Pro Tip: Never Bring Up Trump Over Drinks

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These are volatile times. You can’t log on to any social media platform without learning of a new “scandal” or witnessing a Twitter war between a liberal and a conservative. It’s draining, to be honest, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Not anytime soon, anyway.

One very minute upside of online dating now is that most people self-identify as a Democrat or Republican. You know where they lean before you ever communicate. But what do you do if you’re out socializing and talking with a man who decides to drop the T-bomb out of nowhere?

After our Fencing class today, we all went out for beers. I was sitting at the end of the table with a group of about four people who were talking about online dating. The topic of social media was raised, and one man mentioned his Instagram account. I opened the app on my phone and asked him what his profile name was. I looked him up and asked, “Can I follow you?”

“Yeah,” he said.  I clicked the Follow button. “But be warned. I’m a Trump supporter.”

“Aaaand unfollow,” I said, re-clicking the button. “That’s so disappointing.”

The banter stopped. “No politics,” one person said. But it was too late. You can’t put that genie back in the bottle.  As it turned out, I was the only liberal in the group. I turned to one guy, a baby-faced blonde originally from Arkansas, and asked, “Do you hate women that much?”

His eyes bulged. “What? No.”

I don’t believe you.

When I raised the point that Trump had been accused of rape, the guy I followed (and unfollowed) on Instagram, said, “What about Bill Clinton?”

“BILL CLINTON ISN’T OUR PRESIDENT!” I shouted. God damn it, those false equivalency arguments drive me bananas. Oh. Bill Clinton was a dirt bag? Then why don’t you hop in a time machine and go back a couple of decades when that was relevant. “He raped his ex-wife.”

“No, he didn’t.”

“Yes, he did.” I said.  “His ex-wife wrote about it in her book. You must at least believe the Russians interfered with the election, right?”

“No, they didn’t,” he said. “The media blah blah blah.”

“OH, COME ON!” I shrieked.

Obviously, we didn’t agree on much, though we did see eye-to-eye on the fact that CNN had a hard-on Trump, focused too much on his Tweets, and were playing right into his hands. As a viewer and a total bitch, I love the shade they throw Trump’s way. But there’s a line between reporting news and beating a dead horse. Christ, we. get. it. You don’t like him.

The tricky part of this is that I wasn’t just another person at the table. I own this business. I organize these events. I had a responsibility to be inclusive, and I failed.

I turned to the blonde guy I accused of hating women. “Did I offend you?” I asked.

“A little,” he said.

One part of me wanted to scream, “I don’t care!” The other side – the business owner side – gave myself  a mental slap on the wrist. No matter how I feel, I should never have shamed him like that.

“I’m very sorry,” I said. “I should have kept my mouth shut.”

He snatched his knapsack and left the bar without saying goodbye to anyone, and I was to blame. But then, nobody twisted his arm to answer me honestly when I asked if he voted for Trump, too. Nor was Instagram guy forced to bring up his allegiance to The Orange One. He could have kept that to himself, but he didn’t. He went there, and I happen to think it was because he wanted a reaction.  And boy did he get one. I mean, you have to know you’re going to create waves by outing your political affiliation in that manner. Which is the point, I think.

This experience raised a question in my mind: what do you do when you’re in a situation like that? What if that were a date? What if Luc, my gym crush, voted for Trump? How would I have reacted? It’s all too raw for me to bite my tongue. Don’t tell me you don’t hate us. Don’t tell me you’re not a racist or a homophobe or a bigot. You had options other than Hillary. You chose a man who berated a physically challenged reporter; a man who openly bragged about grabbing women by their vaginas; a man who decreed that most Mexicans are criminals. A man who, up until the point of his nomination, was a god damn Democrat. Every time a new infraction is revealed, people scream, “Fake news!” Facts don’t matter.

I want to be open-minded, but I can’t. I’m unable to listen to rationalizations involving the economy and unemployment. All I hear is, “I hate women. I hate black people. I  hate gay people.” I can’t help it. How they voted is the first thing I want to know about someone now, and I think that’s how it’s going to be for a very long time.

Is it even possible to have a reasonable debate about this anymore? What do you do when someone reveals they voted for Trump?

