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  • Writer's pictureSara Sharpe

Letter 4: President Trump Pt. 1

Dear Friend:

Because I can’t think of a way to stall any longer, it’s time to write about something serious. I may as well dive in the deep end and write to you about President Trump.

For whatever reason, this is the letter I’m most nervous about writing. Honestly, we could get together for coffee this morning, you and me, and I’d be more than willing to talk about race, religion, abortion – anything, really, other than Donald J. Trump. Because for those of us on opposite sides of the political divide, this is where it all breaks down, isn’t it? If our relationship was on shaky ground before there was a President Trump, his ascension - his Presidency - was the final straw. He was the thing that came between us; the person who rendered our differences irreconcilable. Donald Trump cracked us wide open.

Forget about blue and red. Forget about Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Christians and non-Christians; the country has now split itself in two based on who hates Donald Trump and who approves of (or at least voted for) him. We are on one side, you are on the other, and not since the civil war has the chasm been so wide.

I think I’m right in saying that our white-hot hatred of the man and the President was, to you, incomprehensible, was it not? Sure, he was crude and sometimes loose with the truth, but he was also, seemingly, the only force powerful enough to counter the sweeping moral failure of our times; his personal deficiencies nothing compared to the degradation of all we hold dear in this great country. Yes? Or at least he was going to drain the swamp. Or protect our borders. Or help the economy.

I’m working hard to understand your love for and approval of him. Or at least your willingness to tolerate and vote for him. I mean this very genuinely. I’m working hard to understand.

It seemed to go something like this: For those of us on this side of the divide, Donald Trump was not President so much as he was a line in the sand the Republican party crossed; a line which immediately became a deep and seemingly permanent fracture. A Donald Trump Presidency was the cruel and unusual thing we on the left could not, would not accept. Your support of him; your tacit approval of his behavior, made you suddenly and irrevocably incomprehensible to us. For progressive white folks, anyway, the 2016 election was a shocking, unexpected gut punch from which we’ve not yet recovered.

When I try putting myself in your shoes, I wonder if it felt something like this: Someone finally comes along who actually says what he really thinks, promises to protect our jobs, our bank accounts, our freedom of speech, our worship, our way of life and, last but not least our country, for God’s sake, from threats inside and out beginning with the leaky border. Meanwhile, the Left is losing its mind with out of control, irrational hatred, and every time I turn around I’m getting accused of being racist when I have spent half a life-time teaching my children that racism is wrong. I’m guessing that for conservative Trump supporters, the reaction to the 2016 election was a shocking, unexpected gut punch from which you’ve not yet recovered.

Can we recover? We can.

But this is hard stuff. Our wounds are still open, still raw, and there is much to feel defensive about. So, we’ll take it slowly, carefully, respectfully. We might even take it in parts. Consider this part one. I’ve at least tried to lay the groundwork for future letters about our former President, in which I will, I promise, seek first to understand.

More later. Going now to make dinner.



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