Not My Job - By Kim Flodin
Liberals should reach out to Trump voters, listen to what they’re saying, how they’re feeling. That’s a message I’ve been hearing lately even from The New York Times’ op-ed pages.
I barely had time to read that piece. I’m too busy helping my Muslim, naturalized citizen husband find an immigration lawyer to advise him whether to leave his phone at home when he goes on a business trip to Canada next week. I don’t have the energy to talk a Trump-supporting friend down from his fence because I’m preoccupied with reassuring my daughter that she has a future here in the country of her birth despite perverse notions about her faith that “her” president is advancing. Sorry, I’m a little tied up taking to the streets because most of the young women in my life depend on Planned Parenthood services for a great degree of their health care, as I once did.
At first I hung in there with some reluctant Trump voters. I pointed out the Affordable Care Act is saving people I love from living without its safety net. I emphasized that my chronically ill foster daughter needs Medicaid for her rare and very expensive drugs. I assured them that, no, sharia law (religious Islamic principals) is not a pending threat to middle America.
I listened to what they said— a high school classmate, a cousin, among others. A shocking number of these folks are not having second thoughts about this administration’s anti- agenda (anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ, anti-environment, anti-American). Instead they are ducking behind its cover to let their freak flags fly high and their statements have become racist, delusional, ugly and mean. My Facebook defriend button has never been so busy. Heartsick, I wonder if this is what they long thought about my family and me (and sadly I’m quoting from their various social media feeds): “Muslim savages,” “libtards,” “low-lifes.” Or, did they consider us the “good” exception? Who wants to negotiate with that?
Why compromise my moral center and my family’s very well being when the demographics are going the progressive way despite the doom and gloom of today? Granted, we have formidable obstacles, be it the Electoral College or gerrymandering and it will be a long fight. But in the end, we’ll win. I feel it in the invigorated energy of new activists, in the alliances being made between formerly siloed groups—white liberals and Black Lives Matter, Muslims and Jews, older progressives and young millennials. And if we don't win, I’ll die defending something noble rather than making friends with someone so morally lazy she complains that her movie experiences are ruined because Meryl Streep spoke up about the horror of a presidential candidate mocking a disabled man.
Liberals like me are fighting in the streets, in the press, in the courts and in congressional town halls. And if that makes Joe and Jane Squishy Trump Supporter uncomfortable, tough. The noise is paying off. Democrat leaders are stiffening their spines. Some iconic Republican leaders are speaking up, too. Trump’s approval ratings are in the toilet. Several serious GOPers are reconsidering running for the Senate mid-term because of those numbers. Republican House members are hiding from their constituents in places like Utah and Indiana and looking like cowards to their future voters.
Of course I work with anyone who believes in the basic decency of our nation and human and civil rights, and that does not mean agreeing with my every policy position. But if you are actively hateful or just cravenly accepting this administration’s unseemly circus to get your conservative agenda passed, I have no intention of talking to you. I’m saving my energy to get you the hell out of power.