Trump’s Troops: Some are our family and friends

It is easy to vilify those who think different from us. It is easy to lump them all together as ‘they’ against ‘us’. It is easy to de-friend them on Facebook; stop crossing path with them; stay away from them.

But. But these are our family and friends! The fact that we do not understand, cannot fathom, will never agree with them should not – cannot – mean we disown them.

… and maybe – just maybe – as we engage them in dialogue (and listening) we will gain a sense of why they think like they do. Not that we’ll ‘agree’. (Not likely.) Rather, that we will hold our own pride in check and humbly – and genuinely – listen to their stories, frustrations, anxieties, angst, and aspirations.

(… and, yes: Do it without expecting they do the same.)

One step in that direction might be to stay away from charged language. Don’t use the words you know are laden with pre-conceived negativism. Rather, dialogue from the position of love, showing empathy, care, and authenticity.

(… and, yes: Do it without expecting they do the same. If they do, great! If they don’t that’s ok too.)

It occurs to me that I have always advocated dialogue and diplomacy with enemies and dictators – including the Castros. (And, I’ve always advocated the positive results of ‘people-to-people’ exchanges with those with who we disagree.) So, it would be rather hypocritical of me not to reach out and try to find where my agenda intersects with the Trump supporters.

I do find that humanizing your opposition does help in establishing this dialogue and diplomacy. We do not need to tear them down to make ourselves big. They do not need to be ‘wrong’ for us to be ‘right’. Acknowledging equality of humanity does not have to excuse bad behavior… But, ultimately, we are indeed all humans.

I have real life examples of family and friends with which I am trying – albeit probably unsuccessfully – taking this approach. These are real people with amazing capacity to love. Thus, I am hopeful and prayful they will do the right thing… I am NOT trying to ‘convert’ them. That would be disingenuous. I am trying to have them see the opposition – us dissidents – as real people too. As their family and friends.

[] One is a niece who is totally committed to the cause Trump spouses and clearly sees him as the champion of those causes – and capable of causing change. She is a wonderful mother and wife and seeks nothing more than what she believes is best for family and country.

[] A second is a couple that are God fearing, committed Catholics and see in a Republican Congress (with a marginal Republican President) their best hope to reverse certain social agenda initiatives – and Roe v. Wade. They are wonderful parents and a beautiful family.

[] A third is a local businessman who has strong conservative economic views and sees over-regulation and the like as hurting his bottom line. He sees Trump as a businessman who will understand his plight. He is a wonderful community activist and a great addition to our community.

My hope is that as they – being in ‘power’ – affirm their positions, contact their congressperson, and write letters to Mr. Trump, they will know more, they will have been exposed to other perspectives, they will approach their actions with a tad broader grasp – and a more expansive perspective of their action.

(… and, yes: That is my hope.)

p.s.: This approach in no way shape or form condones or normalizes the extremists (on either side) who insult and demean… (And that – of course – includes President Trump.)