People like my mom are the reason that Trump was able to secure the presidency. Trump is so appealing to voters like her because he’s an outsider who isn’t a politician beholden to anybody. He’s not part of the political dynasty like the “terrible Clinton machine.” But the truth is, working-class Americans like her and my dad rely on conservative fear-mongering, nativism, and ethno-nationalism to instill a sense of security in an increasingly diverse and shifting socio-political landscape, one which looks a lot different than the Irish- and Italian-American urban communities they grew up in. To them, the picture that Trump paints of today’s America is scary. After all, fear is way more marketable than hope, and Trump is nothing if not a seasoned businessman.
Yet I don’t believe my mom voted for Trump to be malicious, racist, or xenophobic. She is a beautiful, resilient woman who wants to see that our country is a great place for me to become an adult in. I do think, however, that she is misguided and needs to consume media other than Fox News.
Politics will continue to be a touchy subject in our house for the next few months. I know I can’t talk to my mom without getting angry and calling her ignorant, because this is a subject we will never see eye-to-eye on. As the Trump presidency plays out over the next four years, I know the debates, fights, and arguments will continue at my house. Every time Trump does something monumental, my mom will nod in agreement and rub my nose in it. Every time he incites hatred and violence, I’ll let her know how disgusted I am that people like her elected him president.
I’d like to tell you we’ll find a way to meet in the middle. My plan was to continue living at home for the next few months while I look for a better job and search for roommates. But the truth is, much like America, now I’m not so sure if my divided house can still stand.
Images: Ray Gallagher