Trump enough to vote for him. I mean, I don’t like the guy. And I think he’d be a bad president. BUT – creating a bigger divide in my community regarding politics is not going to make the political environment better.
If you don’t know any Trump Supporters in real life can I tell you something? They’re not evil. Sometimes they are really nice.
Stop for a minute and put yourself in the shoes of someone who was raised on Fox News or living in a very Red State. You are constantly hearing how horrible Obama has been for the country and every bad thing you see in your life can be blamed on decisions he has made as president. YOUR NEWS SOURCES BLAME HIM. The media makes fun of you terribly for your conservativism. You’re frustrated with the political system in general because nothing ever gets done. You don’t make a point to stay apprised of everything going on in the world, you’re too busy. So when you do and it’s all frustration and anger then seeing someone like Trump come along and flip everyone in the system you hate a giant middle finger? That’s going to be DAMN APPEALING. Honestly, its the same reason a lot of us lefties like Bernie Sanders. It’s nice to see someone who sticks to the same message in a world of wishy-washiness.
So – in the beginning – that’s what Trump supporters saw. Someone who is just as fed up with the world as they are. They don’t have time to dig into his background and since they’re convinced everyone sucks, they don’t really care. And thanks to the fearmongering in this world, they’re also now scared. They’re scared of terrorists, who in their media world are often grouped with Muslims. They’re scared someone is going to take their guns even though NO legislation is proposed to do that, but their media sources claim otherwise. They don’t have time to fact check and they don’t trust the other media sources who mock them. So, when this guy who gives the establishment the middle finger THEN says he’s going to keep out Muslims? OF COURSE THEY’LL SUPPORT THAT.
And they’re not going to listen to the people who make fun of them.
If we really want to make progress in helping Trump supporters see the danger in his rhetoric, blocking them or unfriending them or even making fun of them is not going to do it. And let me tell you, seeing people claim they “hate” the guy you might vote for? Does more damage than you might realize. You might could have had a conversation like this with your friend:
I really hope Ted Cruz gets the nomination. I mean, I vote Democrat of course so it really doesn’t matter, but he has foreign policy experience and I’m a little worried since Trump and Carson don’t.
Do you see that? That’s a very valid point made with respect for the other side and it might shed some light to your friend in a non-insulting manner so maybe they start thinking in that way. You’re not making fun of them or the people they like, you’re making a good point and providing a reasonable alternative. You’re not lying to them – you’re open about how you’re voting. You’re making a calm point as someone on the other side but you’re being respectful in doing so. I’m not saying we hunt down all Trump supporters and try to change them. But if you’re FB friends with a Trump supporter and you’re constantly making fun of him or hating on his supporters, then they’re not going to ever listen to anything else you have to say about politics the next time you’re sharing coffee in the break room together. DIVISION SOLIDIFIED.
I get it. I posted on FB this week about using an extension that changed all occurrences of “TRUMP” to “Some rich asshole” but I’m hoping I made my point that it was mainly for my entertainment purposes. He was all over the headlines. It was hilarious. And maybe just that made some of my friends put me on the “Don’t talk with her about politics” list and if they did, I feel bad. I’ve been wondering if I should have posted that all week because I don’t want people to think I’m making fun of them. BUT IT WAS A FUNNY EXTENSION. It made NPR look hilarious.
ANYWAY – my point is that dialog is what helps more than mockery. You may make valid points your conservative friend may want to hear, but if you never respect them they’ll never listen. I believe there are some people who can never be changed. I don’t believe in wasting my time on those people. But there are a lot of people who are just scared because their exposure to the world is filtered through a terrifying lens and I can’t fault them for that.
And no one is going to want to talk to you if you’re constantly making fun of them. I know that because people are constantly mocking and ridiculing and hating Obama supporters on my Facebook feed and it’s a really tough thing to sift through.