 

 

 

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5 comments

  1. I’m now happily dating someone and have been for 7 months, but when I was single I had a firm rule of not dating any woman who was a Trump supporter. Living in Massachusetts, I never encountered one, but if I had I would have definitely been up front with her about why we could not continue dating and been as courteous about saying goodbye as I could. There are some people whom I have had to put up with in daily life who voted for Trump, and I have had to make the best of that occasionally, but I wouldn’t have wanted to date one for sure.

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  2. It’s not possible to engage in meaningful political debate in a post-fact society. It’s also not possible to defend a Tr**p vote. It was motivated by ignorance, malice, or some combination of the two. That’s all. Frankly, I’m done reaching across the aisle. Tr**p voters hate me (and you, and all women, and all life on earth), and that’s all there is to it. They hate me so much that they’re willing to take a hit if it means I’m hit, too. This atmosphere is the logical consequence of many, many years of vitriolic, fearmongering propaganda, in which Roger Ailes and co. brainwashed the elderly and/or stupid. So, while I get your point about remaining neutral as a business owner, just think: What would Tr**p do? He’d say whatever (possibly classified, almost certainly racist) thing he likes — probably WHILE sexually assaulting the nearest woman. So if these people are morally consistent — and I’m sure they’re NOT HYPOCRITES — then they’ll respect you for being a “straight shooter” and “telling it like is is.”

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  3. > And boy did he get one. I mean, you have to know you’re going to create waves by outing your political affiliation in that manner.

    That is correct. Like when you reject a client audibly when they state in an offhand way that they support Trump. You could have clicked the button and unfollowed him later. And then you call again…that word…clients…basically misogynists. Including people who according to your story only brought up their political affiliation when you demanded.

    I can’t stand Donald Trump and I think that anyone who thinks he’s competent is at least dangerously misinformed. But you know what? No one cares what I think about their political interaction on a date or in any first meeting. I don’t date Trump supporters, but I don’t feel the need to shame them. I would just say “I don’t think we’re compatible” like I would say (or a woman would say to me) to someone for anyone of a million reasons there isn’t going to be another date.

    Do you think that you furthered the cause of.non-Trump supporters in this interaction? Do you think the non-Trump supporters are going to consider the error of their ways because some person they met hours ago loudly disapproves?
    I put it on my online profile that I don’t date Trump supporters and that’s the end of it.

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  4. You might already know this, but on this side of the pond, a trump is a fart. And a Wotsit is a very orange kind of crisp, and also an idiot.

    There have been a lot of jokes…

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  5. To me, there are 2 separate issues: the business and the social. The purpose of business is to make money, and as a result of that the “customer is king” as the saying goes. He or she is the one putting bread on your table, so whatever he or she does or believes is right. Communist, fascist, eco-terroist, whatever, I nod in agreement and support them. I might ask a couple of questions just to prove I’ve been listening, but that’s alright. I’ve heard a lot of idiotic stuff , but that’s just how it goes. It’s not up to a supplier like me to “school” or “correct” a client. Why burn your own banknotes just to score a few points (which will result in zero vote changes, anyway, frankly)? You lose not only the Trump client, but any future business he might recommend. All for a temporary rush. It’s a little hard for me to understand.

    I suppose you could say that you “don’t want certain types of clients,” and that could be okay, as a moral gesture, I guess. But if that’s the case I wonder why you’re in business, not politics or activism. Anyway, in Manhattan it’s hard to imagine you’ll be overwhelmed with people in MAGA hats, so it seems odd to me that you couldn’t just “humor” them for a little while, if only to pad your own bank account. I’m a conservative/libertarian in an overwhelmingly liberal industry (media), so it’s all about keeping clients happy by going along with whatever they say and ignoring the latest water-cooler dig at DJT. Business is business.

    The second issue is cross-political dating. If you really hate conservatives, Republicans, Trump supporters, okay. But even in that case, I see no reason for confrontation. If you truly feel that strongly about it, then it’s probably best to make up some lie as to why you can’t see them. Telling (or strongly implying) to them “their politics sucks” creates needless confrontation and drama, and even perhaps creates an enemy. What happened to discretion?

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