How I became friends with, GASP, I almost can’t type it

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.


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.

HIM: Totally.

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.

And if we can stop hating each other and start working together, we can actually get some awesome shit done.

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There are 40 comments for this article
  1. Pamela Green at 10:21 am

    I wish more people would feel that way! Good for you! I love your blogs and love that you take your children to do volunteer work like this!
    Signed-female Trump supporter 🙂

  2. Susan at 11:16 am

    I LIVE this! I’m not a Trump supporter but I’m not a Clinton supporter either. I fall somewhere in the middle. I consider myself fiscally conservative but socially liberal. So this election cycle and the aftermath has been really really hard to watch. And the divisions in our country, are literally painful to watch.

  3. Shelly at 11:26 am

    And now — I like you even more. I have been saying this for so long — if we could all just GET along and STOP LABELING each other — this world would be a better place. Get rid of the labels. Get rid of the political parties. Get rid of straight and gay and bi and all of it — and just be PEOPLE!! Bless you. I was considering not following your blog any longer because of the politics — but now — my faith is renewed. WE ARE ALL JUST PEOPLE. Bless you.

  4. Jen at 11:50 am

    I came to that realization pretty quickly after moving to Texas. Some of my best friends are Republicans, I can’t say that any of them are ‘Trump supporters’ but they support him in his role as President. They are just standing up for what they believe to be the right thing for all of us, same as we are. It’s just that we differ in what we think is best, and how we reach it.

  5. Avra at 12:01 pm

    I love that this happened, and love that you wrote about. But honestly, you’re a better woman than I. I’m not saying that I don’t know any Trump supporters (or gun-toters for that matter), or that I’m not casual friends with some. But I’m fairly certain I would have a hard time having a conversation with someone wearing that in-your-face shirt, or befriending them. YOU are an awesome role-model for your kids. HE should have listened to his wife! Lol!

    • Meg at 8:09 pm

      ^Yes, this. If a person voted for him, they are showing they are capable of overlooking racism, misogyny and a host of other things rooted in hate and disgust for other humans. Frankly, I found this disappointing.

  6. Allison at 12:14 pm

    I cannot say THANK YOU enough for this post. I grow so tired seeing all the hate people spew at each other just because of political leanings. I am a Trump supporter–and I am tired of people assuming s**t about me…I am compassionate, want our children to get a good education and grow up in a safe place (not to be confused with a safe space), and donate to charities; I am also gun-toting, hard working mom who believes everybody should work to their potential. If we could just talk to each other as people (like the two of you did) rather than see each other as an assumption of what the other represents, the world would be a much happier place. ❤️

  7. Stephanie at 12:30 pm

    Thank you for this! I feel the way you do, but I’m in a relationship with someone who refuses to see Trump supporters as worthy human beings. It’s very frustrating as my best friend is a Trump supporter and he makes snide comments about her because of it. As another post stated, I’m also fiscally conservative and socially liberal, so no front running candidate really appealed to me. But I can definitely live and let live and have reasonable and rational discussions with anyone with opposing views. Difference is that I usually only get into those discussions face to face and stay as far away from them as I can on social media.

  8. Gloria el at 12:56 pm

    Nope. Can’t do it. Especially to be that ballsy about it. To actual wear a shirt promoting that he carries a gun to an event with families. Yuck. Just yuck. I hope this isn’t a post just to win back fans you may have lost over your reaction to t rump. I’m not saying you had to start a political discussion and not be friendly but to go as far as to post about it? And think he was ok despite his shirt. No.

    • Outskirtsmom at 2:55 pm

      “Gun toting” does NOT mean he has a gun on him at this family event!!! I am a “gun toter” – meaning I pack my shotgun in the trunk to take to the range, have a pistol in my home for protection, go hunting, and would concealed carry if I was entering a situation in which I felt unsafe.
      This is the problem: confusion and misunderstanding. Information is key!!!

  9. Christin at 1:23 pm

    I’ll need to read this about 1000 times for it to change what my brain perceives as a Trump Supporter (and unfortunately, the few I actually do know help to confirm it) but I am willing to do so. Thanks for a piece well written. As always, I learn something from each of your essays, even when I don’t think I am! haha! (girl, how could you miss THAT shirt? Holy buckets!)

  10. tom at 1:36 pm

    Was he carrying a gun? Would it make you nervous if he was? One of the things that I worry about is people having the guns they carry fall out of their waist band or pocket and going off.

    • Rene at 10:46 am

      Many who do conceal or open carry (in states that allow that – I live in Arizona and we are an open carry state) actually use holsters that are fairly secure. The holster generally has a leather or fabric piece that velcros or snaps over the hilt of the gun. It’s not likely to “fall out of their waistband or out of a pocket.” This is, of course, in reference to “responsible gun owners and carriers.” Many also have a gun safe at home where they keep the majority of their guns (at times all of them – like when there are children around).

      Yes, there are people who own guns who are not always responsible and/or smart about making sure that their guns are kept away from little hands and curious minds. If every single owner was, then we would never hear about accidental shootings caused by children who got ahold of guns they shouldn’t have. However, with the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of guns owned in this country, the actual number of these accidential shootings is really quite low. It’d be far better if it were zero, but that seems to be a pipe dream…

  11. 10centsofdates at 1:39 pm

    We have had this realization about a few people. When they are broken down into stats or opinions, they are not people they are in person. Being human is so much more than what is written about someone, even by themselves.

