The differences in beliefs between political parties are many, absolutely. Despite that vast list, though, we all have the same, or similar, ultimate goal—a thriving, successful, strong, innovative country. None of us likes poverty. None of us likes hunger. We like when our country is healthy. We like when our country is happy. We just happen to have differing ideals regarding the trajectory of making those things happen. But like I said—same goal. There’s no reason to end a relationship due to conflicting party affiliations.
Even when it comes to divisive, polarizing social issues, this donkey can still hang with the elephants. Because I understand their intent. Republicans are historically pro-life. The majority of the party subscribes to the belief that human life begins at conception. That life, they say, is no less significant than the owner of the uterus in which it inhabits. Therefore, ending the life of a fetus at any point after its conception would constitute murder. Personally, I (along with the majority of the Democratic Party) do not agree. I do not believe an embryo constitutes human life on the same scale as a living, breathing being. I believe in a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy in the first trimester for any reason and into the second (or rare cases third) trimester if absolutely medically necessary. I believe it is her choice. However. I understand the pro-life logic. I understand that you think an embryo is a human life. I understand the passionate opposition you must have to abortion given that fact. I don’t like murder either. I get it. I just don’t happen to think abortion is. But I get it. And I respect your right to feel that way, and I sure as hell won’t end my relationship with you over our conflicting ideology.
Republicans like guns. Firearms—the mascot of the GOP. One gun, two gun, red gun, blue gun—a fun alternative to a Dr. Seuss classic if you’re ever in a bind. I don’t like guns. I don’t like them at all. I’m not comfortable around them nor do I have even the slightest idea of how to properly use one. That should probably disqualify me from purchasing one. In many states, though, it doesn’t. I’d like that to change. The Democratic Party would like that to change. We’d like—brace yourselves—stricter gun control laws. But restriction does not the GOP like. No one touches their guns. Like I said, guns aren’t my cup of weaponry, but I understand the desire for self-protection. I understand the need for comfort and peace of mind in your own home. And if your idea of a good time is shooting shit in the backwoods for kicks and giggles, then go nuts. I don’t like guns—but I get why you do. And hopefully one day, we can even reach some middle ground on access laws and restriction. Who knows? Republicans and Democrats coming together as one. Elephants and donkeys, red and blue. For the good of the people. Imagine!
The differences between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals could fill a stadium. A big one, too, not just some rinky dink high school shenanigans. A real arena we’re talking here. But, again, ultimately we have the same goals. So, we can all be pals. I have a number of Republican friends—you can’t grow up in uber-conservative West Michigan or graduate from a school like Notre Dame and escape without at least a few. So, be a Republican. I will not cut someone out of my life based on a matter of party affiliation. I will not cut you out of my life for being a Republican. But I will cut you out of my life if you support Donald Trump.
And there is a difference between identifying as a Republican and supporting the current Republican president. A bigass one. Donald Trump is an outright disgrace to this country. To humanity at large. He’s a disgrace to the Republican party. I mean, come on, you guys are better than this shit. To support Donald Trump is not indicative of your party affiliation—it’s indicative of a fundamental character flaw.
In the history of this country, we have never encountered a more intolerant, misogynistic, pathological liar. We have never boasted a president so closely and suspiciously aligned with one of the most controversial regimes in the world. Aside from his Snugglefest with Putin, Trump has been under official FBI investigation for his alleged collusion with Russia.
From the date of his inauguration through March 1st, he told a lie or a falsehood every day. Seriously. Every. Single. Day. He lied for 40 days straight. He didn’t stop after that or anything, it’s just a personal and historical record. Fret not, he’s still going. Like that time he accused Obama of wire-tapping Trump Tower. Or claimed to have always been opposed to the war in the Middle East. Or when he claimed to have signed more bills through the legislature than any president ever. Did someone say “alternative facts?” It’s kind of no wonder his approval rating is sitting pretty at 36. Of course, he rounded that up to 40.
Finally, we move on to our favorite part of the show: misogyny. It’s hard to pick a favorite objectifying or sexist remark—there are just so many to choose from, you know? Like that time he gave us a lesson in intimacy and romance, being quoted as saying to, “grab her by the pussy.” He’s also an expert in chivalry, asserting that, “you have to treat them like shit.” Of course, there’s always the incest factor, praising his daughter’s physical figure and “joking” about dating her himself.
Let’s do some rapid fire now, shall we?
In 2011, he called a female journalist a “dog.” In 2012, he criticized Arianna Huffington’s looks, attributing her being “unattractive” to “why her former husband left her for a man.” In 2013, on his beloved show The Apprentice, he was quoted as saying to a female contestant, “it must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knees.” Fast forward to 2015 when he tweeted about Hillary’s “inability to satisfy her husband” as evidence of her incompetence to lead a country. Megyn Kelly grilled him that same year on sexism, to which he responded by calling her a “bimbo” and alluding to her questioning being a result of her menstruation. Most recently, our wholesome president made headlines for inappropriately ogling the physique of French First Lady Brigitte Trogneux, saying she was, “in such good shape…beautiful.” Classy guy.
I don’t know how you play baseball, but in most cases, it’s strike three and you’re out. In fact, back in grade school softball, they started us with a 1-1 count (you know, to reduce the time any person should willingly have to spend watching grade school children’s sporting events). So, really, I’m being lenient here.
