Hey, Democrats, It's Okay To Be Friends With Trump Supporters

Hey, Democrats, It's Okay To Be Friends With Trump Supporters

As objectionable as their views may be to you and me, they are still human beings worth far more than their political ideologies.

It has been over two years since then-reality-star Donald Trump glided down an escalator, corn husk head of hair and all, took to the podium, and announced not only that he was running for President, but that he would "Make America Great Again."

In the time that has followed, politics –– a topic that is universally known as one of the few things to never bring up at the dinner table or with strangers –– has seemingly only become more rancorous and toxic a topic of discussion. Aided by the bevy of insults launched at political opponents, (eventual) political allies, disabled journalists, and Gold Star families alike by now-President Donald Trump, politics became more personal and tested personal relationships marred by ideological differences.

During and after the election, there were articles written about married couples splitting up over their political differences and parent-child relationships being severed, too. Now, almost a year after the election, our collective inability to separate the politics from the person is still dangerously high, especially in liberal circles.

A recent Pew Research Poll –– their Political Typology report published on October 24 –– found that fully 55% of "Solid Liberals" responded that a friend supporting Trump would "put a strain on their friendship." That is so disappointing and disheartening to me.

I would most certainly fall well within the "solidly liberal" tier or, if we're being honest, somewhere further left than that. But I also have many casual acquaintances as well as some close friends who are staunch supporters of Trump and much of his agenda, and I have never considered this to be a hindrance to our relationships.

I find many of my friends' views extremely objectionable and, in some cases, unfathomable. I have wondered how they arrived at these views and how they continue to support a man and President like Donald Trump, but I have never wondered if these beliefs that I find so objectionable should mean we cannot remain friends.

The idea that all of Trump's supporters are irredeemable, virulent racists who hate women, immigrants, and poor people, too is just a false and immoral oversimplification. There are certainly Trump supporters who fit one, if not all, of these characteristics, but there are also plenty who are genuinely good human beings with good morals and good intentions.

I must acknowledge that part of my ability to see people for more than their political views comes from my place of privilege. As a straight, white male from an upper-middle class family, I largely do not have to worry myself about the real-life implications of President Trump's agenda within the narrow context of my own life.

However, I do not think that there is anything to gain from refusing to look at people as nothing more than their respective Presidential ballots. There are a wide variety of reasons people voted for this President –– and 46% of voters did vote for him –– and, though they ultimately all led people to the same (in my opinion, wrong) conclusion, intentions do matter.

I am not prepared to write tens of millions of Americans off as incapable of being my friend simply because they made what I perceive to be a demonstrably and undoubtedly wrong decision on their ballots last November. I am equally unprepared to write off the millions of Americans who still support the President, despite what I see of him failing as a leader and a unifier.

I would hope that all Americans, regardless of political leaning, can see beyond politics and share in empathy and love for everyone, even if you find some of their beliefs extremely objectionable.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.


When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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