Real Talk: Donald Trump Ruined My Friendship

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With my finger poised above the keyboard, I took a breath and clicked "unfriend." And just like that, my last remaining connection to Jane (not her real name) was gone. We'd been friends for years, until a revolting new man entered her life. A man named Donald Trump.

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When it comes to Facebook, I've always appreciated that it has let me keep in touch with people from so many different parts of my life: long-lost cousins, my first childhood friend, my favorite professor, former coworkers, and the friends who are part of my regular social circle. All of these connections mean that my Facebook feed is populated by a diverse crowd: Republicans and Democrats, black and white (and everything in between), religious and secular, stay-at-home moms and friends with no kids, happily married couples of all sexual orientations and those still looking for The One.

I generally like that on any given day I can see a post from someone whom I care about but who sees the world differently than I do. I live and work in an area where most people have the same political views as I do, so Facebook has often helped remind me that good, smart people can disagree.

And then Donald Trump decided to run for president and ruin everything.

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I've always known Jane was more politically conservative than I am. We've had friendly and civil debates about everything from school vouchers to gun control and even the death penalty. We've probably never totally changed each other's minds, but our conversations have always helped me keep my mind open.

And then on the day of her state's primary, Jane posted a status proudly declaring that she was voting for Trump because "he kicks ass and takes names!"

Until that moment, I genuinely couldn't imagine that someone I knew, someone I cared about, could be in favor of Trump. I can accept political difference, but I can't understand why a woman whom I know to be a devout Christian could support a man who has said the ugly, inflammatory things that Trump has said.

I thought about the genuine fear in my second grader's voice when he asked if Trump would send his friend Ivan's dad back to Mexico. I thought about the image of Trump mocking a disabled man, knowing full well that cameras were running and obviously thinking it was funny. I thought about the fact that a Trump victory makes America the laughingstock of the world.

I decided Jane must have been kidding. I sent her an "um, were you serious?" message and got back a response in which she said Hillary was a bitch and Rubio was a wimp and Trump was "the man."

In the days that followed, I saw Jane starting to respond to anti-Trump posts on other pages with venom. She daily posted memes supporting Trump and even changed her profile to her 3-year-old wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat.

A part of me wonders if she is losing her mind.

We've been friends for years but we aren't any longer. I didn't tell her why I unfriended her and haven't returned her most recent texts. I don't want to ghost her, but I also don't want to have to hear another defense of a man I think is simply indefensible.

I don't know if we'll be able to be friends again after the election. I'd like to think we could, but I fear a part of me will always have trouble reconciling the person I thought I knew with the person who thinks Trump is qualified for the most important job in the country.

Right now it feels like it is going to be a long road to get to the election. I hope I don't lose more friends along the way.

 

Image via Parisa/Splash News

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