First of all – hi. I’d like to start off by commiserating with you a little bit, because I get what you’re doing. I totally do.
It’s so, so frustrating to sit here feeling like our country is on the verge of political apocalypse, watching poll after poll report jarring, increasingly insane results. It’s frustrating to feel like our hands are tied; it’s compelling to want to do or say something — ANYTHING — to turn the tide of voters back towards reason and sanity. It’s annoying to see disillusioned Americans lament how “we are screwed either way,” because “my God, how did we come up with the two worst candidates everrrr?,” without them seeming to realize that the difference between the candidates is far more striking and fearsome than a kind of general public distaste for both; they somehow fail to recognize how the havoc wreaked by a Trump presidency would be more than a mere stone’s throw away from a tempered and stable, if initially widely disliked, Clinton administration.
So, yeah. I get it. But here’s the thing:
The Trump supporters you’re targeting aren’t reading your open letters to them. They aren’t inspired by your impassioned descriptions of dire consequences; they aren’t swayed by your carefully crafted prose or your meticulously researched evidence. It’s not that your letters aren’t good — many are spreading like wildfire online, right? (You’ve gone viral! You’re making a difference! People must be listening!)
You’re writing to an audience that you assume to be rational. And truly, most Donald Trump supporters, at this point, cannot be considered rational. They aren’t seeing your letters. They aren’t reading your letters. And even if, by chance, they are — they aren’t affected by your letters.
So what can we do? Should we stop writing open letters?
I mean, maybe. If it means it might free up some of your time — go for it. Because honestly, they are not changing squat for serious (serious??) Trump enthusiasts. But on the upside, people who agree with you are positively eating that stuff UP, so that’s something you definitely have going for you. And there’s the added benefit that in publishing your letters online you’ve firmly established yourself in the public eye as a person of sound reasoning, logic and sensibility, so, you know — go you!
But maybe it’s more important at this juncture to target those disillusioned voters more than anyone else — to implore them to recognize the crucial differences between two vastly disliked, but still vastly disparate, candidates for the highest office in the land. To hope against hope that their disillusionment won’t translate to their refusal to vote in the November election. To encourage them that a vote for Clinton is not necessarily a vote for “the lesser of two evils,” but rather a vote against our national, potentially global, downfall.
Otherwise, I don’t know that all these fervent appeals to Trump supporters are making much — or sorry, any — headway toward getting them to see the light. Because if his deranged Twitter rants aren’t turning them off…can anything?
Just Another Open Letter Writer