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Nick GenoveseNovember 11, 2016
People protest on the University of Connecticut campus against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)People protest on the University of Connecticut campus against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)

I can’t call my parents. At least not today.

I cannot help but feel totally disconnected from my parents, who are celebrating a victory for Donald J. Trump. Somehow, I feel like my parents no longer understand me, and I no longer understand them.

I love my two parents more than any other people in this world. I know they have given me everything. They gave me life. They instilled in me a belief that I can do whatever I put my mind to. They provided me with an expensive college education. They take care of me whenever I am sick or in need of a home-cooked meal. Most important, they have always graced me with their abundant and unconditional love.

As a child, my dad was my little league baseball coach for seven consecutive years. As I grew older, I slowly realized that my dad did not enjoy the game of baseball—that he coached my team simply to spend more time with me. Most of my mom’s text messages end with “love you so much,” or, “I adore you, baby.” When I moved away to college, my mom always told me no matter what happened, that I could always live with her at home if my college plans didn’t work out.

Maybe this is naive, but I’ve tended to base my political views more on a candidate's fundamental character than the nature of his or her policies. This year election didn’t present an easy decision for me, but in a deep place in my heart I knew I couldn’t put my support behind Donald Trump. Not the man who seemed to embody hate, fear and anger.

My parents had an easier time casting their votes. My family is from a well-to-do part of the country, and Fox News is often on the television at home. My dad, a businessman, looks up to Mr. Trump. He says he has learned most of what he knows as a salesman through his book, The Art of the Deal. My mom, too, is a Trump supporter. She is perhaps an even more vocal supporter than my dad.

I had always assumed I would adopt the political beliefs of my parents. That is, until this year’s election. After four years in college, I didn’t realize how much we had grown apart in our political beliefs. Maybe it is because I don’t talk about it much. Recently, I found myself either excusing myself from the dinner table or quickly changing the subject when my parents brought up the election. They probably even believe, like them, that I support Mr. Trump.

This conflict hit its peak on election night, when the text messages in my family group chat started coming in around 9 p.m.

Mom: “CNN just admitted Trump may win! That’s Huge!”

Dad: “We need this.”

Mom: Trump gets Wisconsin! Blue wall broken. He’s going to win!

My only reply: “This is crazy.”

Mom: “If you didn’t believe in miracles before… you have to now!”

Dad: “How great! My children are very lucky.”

Maybe I should feel lucky. As a white male from a upper-middle class family, the election of Donald Trump probably bodes well for my socio-economic future. My dad will likely pay less property taxes. I might even be able to get a job more easily.

Yet on Tuesday, when the result of this election finally sunk in, I teetered on the edge of an emotional meltdown.

I realized this decision was bigger than just me. It was bigger than my family. My parents can’t see that. And I couldn’t see it either until Wednesday morning.

This week I have witnessed an inordinate amount of people hurting because of Donald Trump’s election—and hurting badly. Hundreds of my friends posted Facebook statuses in saddened disbelief. Cries of outrage, “F--- Trump,” echoed down West 56th street, where I work and where he lives. I have hugged people in tears and used humor to cope with the feeling of numbness. During my lunch break, I walked over to the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue where I saw several protesters holding signs reading ““Trump will never be my president.” Men in red “Make America Great Again” caps barked at and even spit on these people.

In the long term, my family may benefit from a Trump presidency. But now, it seems to me, most others will not. L.G.B.T. people, immigrants, refugees, and many of us who desperately want what is for best this country are suffering immensely right now.

This week I have witnessed an inordinate amount of people hurting because of Donald Trump’s election—and hurting badly.

Who I am to go against my parents? Perhaps I should have told them what I most deeply feel. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but maybe it could have.

I now feel hate, fear and anger toward my parents—the same fuel that elected Donald Trump into presidency. But maybe, in the end, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I hope to convert my hate to love, my fear to peace, my anger to justice. I hope in the near future that I will be able to call my parents and honestly tell them what I believe. I hope, most importantly, that we can all be hopeful, knowing this is not yet how the story ends.

