I have realized in the past weeks that many of the people I know who support Trump are people who are afraid. I hear it in interviews, I read it in Facebook posts, I see it in the articles and hear it in the sound bites.
For the past 8 years, you have been living in fear. You have not felt safe under President Obama. And you are probably confused and angry as to why other people haven't been feeling this same way.
For 8 years, you have been certain that your family is in danger. That your home is about to be attacked by terrorists. That your ability to defend yourself and your loved ones is on the verge of being taken away from you. That your jobs will either end up moved to a foreign country or be taken over by immigrants.
I can see how scared you are and I can see that spending 8 years living in that fear has directed you toward Trump. He speaks very directly to those fears. He acknowledges and validates your fear and your anger and he promises that he is big enough and brave enough and smart enough to make you feel safe.
He points to the people who are driving your fear - ISIS and Muslims and Obama and Clinton. He validates that you are under siege, under attack.
I am sorry that you have lived in fear.
I know what that feels like - but in a different way.
It takes a lot of bravado to cover up fear. You want to speak to it by pointing to your enemy and by creating enemies to pin blame on. You need an outlet for this underlying certainty that they government's leadership is working to destroy your freedoms.
Living in fear is a terrible and stressful way to live.
I am not going to try and convince you that your fears are unfounded. I am not going to try and point out the perspective on "the other side" of your viewpoints. I am not going to try to sway your political standing.
I just want you to know that I am trying to understand. And what I am hearing and seeing is stress and fear and anger. Serious concerns that your family's safety is at risk. Serious concern that your neighborhood or city will be the next terrorist target. Serious concern that your financial security - whether you have savings and securities or you are living paycheck to paycheck - is going to be stolen away.
I have lived part of my life in fear and under great anxiety. I understand what it feels like to try and keep it all together while feeling like you are cracking on the inside. I know the feeling of hope that comes when you think someone understands and can make it better.
I'm not anyone with any power or with any answers. I walk out my front door each day and I am not afraid of what the day holds. I do not have the fears that you have so I can't fully connect to where you are coming from. I'm not claiming any personal responsibility, either.
I just want you to know that I am sorry. Because living in fear is a terribly stressful and negative way to live and it hurts my heart that this is the place that people are in right now.
I truly do wish that there was a stronger sense of common ground where all Americans could stand together. I wish we had unity and connection, not division and finger pointing. I wish we had One Thing We Can Agree On so we would all have a place to stand where we don't have to feel constantly under attack, afraid, angry, opposed, in constant conflict.