Dear Cousin – Consider My Side

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Dear Cousin,

We are in a divided family. We have not lived in the “bubble” that many talked about after the election. I have many family and friends that supported Donald Trump. I also have many family and friends who did not.

So, as we enter the new era of Donald Trump, I ask you to read this and understand my fear with the new administration. My opposition to what Trump stands for has nothing to do with the fact that “I lost” the election and everything to do with the fact that the ideals that I hold closest to my heart, those beliefs that I am teaching my children, are at risk.  Ironically, you hold those same ideals, but life has taken you on a different path, which has led you to different conclusions.

I know our lives took different paths, but we are equally successful in our careers and our lives.  And, the foundation we were raised on is the same.  You are just a few months older than me.  We ran together. We played together.  We grew up together, a few houses away from each other. We each had three kids. Our grandmother showed us what unconditional love is. What kindness and respect are. Our family taught us to question the status quo. To stand up for what we believe.  BUT, our family wasn’t always the best at listening to dissenting opinions.

So in that same vein, I ask you to hear me today. I do not oppose Donald Trump because he won. I oppose Trump and his administration because his views run completely counter to what I believe is right:

  • Trump does not truly understand the big issues of our country. He knows the Cliff Notes version that people tell him, which is ok for a CEO but not for the man who holds the nuclear codes.
  • Trump is impulsive in his actions and reactions. He does not stop and think about what he says – as evidenced in his Twitter feed – and in a global position of leadership, that has real implications.
  • He has surrounded himself with people who think exactly like him and refuses to listen to outside points of view.  His views also do not represent the American majority, as evidenced by the thousands, possibly millions of protesters.
  • Those things that I hold dear – equality, education, women’s rights, immigration,  the environment, the economy – he opposes or attacks the ideas that aren’t his own while completely ignoring hard facts put in front of him.
  • He is not a leader. He is a dictator who belittles and degrades anyone who disagrees with him. He is not presidential but cruel and vindictive. He is unlike any president – Democrat or Republican – that I have every seen.

I know our country isn’t perfect. I know that you are excited about the changes that he might bring. I hope that he surprises me. Our country needs him to be more than he has shown himself to be so far – which is what will make him truly presidential.

However, our country was founded on the protests of British civilians less than 250 years ago. The  right to protest when you disagree on a topic is what allows us to be proud to be American. The British loyalists in the 1700s must have thought the Americans were “cry babies” and “poor losers” and “…”, but the founders of our country, including some of our first presidents, started as people protesting what they believed  to be wrong.

So you and your friends can call me anything you want. It does not hurt me because they are only words, but just as you had a right to protest what you thought was wrong with this country with your vote, I too have the right to protest the actions, but not the office, of the man – who is still just a man – who will set the path for my country for the next four years.  He is not beyond reproach, and I am not wrong for disagreeing with him.

 

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