To My Liberal Friends

January 8, 2017 at 10:53 pm

I wrote what follows (including the endnote) in the days immediately following the election of Donald Trump.  At the time, for whatever reason, I chose not to publish it.  Now that some time has passed, and I hope everyone has found their footing following the initial shock, I am.  Rereading this, I still stand by it.  I think it’s important to put this out there.  I think in the realm of political discourse we frequently forget that we are all human beings.  So here it is…

I have a lot of mixed feelings and thoughts on this election outcome.  I have conservative friends who are ecstatic.  I have libertarian friends who are cautiously hopeful that Trump will be better than Clinton.  And of course, I have liberal friends who are devastated and literally in tears over their loss.

As a libertarian, I find myself stuck in the middle.  While I am not sad that Hillary Clinton lost this election, I am disheartened, disappointed, and ashamed that Donald Trump won it.  I empathize with both sides.  I can’t say that I fully relate to how any other individual is feeling, as I’m not them.  My feelings are mixed.  I’m not a Bible-belt Republican jumping for joy.  I’m not a black, LGBTQ progressive liberal raked with grief either. I’m a white, heterosexual male.  According to a number of individuals on the Left, this precludes me from having a valid opinion.  I will not pretend that I can put myself in the shoes of a black woman, a gay man, or an immigrant without papers.  I can’t.  Those experiences are not mine.  I would like to think that I’m capable of empathizing with what these people are feeling right now, but I fully acknowledge that I may not be able to.  Still, I mean no harm or offense in trying.  To some, the tears and grief seem like an overreaction to the outcome.  I do not think it is appropriate or kind to be so dismissive.  My liberal friends on social media have been passing around suicide hotline information.  This is serious.  An election should not cause thoughts of suicide.  The fact that it does is scary.  It is my deepest hope that no one with that thought acts upon it. These people deserve to be heard, they deserve to express their fears, and they deserve compassion and respect.  I don’t know what the future will bring. I won’t tell you everything will be “ok”.  I can’t know that.  What I can tell you, is that I’m here for you if I can help and that I will stand in defense of your unalienable rights as if they were my own.


Endnote: I thought about deleting this post a number of times while I was writing it.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit some fear that it will be taken the wrong way and do more harm than good, or that I’ve made some misstep of ignorance, or insensitivity in the writing. I sincerely hope not. For some reason that escapes me I felt compelled to write this. I think perhaps I feel somewhat guilty for the outcome of this election, despite having no direct involvement in it.  Perhaps it’s just guilt stemming from being a citizen of the same country that elected this man. In any case, I’ve tried to be open and honest about my thoughts and feelings, acknowledging to the best of my ability their limits.  I hope if words have failed me that my intent still shows through.

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