All of my friends are voting for Trump. It’s not surprising. I live in South Carolina. A red state.
A red state with a blue flag.
The flag’s blue color was chosen by Colonel William Moultrie in 1775 in honor and a true blue match of the uniforms worn by the South Carolina troops during the Revolutionary War. He also included a crescent as a nod to the silver emblem worn on the front of the troops’ caps.
South Carolinians are historically revolutionary. We were the first state to secede from the Union and the first shot of the Civil War was fired on our soil at Fort Sumter.
I’m not bragging. I am, however, making a case for precedent.
Precedent. We are living in an unprecedented time. A time in which I do not need to remind you is fraught with divisiveness and anger, the underbelly of fear.
Fear. Fear is a currency. You can buy and sell with it. Many of the ads you watch on TV solicit fear in order to garner your vote. But do we really want to vote out of fear?
I know. I know. The electable options over the past several years has been, well, as many people put it, “the lesser of two evils.” But, what it we take the word “evil” out of the conversation? Better yet, what if we take bipartisanship out of the equation? What if rather than yelling at each other from across the aisle, we spoke to each other face to face?
In researching this piece, I spoke with political and economical experts, as well as polled friends, acquaintances and strangers. To be fair to both parties, I chose both Democrats and Republicans to speak with. To keep things conversational, I chose to informally interview each person. And to get a balanced perspective, I tried to run the demographic gamut, dialoguing with anyone from my cable repairman (who is here often and I have formed a friendship with—a shout out to Lamar!), to a stranger wearing a Trump 2020 t-shirt in the grocery line, to exercise buddies, to moms twiddling their thumbs at a kid’s birthday party—just to name a few. Here were my favorite take ways:
Take Away #1: Everyone feels exhausted by the news media. As one person said, “I feel like I am roadkill and the news media is a line of cars that just keeps running over me.” But here’s the thing. Whether we watch, read or surf the web for our news, we have the power to turn it off or on at any time.
Note: I no longer begin my mornings with reading or watching the news. Instead, I play a band like the Rolling Stones, Imagine Dragons or Three Dog Night and the family has a mini dance party as we get ready for the day. (My girls even got my husband to listen to “Scrubs” by TLC at 7 a.m. one morning.) For only 30 minutes a day, I allow myself to both read and listen to news headlines from what I consider as close to “balanced” sources.
Which brings us to another key concept: We get to pick our news sources. If we only tune into CNN, we will only get one perspective. If we only tune into Fox News, we will only get another perspective. If we are only getting one side of the story, and the teller of the story is biased and impassioned, it will only make us angrier. And anger, once again, is the underbelly of fear. If we function from a place of fear, we are not rational or productive and can make life-altering mistakes.
Take Away #2: Economies, specially stock market-wise, do better with Democratic presidents. From 1926 to 2019, we have had a Republican president for 46 years, and a Democratic president for 48 years. The difference in returns between the parties is pretty stark. The average annual return for the S&P 500 index when we had a Republican President was 9.12%. When we had a Democratic President, the S&P 500 average 14.94% per year. That’s a premium of a little more than 5.8% per year on average.
Take Away #3: Democrats do not believe in late term abortion per se — they simply believe in a woman’s right to choose.
Note: Two of my close Republican friends opted to have an abortion. One was because the fetus had significant abnormalities. The other was because she was in her mid 40s and she and her husband had quite frankly turned the page in terms of having a child.
Take Away #4: A liberal person doesn’t have to be Democrat. Just like a conservative person doesn’t have to be a Republican. Take Libertarians, for example. Libertarians are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Also, not all Democrats are part of the radical left. Just like not all Republicans are part of the radical right. In fact, most people oscillate somewhere more in the middle of the political spectrum.
Also, a vast number of Americans do not feel an affiliation to either party because neither party totally reflects their ideals. For some, this means not registering as either a Republican or a Democrat and voting based on the candidate’s merit, leadership potential and policies (🙋♀️).
For some, this means they resonate with smaller parties like the Green Party but feel their vote doesn’t count. And though every vote theoretically counts, they have a point. (Even still, we all should rock our right to vote.)
Take Away #5: Recent data suggests a growing number of people are voting against their own party. I have a walking buddy who is a registered Democrat and has voted such all her life but is voting for Trump in 2020. I have a family member who is registered as a Republican but has decided to vote for Biden this election.
Take Away #6: Everyone, and this was unanimous, believed both parties have swung the political pendulum too far either direction. Even someone who felt very strongly about being pro-life said, “Why can’t we just be more moderate?”
Not only did these take aways put me more at ease, but it felt comforting to speak with people openly about the election and politics in general. Prior to then, anxiety washed over me like the tide. Sometimes it was low. Sometimes it was high.
The anxiety came from being tagged in offensive Facebook rants made by people I do not remember “friending”, endless negative campaign ads on my TV and in my mail and inbox, boats obnoxiously parading and waving Trump paraphernalia along our otherwise serene waterway, confusing and conflicting information being communicated by our current administration about COIVD 19, and being repeatedly told that no matter what is said or done Trump will carry my state.
A red state. A red state with a blue flag. And a long history of being rebellious.
The word “rebellious” often has a negative connotation. But, for me, for this election year, it doesn’t. Yes, all my friends are voting for Trump. It is, as they say, what it is. Most of my Trump friends have been respectful about my beliefs. But, it has been this elephant (pun not intended) in the room. Sometimes I feel like a thin invisible barrier, almost like a giant taunt sheet of Saran Wrap, separates us. We can touch each other, but not really.
Even still, I am choosing to rebel against divisiveness and anger. I will not come from a place of fear. In 2020, I will, instead come from a place of compassion, the underbelly of humanity.
Thanks for this Becca! Great piece!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I couldn’t agree more! It feels like a job to read between the
obnoxious party banter to understand the real policies.
I miss talking politics with my parents and grandparents (a mix of Democrats and Republicans) around the table, all politely and mindfully sharing their thoughts a views. You don’t dare these days in fear of getting your tires slashed!
Shame on us America. Let’s agree to disagree again and stay friends. 💚💚💚
LikeLiked by 1 person