I'm writing this to all my friends and family who voted for Donald Trump to be president.
Let me start by saying that I'm not mad at you. We've known each other for years. We've broken bread together, watched one another's kids, laughed at one another's jokes, and even worshiped together. Through the years we've learned to trust one another, and sought one another out when we needed wisdom and guidance.
Your friendship means the world to me, and this election has not changed that. I'm not mad at you. But I am terribly disappointed.
I could go through a litany of his abuses, but I won't.
I could regale you with example after appalling example of his racism toward Hispanics and blacks, his anti-Semitism, and the ways he has mocked the disabled and vilified Muslims.
I could remind you that he encouraged violence at his rallies, telling his supporters that in the good old days, protesters would have been carried out on a stretcher.
I could remind you that we all heard him boast about sexually predatory behavior, that he has cheated on every one of his wives, and that he once described his own daughter as “a piece of ass” and even said he would date her if she weren't his own child.
I could get into all this with you, but why bother? You already know it. Many of you were appalled by these very things, and yet you were willing to vote for him anyway.
That's the part that I don't understand. Trump made it clear that in his America, ethnic minorities and minority religions are second-class and viewed with suspicion. I know you don't feel that way yourself, but when you voted for him, you said it was OK that he does.
You've taught your kids to treat everyone with equal respect, but you voted to have a president who wants to institute a religious test for immigrants and who shares racist, inaccurate statistics from white nationalists.
You would ground your son for a month of Sundays if you heard him talking with friends about grabbing my daughter “by the pussy.” If he tried to explain it was just a joke or “locker room banter,” you would scream at him so loudly that they would hear you in the next ZIP code. You heard Trump say that, and you voted for him to be president.
Trump insults those who criticize him, loses his temper if they one-up him, and mocks anyone who opposes or disagrees with him. If your daughter were dating someone like that, you'd want her to leave an abusive relationship. Instead, you just agreed the country should marry him for at least the next four years.
What's the message people should take from this? That as horrible as all these things are, you can live with them? That the dignity of your black neighbors, your Hispanic neighbors, your gay neighbors, your female neighbors, your Muslim neighbors, your Jewish neighors, is something you're willing to see take a hit? That their respectability is negotiable?
That's not the message you wanted to send but that's the message that was received.
I know the response: Hillary Clinton is just as bad. We both know that's not true. For years Trump has been as involved in the political system as she is, and when it comes to lies and corruption he has been playing in the majors for years. It's time to stop arguing for moral equivalence. We're too honest for that.
Being paid money to give speeches is is not the same thing as regularly refusing to pay bills to small businesses and threatening to bury them under an avalanche of litigation if they protest. Using a private email server is not the same as dealing in one oversize lie after another and stoking racial hatred.
For that matter, being married to an adulterer and forgiving him is nothing like being the adulterous spouse and leaving your partner for the woman you cheated with, and then repeating that process a few years later.
I've heard some of you cite abortion as the reason why you just couldn't vote for Clinton. That's a complicated issue, and it's one we can and need to discuss some time soon, but let's admit that this has become an idol on the Right.
Abortion is an ancient practice, but it is never once condemned in the Bible. The behaviors Trump practices are condemned roundly and repeatedly. In fact, Scripture makes that condemnation a major theme throughout.
But here we are. There is nothing to gain by arguing the merit of one candidate or another now, and that's not the point anyway. The dilemma is that we are being asked to accept a president-elect whose conduct and attitudes are morally abhorrent and have left people legitimately frightened for their safety and security.
Already the ugliness reported in Britain after the vote to leave the European Union is rearing its head here. Muslim women — easily identified by the hijab they wear — singled out and attacked. Kindergartners telling their peers they'll be deported soon. Blacks being called by the N-word openly.
Donald Trump did not create this ugliness, but through his campaign he brought it out into the open and gave it legitimacy. This is not something you wanted, but it has happened. By electing him, we have affirmed that this behavior is something we can live with.
We should not.
With the Republicans now in control of both chambers of the Congress and the White House, we likely will see a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which means that millions of the most vulnerable members of our society are going to lose their health insurance. We also may see further cuts to the protections of minorities as the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts are chipped away.
And that's just the beginning. The Republican Party in the last 16 years has systematically opposed both maintaining our social safety net and opposed setting watchmen over big business. Expect more children to go hungry, more school funding to be slashed, and more abuses by big business as wages drop and the wealth divide grows.
From where I'm sitting, it looks like our country is entering a dark time. I'm appalled that many of my fellow Christians – a reported 80 percent of white evangelicals, who claim to have a close and personal relationship with Jesus – decided that they could live with all that Trump has said and done about women and minorities if it means they might have a say in appointing Supreme Court justices.
As a Christian myself I have to note that the people likely to suffer under a Trump presidency are the people whom Jesus stands with and among.
On Jan. 20, Donald Trump will be our president. I understand that, and accept that there is nothing I can do about it. I cast my vote, and though a majority of Americans agreed with me, Trump has won the election by the book.
But let us remember that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. There are times patriotism means standing firm and saying "This is wrong."
Yes, let us come together. There is work to be done. There are people who will need advocates and there are things coming that we must oppose. I'd like to start by inviting you, my friends who voted for Trump, to get on board. Come together and stand with us, for the good of the nation.
Copyright © 2016 by David Learn. Used with permission.