For the past couple of weeks I had been hoping to encounter a Trump supporter. And I wanted one that was clearly a Trump supporter; not one that I assumed was a Trump supporter.
I’ve been struggling with jumping to the conclusion that certain people are Trump supporters ever since I got run off the road by an aggressive guy in a large pick-up, wearing a cowboy hat, who seemed to think he owned the highway and had complete disregard for the safety of other people on it. Even though he was not displaying any visual confirmation that he supported our President’s undesirable rhetoric and actions, because he behaved dangerously and presented in a certain way, I jumped to the conclusion that he also supports someone who demonstrates what I view as undesirably aggressive and self-centered behavior. I do realize how wrong it is to make assumptions about people. Sometimes I blame my training in advertising that causes me to focus people’s demographics and the choices they typically make, but in reality, I know that it’s human nature to make assumptions about the people around us. Despite knowing how wrong it is to judge, I would still bet my life that that guy in the cowboy hat and big pick-up did not vote for Hillary. Because I am independent politically (and, therefore, an equal opportunity offender) I want to neutralize any offense caused by my judgment of the pick-up driver by stating that I know plenty of rude and selfish people who voted for Hillary. I believe that bad behavior is a bipartisan thing.
Anyway, a few days ago I was on the hunt for a documented Trump supporter so that I could complete the assignment on my MELT Moments card prompting me to: Say something kind to a Trump supporter. Where I typically spend my days, I don’t usually encounter people who strike me as Trump supporters. I had some errands to do and I decided that I would go to Walmart to increase my chances of finding a Trump supporter. (This has nothing to do with passing judgment, but with the fact that in the past I’ve seen a lot of Trump paraphernalia proudly displayed by Walmart patrons.) Thankfully, I was spared that shopping trip because as I got out of my car at the DMV, I spotted a guy wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. I couldn’t believe my luck. I’m sure I smiled more enthusiastically than I usually would at a stranger and immediately caught the guy’s attention as he got out of his big pick-up. I was trying to figure out what kind thing I could say to the elderly man when he said, “Good morning” to me in a tone that was much friendlier than I am accustomed to hearing from strangers. As we walked together across the large parking lot to the DMV office, he proceeded to comment on what a beautiful day it was and the unusually nice weather we had been experiencing recently . . . it was classic Minnesota small talk, but he was so kind sounding and respectful toward me. By the time we were inside the DMV I wished we could go out to lunch together so I could get to know him.
As I left the DMV and kindly told the Trump supporter I hoped that he would have a great day, I felt foolish for some of my pre-conceived notions about big pick-up driving Trump supporters. I met one who was really kind to me and I want to believe there are many more kind, big pick-up driving Trump supporters like him . . . or maybe he was just trying to complete an assignment that day because he was carrying a card that said: Be very kind to someone who is prone to making unjustified assumptions about people.
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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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