My attempt to understand how my cousin, J Cruz, could support Donald Trump provoked the range of response you might expect when a Trump critic and a Trump supporter sit down to talk. Or rather when a Trump critic sits down to listen to a Trump supporter.
The difference this time was that the lefties were irritated and the right complimentary. Generally speaking. Most heartening was the number of people trying to figure out a way to have this same conversation.
For some readers, my love for my cousin made me blind, willing to accept what I otherwise would not. I can’t argue with that premise.
For others, that same love allowed me to maintain a generosity, a humility that I may not have otherwise possessed. I can’t argue with that, either.
J and I are still talking about Trump. Overall, he says he’s pleased with how things are going, encouraged even. It gets harder for me to understand.
For now, here’s what some of you had to say about our first conversation:
“What I heart in this man is hope. It sounds like he’s done some sound thinking, but the missing pieces include the fact that the Republican establishment outrightly stated their intent to block nearly everything President Obama put forth. I never lost respect for the man himself, but lost respect for the Congress. I am deeply disappointed.” — Christine Cline-Cardot
“The millenials said it best. Both parties are just the same. At least your cousin voted. PS. There were a lot of Libertarians working for Bernie.” — Barbara Harvey
“Wow, the words out of your cousin’s mouth are the same that come from my friends who voted for him. It is beyond me. All I know is that during the Bush era we lost everything because of the banks, we found hope with Obama because we were able to at least purchase a condo that was ours, but to start over at 62 and 65 was hard but we are doing good at this post but hope, I have no hope with him and our Congress. — Jan Steckline
An excellent read. It allows a Trump supporter to explain. The biggest thing I haven’t yet heard is how someone listens to Trump and comes to the conclusion that he will actually bring the change he was talking about. Your cousin seems to be saying that doesn’t matter, that EVERY politician lies and won’t deliver on promises, but Trump’s stance is a good initial bargaining position. It will be interesting to hear his take on Trump after a year in office – I hope you will have the conversation again. — JohninDenver
Love you, Tina. But a man who says he knows a Muslim registry could lead to interment but is okay with it is not a nice, good person. You love him so you think so. As someone who could end up in a camp, I see him as someone as destructive, dangerous and idiotic as trump himself. — Imani S. Latif
What a wonderful conversation between two people with different views. Maybe possibly there was acceptance at the end…. how wonderful to accept others differences.. then I read the comments below to your article and realize the truth, there more people who cannot accept differences ever! We don’t think alike…. we never will and we don’t have to. Thank you for this conversation, as a Trump supporter. Thank you for taking the time to listen…” — Jan Carol McCay
Reading this and thinking, I’m pissed off too at wall street greed and corruption, crumbling infrastructure, lack of quality education. Yet, I came to a very different conclusion about what leaders were most likely to improve those things. It seems we care about the same things, but he blames the problems on the wrong people. Immigrants, muslims, poor people. No wonder he likes Trump.” — Lisa Malick
Very good read a non-Trump supporter trying to understand his family member who is. Understanding the frustration and the enthusiasm. I did not vote for Trump nor Hillary. I do champion getting America back to work. Call centers in New Mexico & Colorado instead of India. It is not racist to think about your fellow American and let them reap the benefits of a job in America. — Mary Greene
What I like about this story from Tina Griego is her exploration of Trump voters who are not crazies and racists, who are actually normal and maybe even family. They realize all candidates are flawed — politicians are human, after all — but they chose the one that spoke to their hearts. To my family members who voted for Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump, I love you all. — Lynn Bartels
Brilliant, beautiful and perhaps a path forward for the conversation and open mindedness all of us will hopefully develop in the near future–thanks to the Griego-Cruz clan for a core reminder of who we are collectively. — Patrick Teegarden
I hope Tina will do a follow-up article with her cousin in 4-6 months. — Stephanie James