Living where we do, just north of Washington, D.C., in the reliably blue state of Maryland, we’re well-insulated from election year vitriol. But we’re not immune.
Friends are reporting back from visits with family in the Midwest and South that deteriorate into arguments over Donald Trump. Suddenly, there’s tension between siblings and children and parents who never before used to argue over politics.
Issues can arise even in a politically homogeneous enclave like ours.
I know of only one Republican in our town, a man I like and respect very much who also happens to be the father of one of my son’s best friends.
This neighbor barbecued fabulous ribs for us the other week and we could talk, like reasonable people on their best behavior, about why one should or shouldn’t vote for Trump. We all agreed he wasn’t particularly fit for office – not just because he spews hate, but because he may actually not have all his mental faculties in place. Our neighbor explained that his vote will be against President Obama’s economic policy, which he thinks Clinton will continue. He knows we don’t agree with his choice.
Back in the sanctuary of our own home, we’re not always as careful or diplomatic about how we word things. The other day, my husband and I didn’t know my son’s friend was in the house overhearing our conversation about whether people who plan to vote for Trump are racists themselves.
I felt bad when I realized the young boy heard this and made the point of telling him how much we like his dad. The single most important thing is that people vote come Nov. 8, I told him. Nobody should stay home.
“Even if they vote for Trump?” asked my son. “Yes,” I lied.
It’s a stressful time. Even a colleague at work, a young guy in his 20s, acknowledged he feels anxious this election season. A man I met at a local art show over the weekend, meanwhile, reported how scary it was to take his son to college in eastern Pennsylvania. “There were Trump signs in every yard!” he shuddered.
We stress because we feel that there’s not a thing we can do about Other States. Or about the people whose judgment is clouded by an undefined hate against Clinton, or by exaggerated economic concerns that don’t match reality.
All we can do is hope that sanity prevails when the day comes.