More Than a Country Divided: Friendships and Families Torn Apart by This Year's Election
What has Happened?
Have the issues dividing this country gotten so overwhelming that they're seeping into our personal lives and destroying our connections with those we love? Can people with opposing views on things be friends or an accepted part of the family? Are we so frightened that our individual rights will be taken away that we feel betrayed by our friends and family when they vote against those rights?
These were just a few questions I personally had after viewing the arguments and rude words exchanged between my mutual friends as the election came to a close.
Now it's a while after, and things have only grown worse.
Part of the reason sites such as Facebook are interesting and fun to participate in, is the freedom it gives us to develop new friendships and keep old ones alive when no other means is possible. I've made a tremendous amount of new friends on the various groups I belong to; particularly through my cancer and animal groups. A lot of those people aren't even mentioning the election, but others are posting memes bragging about Trump's win, or demeaning ones making fun of the devastation the Hillary supporters are experiencing.
I'm watching as those close friends who've always interacted decently towards each other, even when issues of disagreement arise, are suddenly at each other's throats.
Cruel words and name calling are being said, ganging up on one another is happening as others join in on the fight, and now the friendships that stretched back as far as a decade are completely over with.
My own family was divided on who to vote for; about half and half, and now one of them is so crushed over the Trump win, threats of never speaking to the others again have been made. She has commented that those who voted for Trump must hate her because she identifies with two groups of people Trump has openly denounced.
It's hard to predict the implications of what's going to happen as a result of all of this, but it isn't currently looking good. There is always major disappointment when a candidate we loathe is elected to such an important office as the Presidency, but I've never seen, or even heard about anything at this level happening over an election.
Many of my friends are complaining of stress-related sicknesses and uncontrollable crying as a result of Trump's win. Some are spending all of their time protesting in writing to anyone who'll listen, and some are seriously thinking about leaving the country.
One of my long-time friends posted that over the course of the past two days, he's lost 45 friends off of his Facebook account. He's been very vocal about how devastated he feels. My Jewish friends are calling this the beginning of the 4th Reich, and my Trump friends are celebrating the end of Obamacare and illegal immigration. My liberal friends are calling all Trump supporters racists, Nazi's and homophobes, and my conservative friends are all denying this is true.
The people I know who are Trump supporters are not ALL racists, Nazi's, or homophobes. Many of them are concerned with illegal immigration (especially from Mexico, being as we're in California), but many are concerned with illegal immigration coming from overseas; particularly from the Middle East. Then there's the Obamacare issue, as well.
My liberal friends are worried that the gay marriage law will be revoked; a right the LGBT+ community has fought desperately to achieve, but my conservative friends swear this is not what they want.
The problem lies more with Trump, himself, then his supporters, really. He's said a lot of things, and then took them back. If my liberal friends heard him say once that he was against gay marriage or going to repeal the law, that, of course, is something they're not going to forget. If the conservatives didn't hear it, or forgot he ever said it, it could be because it's not an issue they've given any serious thought to. All they heard was Trump rallying FOR the issues they ARE concerned about. That isn't a trait exclusive to conservatives. We all do that.
In trying to console one of my friends who is planning on marrying her girlfriend soon, I reminded her that "We the People" already voted for gay marriage and no one can just come along and change that law. Unless Trump intends on totally dismantling our democracy, there are a lot of hoops he's going to have to jump through to change any law. That includes making abortion illegal, or any other law he wants to change, if he wants to change it. He can't just go and change it...at least I hope not. We should all hope not.
I see a big concern among my liberal friends that conservatives are completely taking over the government. Although it does seem undemocratic to have conservatives controlling all three branches of the government, all I can say is there are different types of Republicans, and there is probably a certain percentage of them who are moderate, but identify more with the Republican party. Maybe I'm being a little too optimistic to think those Republicans will listen to what their constituents want.
Another fear, and probably the biggest one I have, is Trump's penchant for being unable (and seemingly unwilling) to keep his bad temperament from boiling over in the heat of a moment. In a biosphere full of crazy world leaders, this could be a dangerous, and possibly catastrophic flaw we might all have to pay for.
What Do We Do?
So the question is, What do we do next?"
There's really only one thing we can do without getting our panties all in a twist, and that's to wait it out. Stop talking about it with one another and hope that our new President isn't able to take anyone's rights away or destroy everything we've achieved as a society. Otherwise, we can go into a Civil War and I don't think anyone really wants that. I could be wrong, though. From what it looks like, we could be heading for exactly that. It probably wouldn't even change anything, anyway. I mean, do any of us really know how far our voices can be heard when we shout at Capitol Hill? If a Civil War would be a hard thing for them to ignore, but just how would they handle that? If certain states decide to secede from the Union, who knows what new sets of problems that would create, as well.
Our Nation may be severely divided right now, but if we can find a way to work together, we can keep the powers-that-be from taking away any more of our rights or from sending us back to square one in the Civil Rights movement. None of us really knows for sure what Trump is going to do while in office or if he can do anything at all. He still has Congress to answer to, so unless he can figure out a way to get rid of them and get rid of our right to vote, he may not be able to do a single thing that will affect our major accomplishments. Let's just keep positive and hope that's the case. Also, let's not judge one another so harshly. Trump flip-flops on all kinds of issues, so every Republican doesn't agree with everything he says, even if they know exactly what issue he's against from one day to the next. None of the people I know who voted for Trump want to see the LGBT community lose their rights (just as an example), and many of his supporters don't believe he will.
As far as the Democrats go, try not to blame them for being upset and scared. Having a person in power that you believe can take away all of your rights on a whim, or could possibly start World War III with his temperament alone, is a scary thing to have to face.
A Nation Divided
Have you lost friends and/or family members as a result of this election?
© 2016 Krista D'Ambroso