What adjectives come to your mind when you think of someone who voted for Donald Trump?

Racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, selfish, idiotic?  Probably.

How about compassionate, loving, open-minded, generous?  I didn't think so.

Ever since the election I have found myself in the incongruous position of defending the supporters of Donald Trump.  Perhaps it's due to my shock at the virulent attacks against them from the mouths and pens of people who have in the past taken pride in their openness, tolerance, and love of diversity.  Maybe it's because of my natural tendency to be contrary. My daughter said, "Mom, if you were a salmon, you'd be swimming downstream."  I had to think about that a bit.

I'm pretty sure, however, that my change of heart came mostly because I took a good look at the only Trump supporters in my circle of friends.  We have friends who are staunch supporters of Bernie Sanders and reluctantly switched to Hillary Clinton when she became the party's nominee; friends who supported Hillary Clinton all along; friends who couldn't stand Donald Trump from the beginning and voted for him only because the alternative was unthinkable; and friends who voted third party or sat this election out because they couldn't bear to cast a vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  Out of all my friends, only two openly cheered for Trump.

So I took a good look at them.

  • Smart, educated, and well-travelled
  • Raised five children, as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic family
  • Personally settled and supported over a dozen refugees, and assisted hundreds more
  • Took in hundreds of the most difficult-to-place foster children
  • War veteran
  • Cleaned the homes—often on hands and knees—of elderly people in the community who could no longer do the work themselves
  • Support orphans and others in need—financially and in person—on three continents
  • Open their home and hearts to countless visitors from all over the world, of diverse cultures and religions
  • Are unabashedly and enthusiastically Christian, for whom that is always a reason to be more active, inclusive, and loving—not less
  • Have uncompromising moral values which never deter them from loving and helping those who do not share their standards
  • Have a joyous enthusiasm for life, in good times and in bad, that spills over into everyone they meet
  • Are called Mom and Dad by enough people around the world to populate a small city

These are the only Trump supporters I know well enough to judge, and I don't have a fraction of the cred I'd need to cast a stone their way.

Before we write off as immoral subhumans half the people we share this country with, maybe we should get to know them better.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 10:16 am | Edit
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GOD is still GOD and HE is good. Only in and through HIM can anyone do any lasting good!!

Posted by Pami on Thursday, December 01, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Amen, Pami. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, December 01, 2016 at 1:27 pm

I know two Trump supporters personally, but not closely(intimately). They both seem to be nice people. I know nothing of their personal lives. However, one of them posts terribly hurtful things on his Facebook page. So much so, that I had to unfollow him, because every time I looked at his page I started crying.

Posted by Diane Villafane on Thursday, December 01, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Ok, Linda, you've proved that not all Trump supporters are [insert derogatory adjective of your choice] but the Trump supporters I know cannot claim any of the bullet points you outlined. Just as the Trump supporters I know do not prove they are all bad, the ones you know do not prove there are none who are "Racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, selfish, [and/or] idiotic." I think we need a bigger sample size if we're to figure out which adjectives apply to the "average" Trump supporter.

I do take your point though, we should not prejudge people and we shouldn't call people bad names. I do feel the need to point out though that some very nice people like those you describe, who would never do such things themselves, actually voted for a man whose campaign for the most part consisted of those very things.

Posted by Don Sigwalt on Monday, December 05, 2016 at 1:53 am

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Don. Indeed, I'm sure that there are Trump supporters such as you describe. But if I were to judge Clinton's supporters by the violent hatred I've seen poured out on Facebook and acted out on the news I could come up with a set of nasty derogatory adjectives for them as well. But even though the Clinton supporters I know aren't as amazingly, personally compassionate as these friends, they are good people, with good reasons for voting the way they did. I choose to judge them by that, and not by some of the things they've shared on Facebook....

To me the telling point is that people do not vote for the flaws they see in their choice, but because of either the good they think can be done, or the harm they hope can be avoided. It's worth trying to understand and appreciate why half of our fellow Americans found different deal-breakers from us.

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, December 05, 2016 at 6:03 am
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