divided-americaI remember reading about the Civil War and about how brothers were literally fighting brothers as they took up arms for different sides. The 2016 election, to me, has the feel of a civil war.

I am fortunate that I work from home. I was able to hide from the awful reality that, for me, became apparent at about 3 a.m. on November 9th. I imposed on myself a news blackout — something one can see as a bigger deal when you know that I am a self-confessed newsaholic. I used to DVR Morning Joe and ABC World News so I could be sure I didn’t miss anything. I followed all the major newspapers and TV networks on Facebook.

Nightmare scenario

On Wednesday morning, after three hours of lying awake, I briefly turned on MSNBC. I guess I was hoping it would all turn out to have been a bad dream. It wasn’t. I immediately switched over to the Sounds of the Season channel to listen to Christmas music instead. I unfollowed every newspaper and TV network on Facebook. I unfollowed many of my personal friends. Others were disappearing, leaving only blank heads in their wake.

cat-1079607_960_720I was effectively able to hide from the world until such time that I felt up to coming out of hiding. By Monday, I has lifted the news blackout on myself. I still don’t follow the news on Facebook anymore, though, because I am unable to resist reading the comments, and they either further stoke my fear and grief or they make me so angry that I can feel my blood pressure spike.

Taking sides

After the nominations were secure and people began to take sides, I started to wonder how so many of my friends — people whom I knew to be good, loving, giving people — could vote for someone like Donald Trump. It’s taken me a while to fully form this notion in my head, but it seems to come down to this:

You watched him mock a disabled reporter, and said to yourself, that’s my guy. You heard him speak of sexually assaulting women, and said to yourself, he’ll make a great president. You listened to him attack a Gold Star family, and said to yourself, I want him to be the commander-in-chief. You heard him call people names, and said to yourself, he will set a great example for my children. You watched as he attacked women based on their looks, and said to yourself, I want my wife, mother, sister, daughter to live in a country where this man is president. You heard him speak of dividing people based on religion, and said to yourself, this man will uphold the U.S. Constitution. You heard him threaten to jail his enemies, and said to yourself, he will restore our freedoms.

Dazed and confused

bullying-tacticsPlease tell me how you got comfortable with that. Please explain how you enthusiastically supported the man who said all these things. Please help me understand what wonderful, positive qualities you see in him that offset the disgusting, negative things he has said and done.

I’m still somewhat in hiding. I have not been face to face with a single Trump-supporting friend since the election. That won’t last forever. I wish just one of them would read this and tell me — How can I ever look at you in the same way again? What is it you want me to know about your character that syncs up with the fact that you chose this man to be our president? How do you call yourself a Christian, a follower of Jesus, and support someone like this to lead our nation?

Because right now, from where I sit, it appears that you not only think it’s just fine but even admirable, praiseworthy for someone to mock the disabled, criticize women for their looks, sexually assault women, verbally attack a family whose son died in service to this country, and speak of singling out certain people based on their religion. And I am deeply troubled by that.