November 15, 2020 Editor

Trump’s Politics Fractured My Family. Where Do We Go After The Election?

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Trump’s Politics Fractured My Family. Where Do We Go After The Election?

I’m a Democrat, they’re Republicans. Healing the political divide will be America’s next challenge.

Updated 11/13/2020

By Jenn Merritt, Special To HuffPost



WN: The article highlighted below holds special sadness for me, given a similar concern in our family with some members–Trump supporters: one vehemently, the other less so, though has expressly  written me off. The line-up follows suit: (at times pontification about) Anthropogenic Climate Disruption denial; anti-immigration; anti-Muslim; anti-peace; anti-liberal; anti-feminist; anti-rational; anti-caring; anti-decency; xenophobic; angry–verging sometimes on hatefulness.

That’s one part of the extended family. Another part has at times called me pointedly a (Christian) heretic,  embracing a rigid religious fundamentalism brooking no compromise–or discussion.

Another part, though lacking in theological, philosophical, literary or historiographical training, pontificates just the same about the above in a know-better-than-the-text New Testament portrait of Jesus, about church (generic), about attribution to Western church history of (seemingly) all things nasty in the West; about the Apostle Paul (damn him!); in an airy superior-than-thou (“But surely . . .“) display largely devoid of openness to dialogue: another anti-rational kind of (inverse religious) fundamentalism.

And I–and my blind spots?! . . . After all, so the above strikes me. But what colours my perceptions? What openness do I show to dialogue? What willingness do I exhibit to transcend these differences?

So there. It all can feel painful at times. (But I keep hoping!)

Fuller musings on some of the above is here: Easter Song, Keith Green, and Reflections on the Resurrection.


In 2016, I watched from Ontario as it became clear that Donald Trump would win the U.S. election. The dismay I felt was made worse knowing that very soon, my Canadian husband-to-be would come face to face with some of Trump’s most fervent supporters a few weeks later.

We drove down to North Carolina to celebrate American Thanksgiving with my parents. It would be my fiancé’s first time meeting extended family. I was an American citizen and a Democrat, and warned him that we’d be the only non-Republicans in attendance. The mood was cordial until he politely asked those gathered why they supported the then-president elect.

When he responded in kind about Canada’s admiration for Obama, another guest wordlessly unholstered his handgun and placed it on the table. That pretty much wrapped up the evening.

All I could do was put my head down on the table and wait for it to be over, much like I had most my life. 

Meanwhile in America, years went by as Trump left chaos and uncertainty in his wake. He separated and caged migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, tear gassed peaceful protestors for a photo op and encouraged police brutality

My anxiety over Trump’s abuses compounded on social media, where I put up with pro-Trump posts to keep in touch with family and friends. The breaking point for me came when I heard Trump describe white supremacists chanting “you will not replace us” during their march through Charlottesville, Va. as “very fine people.”

Sharing my criticisms online led to a Trump-supporting family member telling me to “shut up and fall in line like all the other women in the family.” I did neither, and blocked family members from my accounts. Needless to say, interactions with my folks became shorter and significantly less frequent.

Please click on: Trump Family Fractures

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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