Several weeks ago, I wrote about Trump. It felt like a risk, and a bit of a leap for me given my writing has purposely avoided political subjects in the past. I don’t even like to get overly involved in Canadian politics, as it’s just such a mess anywhere I look. 

Writing about Trump was even more of a risk, as my thinking wasn’t well formed as I knew where I stood on the subject, just not why. Since that time, I’ve been seeking to understand what I believe, not for the sake of others, rather for my sake. The thought of seeing Trump as equal is a very unpleasant one for sure. In fact, I get somewhat angry at the thought, and I want to just lash out at someone. In particular, I want to lash out at those who seemingly support Trump, as he’s their fault, right? 

I heard of one conversation that happened recently, in which an American commented that he didn’t want to talk about Trump. Another person in the room seemingly made the assumption the request must mean this person is a Trump supporter and immediately saw this person as the source of all problems and unleashed a rant on him, blaming him and all American’s for the world’s problems. As for this American’s political views; he apparently voted democrat. Think about that for a moment.

Last week, I listened to Brene Brown’s new book, Braving the Wilderness, and had a big ah-ha moment! As Brene points out, there is a line we can cross in making a stand. The line exists, where we start dehumanizing others labeling and sorting them into groups. In other words, when we start to see others as good or bad, we perpetuate the very problem that got us here in the first place.

Here’s the thing. Creating an ‘us vs. them’ situation, or changing how we think about another person to make them less than yourself means it becomes much easier to attack and hurt them. I’m unlikely to have an encounter with Trump himself, but seeing Trump as sub-human means it becomes easier for me to attack his supporters. When we don’t see other humans makes it possible to write each other off, and to throw sticks and stones. According to Brown, dehumanizing a group of people is the primary tool used in every genocide in recorded history, and doesn’t it feel like we’re heading in that direction sometime soon.

I know numerous people who voted for Trump, and every one of them at the time could explain their reasoning for voting for him. Their reasons align with their values, and no, it has absolutely nothing to do with the bigotry, racism and other bad parts of Trump we can see. It has to do with wanting a better United States and believing despite how poor of a choice that Trump was, Clinton was an even worse choice. How do I know this?  I opened my heart and truly listened to them.

For all of the people I know who voted Trump; I still love every one of them.

Thought for the week

To continue dehumanizing each other, and sorting ourselves into groups is what got us in this mess at this time in history. What on earth makes us think we can get out of this problem by continuing to do the very thing that got us here in the first place? We must change the conversation happening around the world, or this isn’t going to be pretty.

Most people in the world will never come face to face with Trump himself. However, many of us will come face to face with people just like you and I. People who have their perspectives complete with a set of personal values, and regardless of who they voted for chances are they’re trying to figure this mess out as well. They are people with a mortgage, family, fears and all their stories … just like you and I. 

So rather than sorting the world into groups; it’s time to see people just like you want to be seen. Get curious and open yourself to listen with an open heart to see the world from their perspective. To do anything else … well … isn’t that what got us into this mess, to begin with?