Why I Can’t — And Won’t — Be Friends With Trump Supporters Ever Again

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rioters climb the walls of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021

Well, I did it. After watching pro-Trump criminal rioters break into the Capitol on Wednesday, January 6th, I unfriended Trump supporters, including close friends.

In some ways, it felt good — freeing — but it was also painful. 

One of the people I unfriended this past week was someone I considered a very dear friend, who I’ve known for over 20 years. Someone who was like family, even though life, relationships, work and kids, has kept us distant for the last few years. 

We weren’t as close as we had been, but she was someone who I could sit down with after three or six or even twelve months and feel like no time at all had passed. We would laugh until it hurt and I could cry on her shoulder.

If you’d asked me who my closest and oldest friends are, she would have been one of the first people to come my mind.

Over the last 4 years I've watched her turn into someone I barely knew.

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We’d texted as recently as this summer saying things like, “We need to get together soon”, “Let’s celebrate our birthdays”, and “Miss your face.” 

As much as I have wanted to get together, I knew things just wouldn’t be the same.

What would we even talk about? No matter how much we’d try to avoid it, the subject of politics and Trump always seem to come up these days, and over time, we both knew we weren’t the closest friends anymore.

Or at least I knew it. 

Sure, she is a white woman, married to a white business owner. Aside from the occasional joke, it was never a factor in our relationship. We were different, of course, but I thought that’s what made us closer.

We could be so different and be so close and that’s how things should be.

But to me, the events happening right now with Trump are personal because I am a Hispanic woman with immigrant grandparents. 

To me it is personal because I have Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ friends and family. 

The author and her daughter

But it should be personal to all of us, and I'm shocked that some people found it completely justifiable this past week to threaten lives and breach a sacred institution. They found it perfectly justifiable to put our elected officials in danger.

Five people died, and one was a police officer!

Many brush it off, saying that everyone has the right to protest, but these same people always seem to find justification when a Black man is shot in cold blood by law enforcement, even if he was being peaceful. These same people say nothing is happening on one side that isn’t happening on the other, but they were certainly singing another tune this summer during Black Lives Matter protests.

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Some people might wonder why I can’t just “agree to disagree”, and I’ll admit I tried this for a while. But I couldn’t, in good conscience, continue that mindset.

After everything that has happened up to this point, continuing to support someone like Donald Trump, means that you also support all that he stands for. 

I cannot say that is the same for every candidate or president. Obviously, they aren’t all perfect and at times we feel like we have to vote for the lesser of two evils, but when Trump came along, he was the worst of the worst — and he just kept getting worse as the days, months, years went on.

I can be forgiving of Trump voters if they made a mistake the first time. I can give them a pass.

But it’s different if you’re still a supporter today and you voted for him again. You just don’t make that kind of mistake twice, not with all the evidence and proof against this man. 

The truth is, I don't understand how good people can still support Trump.

He has actively tried to remove protections for people I care about: Black people, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, you name it. 

It seems that if you aren’t white you simply don’t matter to this president. If you are not white, I feel like you are not defended, and you are even actively harmed by this man.

When I read or hear someone I care about defending Trump, I just think, "You, my friend, are OK with that?"

Well, I’m not. 

I'm always shocked when people dare defend Trump with so-called Christian talking points. The first time I heard this rationale my jaw just about hit the ground. This man is the contradiction of everything Christian.

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I get that some of my friends are Republican, I’ve never had an issue with this whatsoever. You’re conservative, I’m ok with that, and this is where I can agree to disagree.

But that’s as far as I can budge. When your values diminish the value of another human being, it is no longer simply being "conservative" and I can no longer agree to disagree. You may wish we could, but when it comes to the value of every human being being equal, I won't compromise. 

A lot of the friends I’ve cut off in the last year don’t see how politics are also personal. 

They don’t get that for me it is very personal. My very best friend on the planet is gay and Black. I have a family member who has come out as transgender recently. Another, also a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

I worry about their safety and wellbeing more than I do my own. Our government has done nothing to protect any of them, in fact, they’ve devalued their lives and put them at risk.

The hypocrisy is another reason I have unfriended and cut off people who voted for Trump. 

I cannot tell you how many people on my Facebook timeline were outraged at Colin Kapernick for taking a knee during the national anthem and outraged at the groups of Black men and women and their allies who took to the streets to demand justice for the people of color who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement. 

Then, this week, those same people justify this uprising, even calling it a “peaceful protest”. There was nothing peaceful about it and they are 100% to blame for the five lives that were lost. 

Was there violence and chaos and rioting this summer during the BLM protests? Yes, there was — from both the protestors and their counter-protestors, the same MAGA-types who showed up at the Capitol with guns, pipe bombs and with a gallows and noose, which they built on public property.

The difference is I didn’t condone the damage done by a few BLM protestors. It wasn’t ok then and it’s not ok now.  

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One of the foundations of MAGA thinking is that there was a time in American history where times were better. Where people were happier and could say and do what they wanted. They think if we went back to those times, we could all be friends again.

But there’s no going back to that. The first reason is that they don’t realize it was never “great” for a lot of people back then.

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It was great for white people, sure. They just don’t realize how not-great it was for the rest of the country, and I just cannot be friends with people who think a time when so many people suffered was actually great. 

They don’t realize that their so-called friends who are Black and Brown, gay, female and any other minority experienced hardship & prejudice. 

Was it great when schools were segregated? Was it great when women weren’t allowed to vote, or Black people, for that matter? What greatness are they striving for, exactly?

They don’t realize how hard some of us have had to fight to achieve just a fraction of the success that white privilege catapults them to.

Now that I know who these former friends of mine are, and what they stand for, I just can’t be friends with them the same way. 

I don’t see them the same way and I don’t want to pretend that they are the same people I used to believe them to be. 

I’m sure I could just keep my mouth shut and they’ll keep theirs shut on the issues and we can move forward and have a drink and have a laugh at non-issues. 

But in the back of my mind I’ll know, I’ll always know, who they are and how they feel about the things that really matter to me.

I know how little they really think of me and people like me. What they think of liberals, people who only want equality for themselves and everyone else. I know now what they think about people who aren’t just like them.

So, no. We can’t be friends if that’s how you really, truly feel and if you won’t listen to reasoning other than your own. 

I sometimes wonder what I am even fighting for when those closest to me can’t hear me.

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I have asked myself if this is this a hasty decision. Can I try to see what they could possibly be fighting for? What are they seeing that I am not?

I ask myself these questions because I try to be fair. That is, after all, what I’m asking of them. I ask you to hear me, so let me hear you. 

But maybe, like with the case of the close friend I just lost this past week, I’m reaching. I’m trying so hard to not lose a 23-year friendship that I have cared for so deeply, for so long. But at the end of the day, I know that I am on the right side of history and if people refuse to be here with me, so be it.

And yeah, it hurts, badly.

It hurts me and I know it hurts all the friends I’ve had to cut out of my life. 

But I want a different life, a better life, a greater life, for me and my family, my friends, and the people whose voices have been ignored. 

Sadly, that life doesn’t include people who will stand in our way.

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Amanda Rangel is a full-time property manager, mother and grandmother (Yaya), "fun aunt", and dog mom who loves to travel but is afraid to fly. She lives in Michigan with her German Shepherd, Tony Stark.