Today something amazing happened. Something really amazing. It all began when my family and I went to do a volunteer project. Just to set the scene, we were helping clean and sort toys and clothing and school supplies for thousands of impoverished kids in Chicago. My family was assigned to the toys section.
ZOEY: Can I have a toy?
ME: No. Today is not about you.
HOLDEN: But can I have this one?
ME: No. Guys, these kids have almost nothing. Don’t you think they should get some toys too?
I think eventually they got it after I said it about 9,000 times. Bwhahahaha, no they didn’t. But anyways, that’s not what this story is about.
While we were sorting toys, there was this one father who kept cracking jokes and being all social and fun and we were laughing with him about all kinds of shit, when suddenly I noticed something. I noticed his t-shirt. I mean yeah he was wearing it the whole time, but we were busy and distracted and I don’t know how I missed it at first but I did. Guess what it said?
A bright red shirt with giant white block letters spelled out Trump and there were more words around it. At first I flinched but ennh, who knows, maybe it says something like “I didn’t vote for TRUMP.” So the next time I passed him on the way to the toys bin, I read it more closely.
And the next time, I read the rest of the words.
GUN TOTING TRUMP SUPPORTER
Wait a second, are you kidding me? THIS guy? THIS dad? This funny family man who’s been buddying up to me and my hubby and acting all goofy and being a great dad to his young son? This guy who’s here just like us giving two hours of his time on a beautiful Saturday in a windowless warehouse to people who are less fortunate is a GUN TOTING TRUMP SUPPORTER?!!!
And that’s when it clicked. Like you could literally hear the screw in my head fall into place. Holy shit.
If we were on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, this guy and I would hate each other. We’d probably say mean things and unfriend each other and feel anger and spikes in our blood pressure. But not in person. Not when we’re sorting toys for children who need our help. Nope, this Trump supporter and I are fixing things and changing the world.
But hell if I was gonna keep my mouth shut. No way, no how. So I walked up to him and I said, hey, can I say something? And he said sure.
ME: So here’s the thing. I see you’re a Trump supporter. I’m a Clinton supporter. But I think it’s awesome that we’re both here doing the same thing and getting along.
ME: I’m Karen.
HIM: I’m Joey.
And we shook hands and chuckled about it. And then he told me that his wife didn’t want him to wear that shirt this morning. She said that he was going to an event with lots of kids and that he shouldn’t cause problems. What’s hilarious is that he wore his shirt and it did the total opposite. It ended up teaching me something.
We need to stop calling each other names and start calling each other by our real names. We need to get to know each other underneath our Trump shirts and Hillary bumper stickers. I might not like Trump, but that doesn’t mean I have to hate the people who like him. We might not agree on how to make our cities safer, or how to help the people who need help, or how to fix the world, but we all want to.
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