Breaking Bread in the Trump Era

These last few weeks, I have been feeling frustrated, angry, scared, and heartbroken.  Growing up in highly conservative communities, I have always had several friends who had differing political viewpoints than my own.  And yet, I have been struggling to feel any sort of compassion or warmth towards people on the opposing side and that hasn’t felt right to me.  I want to be accepting; I want to be open; I want to be inclusive.  This past weekend brought me back to that reality.

In the name of Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend, Torrey, and I headed to a cozy cabin in the Redwoods.  When we arrived at the check-in office, I started chatting away with Martin, one of the owners of the property.  Within the next few hours of our stay, different circumstances lead us back to the office and we were hitting it off with Martin.  Torrey and I were later grilling outside our cabin and Martin came over with a bottle of Jameson.  We hung out, sharing our stories and different philosophies and in those few hours, we became genuine friends. 

Later that night, Martin knocked on our door inviting us over for quesadillas and to listen to him play the drums.  While Martin and I walked over to his house, he turned to me and said he had two things to share that I wouldn’t like.    

“The first is I smoke cigarettes.  And the second is I voted for Trump.”

The strangest thing happened to me in that moment: I didn’t actually care.  And that felt so good.  I have been feeling so fearful and divided from Trump supporters and it felt good to just not give a shit about who someone voted for.  

I don’t know why Martin voted for Trump.  I don’t know how Martin feels about our current political climate.  And I don’t know if he agrees with what Trump has done these past few weeks.  But I do know that in the short time we grew to know each other, he was genuinely kind and respectful.  

This past election revealed that our country is divided…  How are we going to resolve that?  I don’t have a scientific solution to share with you and to me, there isn’t one.  I believe our individual kind actions towards each other can lead to a collective unified nation.  I believe that we are not powerful as a nation when we are broken internally and individually.  None of this may be groundbreaking to you.  But hopefully in the midst of how you’re feeling, it’s a reminder to stay open and accepting regardless of what we face in these upcoming years.

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