I'm A Trump Supporter — And I Think It's Time We Stop Judging Each Other Based On Politics Alone

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four white people yell at each other through bull horns about politics

I am a proud Southern Republican, pro-gun Christian and a strong Trump supporter. I am also caucasian and a female.

With that one statement, many of you may have already decided what you think of me and how you feel about what I’ve written. Maybe you’ve already decided whether I’m a friend or enemy and whether you will agree or disagree with my views and what I’m about to say.

In this current political environment, so many people are ready to support or attack others simply based upon some binary, superficial metric.

The sad truth is that’s what we have reduced each other to: Democrats or Republicans; Liberals or Conservatives; black or white; friend or enemy - leaving us divided and angry.  

Altogether, It feels like we are fighting so intensely to, effectively, dehumanize each other by creating and applying labels, often making harsh assumptions without a civil question asked of each other.

All the while becoming defensive, reacting emotionally to others and angrily judging one another. 

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Recently I realized I was acting defensively about certain Facebook posts about the riots at the Capitol. Through the realization, I was forced to look at what was causing me to feel anger toward friends who believe differently. I chose to reflect upon why I felt the need to become defensive and react emotionally.

The truth is, I actually agree with some of those opinions. While I may not agree with the way their opinions were worded, I agreed with some of the points they were making.

So why did I feel attacked and defensive? Why did I feel the need to respond? 

The specific social media post content involved the storming of the U.S. Capitol building.

It wasn’t personal. 

It didn’t go against my beliefs. 

I, along with a great majority of Republicans and Trump supporters, was disturbed and disgusted by what happened. 

My friends weren’t there, I wasn’t there, and none of those people represent me.  

So why was I so upset? I quickly realized that I was upset because of the labels and the assumptions that were being presented about republicans — the political party that I, for the most part, support. I felt I was being attacked because of the actions of others just because we share that label.

With that one label, many people have assumed they know my character and my heart’s motives. Even more, they assume I’m “all those horrible things” that they associate with the political party they have come to see as the enemy. 

Just to be clear, I realize the labels and assumptions go both ways. Republicans also unfairly label democrats and make unfair assumptions. 

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Here is the problem as I discovered it: very few of these types of assumptions and labels we have are accurate! 

Think for a moment with me: Do the people you personally know really think and behave the way the extremes of their party think and behave? 

If so, it’s more likely a result of some character flaw of the individuals, rather than due to their political affiliation.

The extremes of any political party generally represent the loudest and wildest of us, not the heartbeat of our nation. Yet these labels have somehow come to define the segments of “us” in the worst light.

Altogether, an attack on any aspect of our political party tends to bring out our defensive nature, and I believe it is this dangerous “all or nothing mentality” that is dividing us and causing us to turn on one another.  

Within all of these dynamics, we are witnessing the worst of both parties.

Somehow, we justify or ignore the actions of our own parties and masquerade the truth with our constant back and forth dialogue of, “Yes it wasn’t right, but what about when your side did this?” 

It’s natural to have a self-serving bias and accept that which supports our views while dismissing anything that goes against them. The result is a constant back and forth of “expert opinions” from both sides with the truth often lying somewhere in the middle. 

Even more, we’ve managed to marginalize our individuality and personal accountability, thus becoming accustomed to accepting bad behavior by our own parties while holding the other party accountable for all the world’s problems.

What a mess of dynamics and behavior we have allowed to overtake us.

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The truth is, voting for a candidate does not mean you agree 100% with them.

I don’t even agree with myself 100% of the time. I may agree with 60% of what a candidate stands for and 45% of what the other stands for. That leaves a lot of room for disagreement with the candidate I vote for and a lot of room to agree with what you believe

Yes, I support Trump. No, I do not think it is perfectly fine to say “grab 'em by the p@#%y" or to do any of the other horrible, offensive things he’s said and done. 

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I did not vote for Trump because I find him charming, nor was I drawn in by his magnetic and refined personality and I have no desire to defend his every action.

I voted for Trump because I believed (right or wrong) that he would be most likely to keep us safe from foreign threats and terrorist attacks and that he would improve the economy.

I value safety and economic stability. Thus, I felt Trump offered the best possibility of paving the way to a more secure and economically prosperous life for all of us.

But people have looked at my social media profiles and allowed one or more simple aspects of my life to define me: That I am a Trump-supporting republican.

I have been called everything from racist, poor-hater, anti-Semite, and a disgusting child-cager. Interestingly, all of these comments have been made by people I’ve never met.

All because of one label.

Interestingly, there are many things about me that you may not expect based on a superficial description of me.

Here are just a few examples: I have many relatives who are in interracial relationships, which I completely support. I have given money to people who are in the United States illegally.

I have called corporate offices when I saw instances of racism. I have donated to two transgender women to help with the cost of their gender-affirming medical care for transition. I donated money early on to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

I am an empath, I feel others' pain to an excruciating level. I am a vegan because I can’t stand the thought of any living being suffering and would never harm or take a life for my personal wants or allow anyone to do so on my behalf. I am a Libra with a strong need for what is fair and just.

I could list more, but none of my kind gestures or donations prove anything good about me. Who I am, as a person, cannot be simplified like that. 

In the same way, I’m none of the things I get called simply because of my political views. But that’s what I’m reduced to in the eyes of some people.

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After this soul searching, I want to sincerely apologize to people I lashed out at on social media after the insurrection.

It was out of frustration, not out of intolerance. I believe we’re all just doing the best we can while navigating through unprecedented circumstances. Through it all, I’m learning to step back and ask myself what I hope to accomplish before I act. 

The answer is never “I hope to alienate friends, upset people, make people feel bad, and stir up trouble!”

Of course, most of us understand that these are the probable outcomes when opinions are expressed with anger instead of with the intention of improving understanding.

So how do we change this? 

First, I want to say that I appreciate anyone who has been willing to read this with an open mind. You may not agree with my views and opinions on politics, and I understand that. I respect it, even.

But I’m hoping that you can open yourself up to the possibility that I am coming from a place of thoughtfulness, with good intentions for all of America. I hope you are willing to see how we might be more alike in our hopes and dreams for this country than you might otherwise expect — despite how strongly we differ in our political perspectives.

In other words, I am hoping you are willing to separate me, as a human being, from my political views. Just because we might disagree vehemently on politics, I am wondering if you can suspend your judgment of me as Ann, a woman who loves deeply, is fiercely loyal, who tries hard to be kind and generous to friends, family and strangers, along with the million other things that make me human.

I’m thinking that the biggest differences between you and me, strictly politically speaking, are the steps we believe are necessary to achieve these collective goals for America. 

Furthermore, I’m not trying to make excuses for my views and opinions, or to  justify my behavior when I’ve acted impulsively instead of rationally.

I know that we are each responsible for our actions.

Rather than placing blame, I am trying to be self-reflective and take responsibility where I judged others, got defensive or became emotionally reactive by lashing out on others whose opinions or perspectives were hostile to mine or to the Republican Party in general.

My goal is express myself with the hopes of being heard and to foster greater understanding.

Walt Whitman is said to have advised, “be curious, not judgmental.” I think that’s good advice - especially for these trying times.

I would also add this wisdom from Paulo Coelho to help us come together as friends and family members with different political views in the days and months ahead:

“We can never judge the lives of others because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho

I hope that my explanation will be received in a non-confrontational way, as my only goal here is to foster unity, understanding, and acceptance of our differences.

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Ann is the founder-CEO of a small startup cruelty-free cosmetic line based in Kennesaw, Ga. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her rescue dogs, catching up with friends, or traveling.