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On Being the Liberal Daughter of Conservative Parents

My parents voted for Donald Trump. So did my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and the majority of my cousins. If my little sister were old enough, he would’ve gotten her vote too.

I respect their values, no matter how adamantly I don’t share them. My parents are tried-and-true conservatives, and I am their rampant liberal daughter.

I never doubted for a minute that my vote would go to Hillary. More than anything in this world, I wanted her to be my president. I never saw Donald Trump as a threat—I rolled my eyes at his tweets, laughed through the debates, and gagged at the revelation of his countless scandals.

The night of November 8th, I stared at my computer screen for hours on the phone with my parents while we pretended we weren’t praying for different results. The next day, they attempted to comfort me with the knowledge that change is a good thing when we swing one way we have to swing the other, and the fact that Donald Trump was elected because the majority of the country thought he was the man for the job.

I have spent the past several months at school listening to people shit on republicans, people who voted for Trump, people like my parents, and it breaks my heart. My parents aren’t bad people for having different beliefs than a twenty-year-old liberal.

I want to hate my parents for voting against the environment, against LGBTQ+ rights, against reproductive rights, against equality.  I want to hate them for asking me to keep my mouth shut at every large family gathering so I don’t start a fight, I want to hate them for failing to see the world the way I do. I want to hate them for not seeing Trump for the monster that he is, the way so many of my equally-liberal peers do.

I will never understand how I grew into a woman with values so different from my parents. My father likes to say that “if you’re twenty and you’re not a liberal, you have no heart. If you’re fifty and you’re not a conservative, you have no brain.” Perhaps he says this to comfort himself for having a daughter so different than he is, but my father never was a liberal, and I can’t imagine the day I would become a conservative.

There is something nauseating about discussing your parents’ values when they are so different from your own, but it’s just as nauseating to listen to people like you hate people like your parents for seeing the world differently. As trying as it may be to have parents who are your political polar opposites, it is also extremely eye-opening. In light of this election, it has been tempting to hate all kinds of conservatives. However, I’ve learned to see the world from different angles because I’m fortunate enough to have parents who love me despite the fact that their angle is different.

Image Credit: Vogue, Tumblr

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