Turlock, California resident Barbara Jensen will be heading to Cleveland’s Republican National Convention to cast her state’s vote for Donald Trump. However, it seems that her decision to actively support and help Trump become the Republican nominee in November may have destroyed her relationship with her daughter.
Aubrey Perry is Jensen’s daughter who lives in Austrailia along with her husband and daughter. Being married to a black man and having a biracial daughter has helped to fine tune Perry’s sensitivity to racism, which made her decision to sever ties to with both her mother and father, who are both Trump supporters, much easier.
Perry explains her decision in a long heartfelt blog. Here’s an excerpt:
Donald Trump has torn my family apart
Greaseball. Wetback. Spic. Beaner. I grew up with these words in the house. Not because that’s what people called us. That’s what we called Mexicans.
At least, my parents did. We were white. We lived in Turlock, California. A blue-collar place with a lot of immigrant labour. My dad ran a one-man pest extermination business, and my mum taught ESL (English as a Second Language) and basic English at a local college. Today, both of my parents are vehement Donald Trump supporters.
Not only are they Trump supporters, but my mum is now on the list of Trump delegates heading to the Republican convention. I found her name when I was scanning the list to see if the white supremacist William Daniel Johnson had been removed (since he’d said he would not be attending): there she was, #10 on the list.
I’d known for a while that my mum was open to the idea of Trump as her candidate. My dad has been a Trump supporter from the beginning. But I’ve lived in Australia for the past seven years. They live in the US. We text and Facebook with each other, but we don’t discuss politics.
And I don’t use Twitter much. But, wow. My mum does. I recently checked her Twitter page for the first time in a while and was shocked. Hateful memes, ugly language, and appearance-based attacks, targeted at Hillary Clinton, stacked up. And not just hateful, but off-topic and malicious calling Hillary “ugly”, “old” and “screechy”. An “unlikeable old bag. The ‘woman card’ stinks!” my mother wrote. My mother! A college instructor! She should know better. She’s no internet troll. Is she?
Which brings me to this. My husband is black. We have a daughter together. My parents’ support of a candidate who could not decide if he should accept the endorsement of the KKK is completely intolerable in our home and, ultimately, in our world.
I commented on my mum’s tweet and asked her if she’d really written those words. Her response: “(American Flag emoji) You don’t share my beliefs, and you don’t have to. (smiley face emoji)” I was shocked.
I told her so. Publicly. Finally. I wrote back, “Your Twitter feed makes me disappointed and embarrassed of you as a person, a supposed critical thinker, and my mother. Shocked.”
And then I found the video clips of her on Fox News interviewed at the Trump rally in Burlingame, in April. “I’m all Trump, only Trump, always Trump, forever Trump,” replayed over and over in my head.
My mother’s response has been to halt communication with me and block me on social media. Painful, but, expected. My father deleted me long ago. But he emails. He emailed me recently to give me some threatening advice: “I know you have never said anything you might not like to be made public,” he wrote, “so if you want to continue this attack mode, please remember all things have consequences.”
It’s a decision I don’t take lightly, one with repercussions that will be felt long after this election, and one that affects my daughter, too, who isn’t old enough to make this choice herself. My mother is in her 60s, my dad in his 70s. They won’t be around forever. But the hate they sow could be.
By ignoring racism, xenophobia, and misogyny within our families, we are accepting it within our culture. To ignore is to accept. As my daughter plays on the floor in front of me while I type this, I think about her ancestry. I think about the suffering that has been endured so that she can live in a free and just world, and I feel a responsibility to the continuity of that humanity. If I don’t oppose my parents’ behaviour and objectives, if I don’t reject Trump and all that he stands for, if I don’t change my family’s vocabulary so that my daughter never knows the hateful words I heard growing up, I’m undoing the progress that generations before me have fought and died for. And that, I won’t accept.
You can read her entire blog here.
Perry’s very personal decision to exclude the people who gave her life should not be dismissed as reactionary or self-indulgent. She obviously feels so deeply that Trump and his populist message is too dangerous to allow into her family’s lives.
Her decision should not be judged or celebrated, although as human beings we may not be able to help not doing one or the other.
For many Americans, this election has become a circus, an almost unreal spectacle which makes it easier not to consider the long-lasting ramifications that Trump’s candidacy will have on America; not to mention what it would mean if he actually won.
But, it’s important to at least try to understand how this country, much like Perry’s family is being torn apart by undercurrents that run far deeper than Donald Trump.
Here’s the Fox News Video that changed Perry’s life.
And here are some tweets from here Mom’s page.
TRUMP your table! pic.twitter.com/u1kZGcFBbo
— Barbara Jensen (@BarbaraJensen1) May 13, 2016
— John Stephenson (@JayS2629) May 12, 2016
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) May 12, 2016
— Man's Story 2 (@Mansstory2) May 12, 2016
— Bill Parker (@xxskifast) May 15, 2016
— ALWAYS TRUMP! (@Always_Trump) May 10, 2016
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 6, 2016
— Jeff a (@dejavuskye) May 4, 2016
— Nikee Lynn (@ModelNikeeLynn) May 10, 2016
— American Right Now (@amrightnow) May 3, 2016