Out of the Blue: When Family Votes Trump

In 2016, I missed the Presidential election by mere weeks, turning 18 as the US turned a page in history. 4 years later, President Donald Trump has demonstrated the racist, misogynistic, homophobic liar that he is. 2020 has been an emotionally draining year, to say the least, and I did not imagine myself living back at home while participating in my first election. Last week, my younger sister and I went to the county courthouse and voted early for the first time together. It was a special moment I will always cherish. I was proud to do my part to end Trump's reign by voting him out of office with my sister by my side.

Fast forward to election day and two of my relatives drove from a neighboring state to watch my brothers play in their end-of-season soccer tournament, visiting for no more than 18 hours. The election was only briefly mentioned when they first arrived. As we sat around the kitchen table catching up, I asked them if the poll lines were long when they had voted that morning. After they told me that they had been relieved to find short lines, I left it at that. I assumed both of them voted Democrat and didn't think it was necessary to even talk about the election candidates. After I got out of class later that evening, I found out I had been mistaken in making this assumption, learning that one of my relatives had voted for Trump. Fortunately, she had already gone to bed when I was told this information. I was relieved that I would have time to react not being in her presence. However, hurt, angered, and confused, I questioned what could have caused her to make this decision.

It is one thing to acknowledge the presence of Trump supporters in the country. I am no stranger to living among his fandom being from a small Midwestern town. But how do you process that a family member supports him, and in 2020 after a full presidential term of showing the world exactly who he is? She actively voted for a man against her own best interest as a woman, her daughters, and her granddaughters. She gave her vote to someone against me, a female POC. The deep hurt that comes with learning that someone I love would choose to ensure that I and SO many others will continue to be hurt and pushed down is crippling.

Trump has been vocal on his view of people of color, Black people, the LGBTQ+ community, and immigrants. He has shown his blatant disregard for human rights, no matter how pro-life he claims to be. As I was saying goodbye to her early the next morning, I didn't have the strength to address her choice. Questioning her decision is something that I knew deserved much more than a passing remark as I hugged her before leaving. And in all honesty, I'm still processing the best way to talk to her about her grave choice of vote.

I wish I had an answer for myself and the countless others who find themselves in this situation. Reaching into the darkness to find something that remotely begins to suggest a reason that justifies keeping Trump in office, it hurts knowing that someone you love can support someone who seeks to harm so many people. As I type this, votes are still being counted in a handful of states and it is unclear who the next leader of our country will be. Regardless of who wins, we must remember that the fight for recognizing the worth of all humans continues.