UT Austin Anti-Trump Protest

This Outpouring of Empathy from Trump Supporters is Simply Too Much

I get that the GOP wants to understand why it lost the popular vote in an effort to build bridges with the frustrated majority it must now govern, but my emotions are still raw.


UT Austin Anti-Trump Protest
Trump supporters have gone out of their way to try to empathize with grieving and hurting protesters, many of whom are concerned about threats to their religious freedom and increasing racist attacks, and it’s got to stop.  Anna Donlan

If another conservative reaches out to ask me how I’m feeling in hopes of lessening the political divide between Trump supporters and Clinton voters, I’m absolutely going to scream. Guys, it’s been 10 days since the election. My emotions are still raw, and I simply don’t have the energy to explain my politics in detail just to assuage the GOP’s seemingly boundless capacity for empathy.

I know this election was confusing, and the right is publicly struggling to understand how Donald Trump performed so poorly. He lost the popular vote by more than a million ballots and counting, and the scramble to comprehend why so many people felt he was unfit for office is urgent for our unifier-in-chief. I get that.

But Donald Trump has a lot of work ahead of him, and he should spend far less time decrying the wave of bigoted harassment and racist attacks taking place across the nation in the wake of his rise to power. Every time I turn on the news, there he or one of his deputies is, calling on those who voted for Trump to reach out to their loved ones on the left to offer olive branches and support. Worse, Trump voters are taking these pleas seriously!

My inbox is positively packed with kind notes from my Republican friends and family members expressing admiration and support for patriotic acts of peaceful public dissent.

“Why do you feel so frustrated, so disenfranchised?” the Rust Belt factory workers ask.

“Where might our beliefs align such that we could find common ground?” wonder the moderate white women voters.

“Help us understand why thousands are taking to the street in protest,” say the evangelicals. “We must work together, now more than ever.”

Must I be bombarded with these inquiries about why I didn’t support Donald Trump by scores of people anxious to make sense of my values? Of course we need to move forward together as a country, but this excessive self-flagellation from the right for failing to successfully reach out to millions of progressive Americans is not my problem to solve right now.

More than anything, I wish that Republican leaders would stop imploring their constituents to better sympathize with my concerns about religious and reproductive freedom, the looming specter of climate disaster, and my pro-LGBTQ values. I simply can’t respond to the scores of middle-class men ready to listen with patience and goodwill to my worries about the installation of a sexual predator to the highest office in the land. Over the last week or so, I’ve lost count of the number of white Americans who’ve asked me in good faith: “We don’t always agree, but I see that you’re concerned about institutional racism, so what can I do to build a bridge between us?”

Please, well-meaning Trump supporters: Let me grieve in peace.