  12. Nancy at 2:12 pm

    Amen! I have lost friends because I am willing to agree to disagree and they were not. It doesn’t matter our political beliefs, in the end we’re all trying for the same goal. If we can’t work together despite our difference, we’re never going to get anything accomplished. I am so glad you had this moment to get to know him and to realize that not all Trump supporters are angry, uneducated old meanies. LOL! Because we’re not! 🙂

  13. Megan at 3:08 pm

    This is amazing. Absolutely amazing. A lot of Trump supporters are scared – seriously scared to say they support him or to even just say they lean more to the republican side of the scale. I’m one of them. At the end of the day, we’re all human. We all breathe the same air and want to raise our children in a world where good overcomes bad. I think if everyone started thinking that way, instead of that one way is right and one way is wrong, our world would be a much better place. Thank you for your post.

  14. Mary Schneider (Life With Teens) at 3:27 pm

    Good for you Mama. I’d have a hard time getting past the Trump supporter (I own guns so…) but you’re absolutely right. We need to work together.

    The thing is, I’ve got Trumpers on my friend list still… they are the ones who didn’t express blatantly homophobic or bigoted or xenophobic opinions after the election, but who believe in fiscally conservative policies and have some socially conservative, but reasonable, compassionate, and understandable, opinions as well.

    There are some hills I’m willing to die on. Political candidate is not one of them… but defending my family and friends of other races, orientations, or religions, for those principles I will stand up.

  15. G.T.Void at 3:40 pm

    Wow! A lot of ignorance in these replies about who Trump supporters really are and what they stand for, but when you get your news from sources that are flat out manipulating and misleading you, then that is what will happen. Trump supporters accept people and difference of opinion; free speech; hard work; respect for each other. It was the left and Hillary supporters that had riots and physically assaulted people; shut down conservative speech at colleges; ginned up lies about xenophobia and the like. It has been proven the democrats paid for this to happen.

    I don’t understand how anyone can support Hillary, the most verifiably corrupt candidate ever to run for office.

    • j at 8:44 am

      “the most verifiably corrupt candidate ever to run for office” – you mean trump, right? we don’t go one single day without lies and corruption and more lies and corruption out of his office and his entire family.

      “Trump supporters accept people and difference of opinion; free speech; hard work; respect for each other.” – literally none of this is true. you yourself just said things that indicate you do not accept differences of opinion, and do not show respect for people.

  16. Aimee at 6:19 pm

    Trump supporters may do nice things in their day to day lives, but they also support a president who is racist, transphobic, xenophobic, etc. I judge people based on their values as well as their actions, and these values are not acceptable to me.

    I respect you for participating in this worthwhile project and trying to make a connection with another human being, but I don’t agree with this post and will stop following you as a result.

    This is not about politics. This is about the belief that all people are equal, and anyone who continues to support Trump does not share that belief.

  17. Mama W at 10:09 pm

    I do not ever post comments usually. And if I do it is generally a funny comment about something someone in my family has posted. So this is rare! I get a feeling that everyone has lost sight of the possibility that it might be a God thing that these things happen in our lives! There is a reason why things happen in our life and we need to listen. I do see the bad things that are happening in our time but I also see the good. I know that as a person I cannot change everything but as a people we can! But we can’t get there righting all their time! I know we have our differences that’s what makes this country what it is. Freedom of Petty much everything! So yes we have a government who has lost sight of what is really important but we don’t have to do the same!

  18. Mama W at 10:16 pm

    I love your family stories by The way meant to tell you that! Laugh my a*s off and I appreciate a good laugh every time I can get it!

  19. G.T.Void at 10:01 am

    Aimee, that makes you a totally ignorant fool. The president is none of the above. How is enforcing the laws of this country by protecting the borders and keeping us racist or xenophobic? He has targeted no one but ILLEGAL ALIENS. Transphobic? That’s not even a word, which I suppose you are trying to say hates transgenders but really means “fears” transgenders… that is to imply “genders” is part of trans in the first place.

    Catering to .5% of the population of the rights of the majority is just asinine. You are a prime example of the brain-washed left who don’t bother to be truly informed but just spout what your lefty media tells you to spout. Mika B let in slip on-air that “it is our job (the media) to tell people what to think.”

    Get informed.

    • j at 8:47 am

      it’s so sad that you’ve been brainwashed so thoroughly by right wind extremism and fake news. maybe one day you can learn to think for yourself.

      • G.T.Void at 5:47 pm

        You are the brainwashed one by the fake media. What has Trump done that is corrupt? Nothing. Russia is a total fabrication by the media. Hillary’s corruption is so long I can’t even fit it on this page. Just count how many suspiciously murdered bodies are around her. The Clinton Foundation was a total slush fund. Go read something truthful, get real facts, not lefty fabricated facts.

  20. Chris at 5:02 pm

    I just subscribed to your blog today. Its the first blog I have ever subscribed to. Yes. The First. I read your blog about the Vegas shootings. Then another…then another. You are keeping it real. I’m not a Hillary fan…but I’m not exactly a Trump fan either. Our world is seriously messed up. I don’t know how its going to get better. I hear more people now than EVER say… Why can’t we all just get along…but yet we are all getting along worse than ever. Anyway. Thanks for your blog. I’m loving it so far. Keep up the good work. Chris from ND….

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