Stand By Me

The night that Trump won the presidency,  I saw several people who voted for him justifying themselves on social media. Invariably, their posts fell into a general template of:

“To my [Democratic/POC/LGBT] friends, please know that I will always [stand by you/be your friend/value our friendship] but my vote today is because I care about [taking away your rights/hurting brown people/Hillary’s emails].”

Most of their reasons for voting Republican have, over the course of the last three and half years, been overcome by events- but that’s an argument for another day. What I’ve been waiting on, and continue to wait on, is for them to stand by me, like they said they would do.

Every month since Trump took office, I’ve donated to non-profits working to blunt the effects of his policies: the Southern Poverty Law Center, RAICES, Common Cause, and a few others. Every month, a new donation, paying up like a green-grocer. These groups bug me for money constantly and clog up my email. I don’t expect to see any immediate national course correction, but I pay them because I want there to be lobbyists and lawyers working for my interests.

Every month since Trump took office, I’ve sent emails to my representatives demanding they vote against Republican bills that are harmful either to my family, my community, or the nation at large. The numbers for my Congressional leadership are programmed into my phones so I can call them to demand action when there’s a big bill on the line. I live in a blue state with a centrist Democrat House representative who’s old and reluctant to make a stand on things; but I still make the calls and write the form emails because I want to contribute to the demand signal for action.

I vote in every primary and local election. I’ve donated more money to Democratic politicians in the past three years than the rest of my life combined. Most of them aren’t ideal candidates for me, but I donate to the one who most aligns with my interests until they’re out of the race, and then I donate to whoever is going up against the GOP. The person I wanted to win the Democratic nomination is out of the running, and I’m not wild about the nominee. But I’m still going to back their play, because a blue win would result in repairing some of the damage inflicted on the nation.

I’m not reciting all this as a humblebrag. Most people don’t have the resources to donate to a charity every month, so I don’t expect that of them. I don’t really even expect most people to take the effort or time to connect with their elected leadership- most humans only have one or two core voting issues that they get excited about, and then it’s back to apathy until the next election. I’m saying all this because-

Where are all these Trump voters?

They said they’d stand beside me.

Since Trump took office, I haven’t seen a single one of these people post up a link to a donation page.

Or advocate for calling their representatives.

Or march in a protest.

Or sign a petition.

Hey, look, maybe they’re quiet in their political donations or charity work. I get it. Advocacy should be because of your personal convictions, not to attract likes on Facebook. But the thing is…

When I pushed links for a donation page, or a political candidate, or even just a cause that needed attention, none of them responded in support. If they responded at all, it was in disagreement.

So where was the back-up we were promised by these folks?

If they really wanted to [stand by us/be our friend/value our friendship], where were they? When it was time to soften the impact of their vote, what did they do? When people asked for help, where was their answer?

Most of my adult life was incorporated within result-oriented organizations. Actions, not words, they said. Results, not excuses. And because of the organizations I belonged to, more than 90% of the people I know lived by that same credo, Trump voters included.

So what do their actions say, instead of their words? What are the results of the excuses they gave on election night?

A lot of empty air.

It’s almost like those people didn’t mean what they were saying; maybe more like they were making themselves feel better. Just a vague promise of future support, without actually committing to anything. Make yourself look sympathetic, they thought; that’s the important thing.

It’s easy to stand by someone when that’s all you do.

So, in order to save them some time, I’ve pre-written their next election-night justification. Instead of typing out anything, they can just cut and paste one of these:

To my Democratic friends, please know that the only political act I make is to vote every four years. I’m going to stop paying attention after the results come out.

To my Democratic friends, please know that I’m perfectly willing to make your life incrementally harder and make you work more, if it doesn’t personally affect me.

To my Democratic friends, please know that any danger or risk posed to your family or community because of my vote isn’t my concern, and that you’re on your own.

To my Democratic friends, please know that spending a little bit of money, time, or effort to lessen the effects my vote isn’t going to happen.

To my Democratic friends, please know that I would never actually use one of these pre-formatted sentences, because I’d rather go on calling you a friend when I don’t mean it.

There, one less thing for them to do. More time for them to do nothing else.

 

About theoldsquid

Walking proof of the power of sublimation.
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