But just for fun, let’s roll out one more. Last week, Donald Trump formally announced (read: tweeted) a ban on transgendered individuals from serving in the United States armed forces with the following message:
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow………Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming……..victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”
Just when you thought he couldn’t stoop any lower, the proverbial limbo bar is dropped, and he shimmies his way under. What a guy. Not only does this draft-dodging transphobe blatantly disrespect an entire group of marginalized people, he takes it a step further to outright dismiss the approximately 12,800 transgendered citizens currently serving in our military. His excuses are laughable and readily refutable. Donald Trump, along with some who support his ban, call the inclusion of transgendered soldiers a “social experiment” set to cost billions of dollars in increased healthcare costs that will affect “unit cohesion.” Which is a whopping load of shit.
Transgender-specific healthcare is actually estimated to cost a maximum of $8.4 million per year. The United States spends more than triple that on Viagra alone each year. I don’t see any guys getting tossed for only being able to fly their flags at half-mast. Furthermore, the removal of current transgendered military personnel will actually impose a significant cost, the money invested in their skills and training completely thrown away. A letter signed yesterday by 56 top-ranking military officials condemns Trump’s decision and demands it be reversed. They argue that not only will this ban cause critical disruptions, but it will deprive the military of mission-critical talent. An estimated 6,630 transgendered people currently serve on active duty with an estimated 4,000 in select reserve. Transgendered troops have been serving honorably and openly for the past year and have been widely praised by commanders. That should be the end of it. Done. Case closed.
But, of course, it’s not. This ban is not about unit cohesion. It’s not about performance or about disruptive behavior. This is a ban of prejudice. And that’s not okay.
Donald Trump has spoken; he has looked the epitome of courage and bravery in the face and said, “you are not good enough.” That’s not okay.
Disrespecting American soldiers? Ball four, Mr. Trump. Take a walk.
Politics have always intrigued me. They’re so ostensibly complex, almost too much so for the average citizen to want to invest his/her time trying to follow the current political climate. Unfortunately, in light of the endless bombardment of political happenings streaming through any and every media platform, they’re inescapable. You can’t hide from the complexities of politics any longer. And they are complex, don’t get me wrong, they’re complex as hell. But this year, this season, in this atmosphere, it truly only boils down to one thing—love. Yeah, I said it. Love. As hippity dippity as that sounds, stay with me for a pinch.
Now, I’m by no means suggesting a country can be run on love. That’s a bit ludicrous, even for this hippie. You can’t run a country simply on love alone.
But you can’t run it on hate, either. You cannot lead the free world under a platform encouraging intolerance, misogyny, ethnocentrism, and bigotry. You cannot lead the free world under a platform of discrimination, racism, and fear. You cannot run a country on hate.
You run a country under a platform rooted in love. You lead the free world under a platform encouraging tolerance, equality, and the celebration of diversity. You lead the free world under a platform of inclusion, welcoming, and security.
You run a country under a platform rooted in love.
You cannot run a country on hate—yet that’s exactly what Donald Trump is doing. He ran a campaign designed to prey on fear, a campaign rife with discrimination and intolerance. His presidency is marred by misogyny, racism, and prejudice. That’s not what our country stands for. That’s not what the Democratic Party stands for. And that’s not what his own party stands for.
Be a Republican all you want, that’s not the problem. We’re no longer facing the age-old battle of Democrats vs. Republicans. The battle now lies between two camps—those who oppose Donald Trump and those who support him. Supporting Donald Trump is not indicative of one’s party affiliation—it’s indicative of one’s character. Be a Conservative all you want. Register as a Republican. We can still be bros.
But support Donald Trump? You’re out. Gone. Ta-ta. Adios. See ya.
The Republican Party and Donald Trump are not one in the same. You can be a Republican without supporting your current Republican president. Because to support Trump is to support hate. They say you are who your friends are. And if your friends include our current president, you, too, take on the labels of misogynist, bigot, and pathological liar. To support Donald Trump is to support hate. Period.
It has been said that how you love is who you are. We’re all imperfect. We all suck sometimes. We’re mean and selfish and downright yucky. But what it really comes down to at the end of this whole thing is pretty simple.
How did you love? How did you love when you were here? Did you love without judgment? Did you love without fear or intolerance? Did you love the marginalized groups? The outcasts? Did you love without restriction? Did you love with everything you had? With every part of you?
Or did you love only the ones like you? The ones who looked the same and talked the same. Did you love with discrimination? Did you love with prejudice? Did you love only those you deemed worthy? And if so, what happened to the rest of them? The immigrants, the homosexuals, the transsexuals? Did you love them?
If you support Donald Trump, the answer is no. How you love is who you are. And if you support Donald Trump, you love with prejudice. You love with restriction.
Really, you don’t love at all.
And that’s not a legacy worthy of my respect. That’s not a person worthy of my respect.
I will not cut you out of my life for holding political beliefs that differ from my own. I will not cut you out of my life because you identify as a Republican.
But if you support Donald Trump, I have no place in my life for you. If you willingly choose hate over love, I have no place in my life for you. To support Trump is not a matter of political affiliation, but a matter of character. A fundamentally flawed character. I have no place for that in my life.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. And I-I took the one rooted in love (and without Trump). And that has made all the difference.