Dear Trump supporters,
As with every election, I’ve seen a lot of people say that now is the time to come together as a nation. Clearly, this election showed just how deep the ideological divide in this country has become. And, to a large extent, I do agree – to survive as a nation, we do have to come together as one.
But there’s something you need to understand first.
I know the decision you made last night was one made out of fear and anger. You felt like your voices weren’t being heard. You felt like the country you love so dearly was being taken away from you. You felt like you were being denied the “American dream” while others benefited from a broken system. You did this hoping to restore the principals this country was founded on.
All of these feelings you had that led you down a path to Donald Trump are the exact feelings the rest of us are having now. Today, half of the country is afraid and angry. They are worried that a Donald Trump presidency means that the country they love so dearly is being taken away from them. They fear they will be denied the American dream while others benefit from this broken system.
Being involved in the performing arts and having lived in and around cities for most of my adult life, I’ve had the privilege of collecting an eclectic group of friends and acquaintances. That group includes a Benetton-ad-like array of people of color and every shade of the LGBTQ rainbow. For over a year now, these people have heard your candidate vow to strip away their basic rights. It’s been the cornerstone of his campaign. Overwhelmingly, and quite justifiably based on your candidate’s words, right now they are terrified that his presidency means they will not be safe in this country.
These people aren’t going anywhere. They are American citizens that have just as much right to live in this country as you do. The demographics of America have changed. They will continue to change. When we slapped the following words onto a plaque on the Statue of Liberty, people took the country at our word:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Every American citizen has the same promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that you do. They deserve basic rights like being able to marry the people they love or to use a public bathroom without fear or to not be persecuted because of their religious beliefs. We don’t get to selectively decide which rights apply to which people. Those aren’t the principals America was founded on.
A lot of blame has been thrown around the past eight years. Your side blames President Obama for making ideological decisions you don’t agree with while liberals blame a defiant Congress for blocking his actions at every turn. But none of that matters now. His time in office will soon come to an end.
After last night, you have all of the power. Republicans control the legislative and executive branches of government and soon you’ll control the judicial too. Whatever happens next is 100 percent on all of you. You’ve been granted your greatest wish – unilateral control of the government.
Try to keep that in mind as we all move forward. As I said from the start, unity is a beautiful goal that we should all fight hard for. But try to remember how you felt these past eight years and realize that right now other Americans are feeling the exact same way. If you truly want this country to be “great again” and you truly want to bring an end to the divisiveness that is tearing this country apart, the ball is in your court.
Show the rest of us that we underestimated you. Show us that this wasn’t about racism or sexism or homophobia. Show us your true vision for America, one that includes every American.
If what you truly want is for all to come together as a nation, this is your moment.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.