Nick Genovese is an O'Hare Fellow at America.
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Crystal Watson
6 years 6 months ago
This is me and my sister with our step-parents. Not sure how to get past this.
Joseph Keffer
6 years 6 months ago
I read this as a very shallow and emotional expression by the author. There is no consideration of the limitations associated with Ms. Clinton whether it be her constant association with tainted issues, her advocacy of late-term abortion, etc. This young man needs to mature and consider the world thoughtfully with all its limitations. There is neither all good nor all evil in these two options that we encountered. Joseph Keffer, M.D.
6 years 6 months ago
This is a very uncharitable comment on a young writer's thoughtful and provocative piece--especially since the main point seems to be bashing the defeated candidate. Let it go! The election is over and we should be concentrating on what we have in common, not on what divides us.
hope more
6 years 6 months ago
Nick, I understand your pain. This election has been hard for everybody. Bottom line, whether you voted blue or red and knowing you have done your best and voted your conscience, then you have performed your duty to this great nation. You should be at peace and know that God is in control. Then, move on the loving God and loving your neighbors again. Start with your neighbors nearest to your heart - your parents. Love them more than yesterday -- that no politics can diminish that love. . I'm 100% sure, nobody voted Trump for his vile actions and words but for whatever good he can bring to the presidency. "We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead'" -- Hillary Clinton. Please call your parents. A lot of people will give everything to get a chance to speak to their parents again one more time.
Annette Magjuka
6 years 6 months ago
Nick, as a Hillary supporter and lifetime champion of social justice and inclusion, I want to thank you for your honesty. I sometimes had sharp disagreements with my parents over politics and certainly over church issues. Both my parents are dead now, and I am 60 with grown children of my own. Here is the advice from an old woman. When you are ready, call your parents. You do not have to change their politics to love them. The fact that they raised a wonderful young man who can assess the issues and is an independent thinker is a wonderful thing. Maya Angelou says, "When you know better, you do better." Social justice demands that you become an advocate. This means speaking up in situations where a person is being mistreated and using your power as a white male to include minorities and women when you have the opportunity. Chances are that you will not "get through" to your parents right now. They may never change their political views. They truly believe that Mr. Trump is best for you and your family and their future. In other words, they are for Trump because they love you. Know this. Do not waste time arguing or fighting. Come together in love as often as you can. Share meals and conversation. You will speak loudly by your inclusive ACTIONS, no need for rhetoric or political arguing. This is my advice. Many regret feuds and fights after their parents or grandparents die. Do not let this happen. Live your truth. Seek justice and the dignity for all. Do this every day, all the time. This is your part. Your parents are trying to do their part. God understands.
Tom Wahl
6 years 6 months ago
I'm sorry but you need to buck up and realize that people have differences. You're also young and new to politics - First, Trump has no control over your dad's property taxes - that's a local issue and assuming these will go down because of Trump is a youthful mistake. Also, Trump can't make all of the changes he claims to want to do and he most likely won't - politicians lie: Guantanamo is still open, we're using drones and killing civilians, etc. So please stop the woe-is-me and the hugs and tears. You will have future candidates lose as well - it happens. And all presidents have extreme claims about them: Reagan was going to nuke the world, Obama was going to make the US communist or a monarchy (depended on the day). So get over the loss - Trump will be gone in 8 or 4 years (or maybe sooner) but your parents have given more years than that to raising you and you will have more years than that being with them in the future. And know this - those people claiming "Trump is not my President," four years ago there were polar opposites claiming the exact same statement about Obama. What would you have thought of them? I'm guessing you'd be aghast. So now we have a new group making the same claim. You should still be aghast because they are as ignorant at the Tea Partiers who made that claim against Obama. But please, suck it up and accept your first Presidential voting loss. You'll win some and lose some. And don't fall into this routine of where everything that goes wrong is sooooo bad. And, appreciate that other people have differing view points and try to understand where they are coming from. Hillary lost because she didn't appreciate the concerns of the blue collar middle class (even Bernie Sanders acknowledges that). Logically argue your views with your parents, but understand their point of view. Good luck! (I write this a parent of a college kid who voted for Hillary while I voted third party.)
Lisa Weber
6 years 6 months ago
Elections are not usually this contentious. There is usually a sense that no matter who wins, the country will basically be okay. The sense that all will be okay is missing because of the incredibly low standards of civility set by the president-elect during the campaign, his utter lack of experience, and his history of corruption. That his campaign was characterized by a complete disregard for facts is also not reassuring. I have seen quite a few elections now and this is the first one that has left me afraid for this country. This election is not typical. If it's the first one you have voted in, rest assured that the outcome does not usually leave people feeling so outraged and in despair.

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