September 19, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

My family voted for Trump and I am so angry

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BY TROY MASTERS  | I failed to convince my own mother to vote for Hillary Clinton.

And my sister.

Now tears are streaming down my face because we are all three locked in an alienation of our own doing.

Both of them are very close to me, not homophobic at all and are supportive in seemingly every sense of the word about LGBT issues.  I have been incredibly blessed.

Both are Republican and have been most of their lives. They have, in the past, acknowledged the many contradictions that exist in having a gay family member and being Republican.

Growing up in a Fox News household before Fox News, often filled with bile racial invective and raw hatred of liberal ideas was not easy.  I found shelter in the belief that those views were not my moms or my sisters.  When I left home at 17 mom told me she knew I had been eager to leave for many years.  When my mom left my Dad, I expected her politics to evolve liberally but they did not except on LGBT rights.

Election season always kind of paralyzes me in my contact with them because I know there is nothing I can do or say to convince them to vote Democrat.  Tennessee, where they live, just north of Nashville, is a god, guns and abortion driven red state.

If I call I will inevitably want to talk, as is my nature, about current events and politics and it just won’t go well. So, instead we post pictures of puppies on Facebook or text about possible weekend getaways.

But it was only when, 2 days after the election, my sister reached out to me by text that I realized the alienation is dangerous and that my anger at them is profoundly destructive.

Family member:
Are you moving to Canada?

Me:
I am just devastated.  You guys have no idea how terrible this is…not just for LGBT rights but on a thousand important fronts….he is a walking disaster.

I am registered in California and did vote.

Family member:
Are y’all getting away for the weekend

Me:
No.

Family member:
Why?

Me:
Arturo works Friday and Sunday

You know who Mike Pence is, do you?

Family member:
Yes I do

Me:
You know what he did to us?

Family member:
Something about HIV in Indiana?

Me:
In 2014 he ordered the imprisonment of any couple seeking same sex marriage licenses and ignored the Federal Court order….just like the judge in Alabama. And he passed a law that allowed any person to claim religious privilege if they do not want to rent to, employee or serve a gay couple.

Family member:
They can’t take away what’s already in place can they?????

Me:
Absolutely they can and will try.

Constitutional convention and executive order. And Trump promised to let the states decide on marriage.

It’s not just a simple ‘Troy hates Republicans’ this time…

I didn’t make an issue of it with you or mom because I know mom doesn’t care and because TN was not in play.

But it really does hurt that either of you would vote for them.

Family member:
We will talk after this dust settles.

Me:
in 8 years?

Family member:
This is not my fault or your Mothers and I’m gonna leave it at that, Troy.

Me:
A vote for those two was a vote AGAINST everything you both know I have fought for all of my adult life…and you knew it.  It hurts.

It’s not a joke to me that you would ask, knowing this, whether or not I am moving to Canada.

Family member:
Sorry. I asked you a question nov 2 and you’re just now answering it that’s not funny either.

How could it have come to this?  I failed to educate them about what matters to me and why?  I failed by paralysis. I failed because I didn’t think their vote for Hillary in a deeply red state would matter. I failed because I was angry at them for not bothering to read the fine detail on things that mattered to me AND I DIDN’T TRY TO READ IT TO THEM.  I failed to try to change their vote because I was angry at them; I didn’t think they could be moved.

How can I now justify being angry?  Have we all done this in some form of this?

Isn’t that what essentially happened in this election?  We all walked away from Trump supporters because we assumed they were too stupid to hear our case against Trump?  Were we paralyzed by our own sense of superior confidence in our gains?

Or did Trump himself, with his bullying and bravado, make that impossible for any of us to do? Every shade of nuance became umbrage taking hostility and every escalation of hostility solidified Trump’s support.  He ran away with it by pushing us away, creating an environment that was so toxic we couldn’t approach even our own families to argue against him.

Maybe this is the turning point?

We now need to turn our anger into an effort to educate our families about the dangers we now most certainly face.  Our gains of the past generation are almost all at stake.

I fear a constitutional convention, bringing every line-item of the Alt-right red-meat agenda to boiling point as every state legislature throes itself into the crafting of a more conservative nation — it’s inevitable now. Couple that with the coming ultra-conservative transformation of the Supreme Court (Trump will likely get several seats).

If that happens — and it’s likely  — we are going to need the educated support of people who love us. We can’t equate every vote for Trump as a vote of hate.

Love trumps hate.  Time to call mom.

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