To my relatives who voted for Donald Trump,
I’ve never been one to be angry. I’m no saint—believe me—but I’ve always believed anger stems from another source, a source of sadness, of fear, of desperation or embarrassment or confusion; and anger itself is simply a sign we’re feeling something even deeper below the surface. I’ve worked hard to avoid this feeling my entire life, but right now there’s no denying it—I am angry.
I am sad because I feel as though I’ve lost the last part of you I was holding on to, a part that I hoped, deep down, cared for me in a way in which you would protect me even if it meant going against the norm. I am sad because I know we will never truly understand one another, that we come from different worlds, have different stories, and hold different things close to our hearts. I am heartbroken because as much as I love you, as much as I’d do anything for you, this choice you made makes me feel more distant than ever, a distance that I’m not even sure if love can mend right now.
I am fearful because I no longer recognize the relatives I thought I knew. I fear for my future, for the safety of my body and my career and for every step I take in a misogynistic world, but I also fear for the future of many I know and love, for those whose rights to marry, to love, to even exist are now threatened. I am fearful of you, my own relatives, because you supported a man who put these ways into place, you contributed to a campaign whose cries of bigotry, of racism, of xenophobia and animosity echo through not only our country but our neighbors, and for that I my heart beats in a panic it never has before.
I feel desperate because I am often at a loss of what to do, of how to remain myself in a world I hardly recognize. I suppose I used to see the world through child-like eyes, a hope held in my heart that at its core, the earth was a place where people cared for one another. I feel hopeless because my heart feels so distant from that dream, so far away in fact that I can’t even squint to see it. I am desperate to keep a grasp on the love I once saw in the world, but in the past week it has felt eons away.
I am embarrassed because I will never be able to provide an explanation for the events that took place, and those that are yet to come. I hurt for the children who will see a bully in office, for the little girls who will continue to watch the news and see a man who is as far from them as he could possibly be. I am embarrassed of a country that allowed this happen to those whose voices need to be heard, and I am embarrassed that you, relatives whom I love with my whole heart, contributed to the pain so many are feeling.
I suppose most of all I am confused. I am confused because the world I thought I knew seems to have crumbled in front of my eyes, taking with it relatives I trust and love. I am confused because I no longer know what my future holds for me, for many, and I’m still figuring out what I can do to support the ideas and the morals with which I anchor myself. I am sad and fearful and desperate, I am embarrassed and I am confused, and I am angry because of it.
But does anger stay forever? Not in the slightest. Right now my heart beats in a way it rarely does, but soon the crashing will ease to a steady thump, and I will continue to live a life upholding the beliefs I hold so near to my heart—ideas of justice, of kindness, of acceptance and equality and freedom for ALL. You too will come out of this election and continue to live by your beliefs, whatever that means for you. The truth is I suppose, nothing will ever change the rift between who we are, how we were raised, what we hold in our hearts as the truth, but what also doesn’t change is love. We may see the world differently; we may have different hopes for it, but at the core of everything we are family, and family doesn’t give up on one another that easily. All I hope is that we can begin to see one another’s point of view, how this big change affects our lives and our wellbeing and our future, so here is mine.
Above all, we all deserve a community, a country, a world who accepts us exactly as we are. Whether conservative, liberal, libertarian or green party or anything in between, we deserve a place where we can be happy, where we can be healthy, where we can be safe and open and free. We deserve a world that welcomes us with open arms, a world where we love our neighbors as ourselves. To my relatives who voted for Donald Trump, I am working to understand, and I’m hoping you can do the same for me. I love you.