Please Don't Vote For Trump, Grandma

I've known my Grandma for all 30 years of my life. My own personal eternity. On a recent phone call with her, my horrid suspicions about her voting plans were confirmed. My sweet, old Grandma is voting for an over-inflated colon who's learned to speak (albeit poorly), and it's something that I can't reconcile.

And my Grandma is a sweet lady, even though she supports a windmill of nightmares like Trump. She grew up in Borger, Texas, and is the personification of 'Southern Hospitality.' Dale Hankins has no idea what a stranger is. She's loud and funny and has an uncanny ability to connect with everyone, whether they have anything in common with her or not. Even Mexicans, which already puts her miles away from her chosen candidate.

She's also very generous with her finances. I remember going to Grandma's house as a kid, and my sister and I were in the lap of luxury. She would take us to K-Mart, give us $20, and set us loose. It was a king's ransom. I always had the newest Super Soakers, and the mailman new that for a fact! (This was before kids would get saddled with a felony for harassing a government employee with their squirt gun.) After lavishing Britney and I with our fortune, she would buy each of us an aerosol can of whip cream and a Coke. The whip cream was something that we would devour as soon as we got to her house, and the Coke was to settle our stomachs afterword. She financed our health care. Her largess knew no bounds!

As an adult, I have more in common with my Grandma than I do with most people my own age. We both love The Golden Girls, have a passion for firearms (Grandma always has a gun in reach), and have an unrelenting desire to retain personal freedom. We have, however, always differed on the political nuances that inform the ladder.

When I was about eight years old, I was out at my grandparents house in the desert. I was shooting an air rifle with my Grandpa on the top of the hill where their house was. My Grandpa, trying to impress his young grandson with his marksmanship, got the drop on a lizard who was running across the rocks. He planted a BB in the lizards ribs, and I lost my mind. I ran over to the damaged little creature, and scooped him up, bolting into the house to begin a serious operation. I hysterically explained to my Grandma what had happened, and what implements I would need for the upcoming surgery (she financed the lizard's health care too). As I was removing the BB from the tiny reptile's side, being careful not to let the tweezers slip, I heard her voice on the other side of the bathroom door. She yelled “Damn it, Joe Richard! You know the boy loves animals!” She said his middle name. He was definitely in trouble. I put a band aid over the wound, stuck the reptile under the biggest cactus in their yard, certain that he'd be safe from predators, and revealed myself as a future 'Liberal pussy.'

Despite the endless pool of human empathy and maternal instinct that Grandma is able to access, she has been a devout Republican for her whole life. This is true of most of my family. In fact, Britney (my sister) and I are about the only Liberal-minded limbs on the family tree. But why? How can my Grandma, who's as sweet as she is crazy, support a monster like Donald Trump? It's fear. She's scared out of her mind of what a Hillary Clinton White House would bring. Truth be told, I am too. The difference is that people like my Grandma are afraid of Democrats in general. I'm pretty sure that she still thinks Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim. My generation is afraid of corporatist warhawks who can't keep their promises. Therefore, our fear and dislike of Clinton is mutual. It's our reactions that are different.

Grandma, being heavily under the influence of FOX News, has decided that Trump is the proper antidote for Clinton. I, not willing to be bullied into voting out of fear for a candidate who I detest, have started flirting with the possibility of a third-party vote. If Jill Stein makes the ballot in Texas, that's the way that I'm going. I know that a lot of staunch Democrats are shaking with rage at this notion, but it's not really that risky. The Republican party is already backing Clinton in lieu of Trump, and has even released a virtually unknown 'Hail Mary,' named Evan McMillan, in an effort to pull states from Trump. It's not because these savvy political strategists think that McMillan can win. That would be absurd. It's because they hope that he can divide Republican support in swing states, and help Clinton win the election. They know what their return on investment with the Clintons is, and party lines mean nothing in the shadow of serious money.

But my Grandma is a person who loves her family above all else. That's where she may have hope of political redemption. When I got my first guitar, she encouraged me to keep playing it, despite my obnoxious inability to do so at the time. When I started writing, she promised to buy the first copy of my book, as long as I signed it for her. She's still waiting on that one. When I started Citizen Roots Press, she was overcome with pride, even though she knew that she wouldn't agree with anything that we produced. Maybe seeing that horrendous abomination of a presidential candidate mocking a disabled person won't make her change her vote. Maybe witnessing Trump's profound misunderstanding of why “we have nukes, but can't use them” isn't a bad enough trait in a future president for her to come around. But I'm almost positive that if she realized that Trump wants to stop people like her grandson from writing because of that human tangerine's desire to put a moratorium on any criticism of him, she'd have a Gary Johnson sticker on her Rascal Scooter faster than you can cock a .357! She'd be the first to defend our right to carry on with our articles, whether she agrees with us or not.

She wants Trump for the exact same reason most of her peers do. They don't view a Trump vote as them leveraging our future as a means to keep Clinton out. They just don't want to see this country fall to corruption again. They've been sold down the river by almost every presidential administration they've seen over their considerable decades, and the only person who they see as a change to that system is Donald Trump. So tell your grandparents the reality of a Trump administration in macro and micro. Tell them about the horrendous national policies that he's proposed, and then explain their damaging effects on your future and your dreams. After all of that, as they voice their disdain for godless lefties (or however they describe them) show them some details about the third-party option on the Right. Gary Johnson may be a Tea Party weirdo, but he has a much better worldview than that bumbling pile of Cheeto dust that a lot of septuagenarians are planning on voting for. So there you go. That's your real “lesser of two evils.” Encourage the Republicans in your family to vote for Johnson (with whom they likely largely agree), or sit idly by while they do their part to ensure that The White House gets festooned with golden letters that say 'Trump's Mirage' out front. It's your call.

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