It’s November 15th, which makes us one week into the realization that Donald J. Trump, entertainer, and business mogul extraordinaire, will be the next president of the United States of America.
Since the night of the election that stunned many (not I) and even brought many of my peers to tears, there have been articles about disowning family members and declining Thanksgiving dinner invites due to those family members supporting Trump for president. We are to believe they didn’t know Uncle Bubba was a racist until this campaign season. I don’t.
Anyway, what has really caught my eye is an article about how Omarosa Manigault is saying she lost friends because of her stumping for Trump. She noted in a 20/20 interview that she lost connections with friends and family and even one of the women who was supposed to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding decided that her friendship with Omarosa was no longer worth keeping because of Omarosa’s endorsement of Donald Trump.
While watching Omarosa cry (literally) about the politics-based loss of her personal relationships, I didn’t necessarily feel empathy for her but I did wonder how close the friends and family could have been if her choice to support Trump (which I have always assumed was at least partly a career/financial move) was their complete undoing.
During the election, I read post after post from people saying, “if you support Trump, delete me now!” I thought it was cute. First of all, if someone enjoys hanging around your page for things other than your political stances, they may not be honest about their support of the candidate you hate (which we now know is partly who led Trump to victory). Second of all, many of these people would be hard-pressed to be able to come to that same hard line if the people they were telling to exit stage right were people they had to deal with in real life.
In my mind, if you have a real life friend whose political stances vary greatly from your own, you either engage each other to gain further understanding or accept that the rift is too wide and that topic is off-limits; you don’t disown them and throw away 5, 10, 15+ years of friendship because you two are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. You definitely don’t do that with a relative with whom you’ve had a perfectly fine relationship your whole life.
There’s a common school of thought that says if you support the sexist, racist, misogynist candidate, then that means you don’t respect my humanity and can’t be trusted to be my friend. I’d agree with that if we were talking about that random FB friend from your 10th-grade year, weekend drinking buddy, or your co-worker, Susan, who you only see M-F from 8-5. If they’re attending KKK meetings on weekends, trust me, they were doing that (or considering it) before Trump entered the race. But, I feel that under certain circumstances, when Black people are relating to other Black people, there’s room for dialogue before releasing the blade on the guillotine.
The argument can be made that by endorsing Trump, Omarosa was upholding white supremacy and practicing internalized racism. Well, so is your great aunt who keeps referring to “good” and “bad” hair. So is your cousin who has always made fun of you for having a broad nose. So are you when you patronize that brand with the clearly racist marketing campaign and that uses nearly slave labor for cheap manufacturing. No, your aunt and cousin aren’t trying to run the country and your desire for style probably won’t be the impetus for the next world war. But implications are implications and impact is impact.
With that said, if someone is our bridesmaid-level friend, we should already know each others’ heart and mind. I can’t argue if Omarosa really believes that Trump’s plans (if they exist) will help the Black community or if she just knows how to seize opportunities (we all have bills). But, I will argue that it’s nonsense to dissolve crucial relationships over who someone checked on a ballot in one of the most horrible election cycles since I’ve been eligible to vote. Your friend offers emotional support. Your friend is there when you put your loved one in the ground or when the relationship you thought would last forever falls apart. To throw that away, to me, is insane; especially when you are holding on to relationships with people who also voted for your least favorite candidate and don’t actually give a damn about you outside of what you do for them (ie. your supervisor).
So, Omarosa, if you ever read this, I’m going to give you what you should have experienced when you told your friends and family that you were supporting Donald Trump:
Girl, are you serious? You know he’s a bullshitter and probably using you for some Black votes, right?….Well, I guess. I’m probably going to go with Hillary or write-in Bernard. We’ll see how this turns out though. Good luck with that. You want to go hit up the brunch special at Mattito’s this weekend?
That, in my estimation, is how you engage a friend.
Until next time!