If there’s one thing I’ve learned about text-based communication, it’s that whatever follows an elongated “Yo!” greeting never disappoints. So when I saw one in a Slack DM notification from one of my co-workers a couple months ago, I was sure to swallow my mint tea before opening the message.
This time, the message actually did disappoint. What followed was a screenshot from the Instagram page of our VP of marketing (let’s just call her Alice) pictured standing next to Donald Trump. “You peep this?” my colleague wrote. Trying to seem unfazed, I responded with a simple “Nah.” But since that day, I haven’t been able to unsee that photo of Alice, smiling like a fangirl, alongside Trump, smiling like the ugly racist he is.
Go figure, I just have this thing where I don’t like White supremacists or the people who support them.
Trump has been trash for decades. You knew that back in 1989, when he purchased a full-page ad in The New York Times advocating for the death penalty of five Black and Latino young men who were wrongly convicted of the rape and assault of a jogger. I won’t waste space here on dude’s substantial portfolio of racism and xenophobia before and since that well-documented situation, but my feelings on 45 are perhaps best summed up by YG and Nipsey Hussle’s timeless anthem “FDT.” Go figure, I just have this thing where I don’t like White supremacists or the people who support them.
Before Trump became president, I could at least show grace to folks who watched The Apprentice. I didn’t care for it, but didn’t see a reason to knock those who did. That all stopped when he took over Barack Obama’s spot in the Oval Office and polarized the country in a way we hadn’t seen since the O.J. Simpson trial. Politics became the third rail of workplace conversation. Very few weren’t surprised by the results of that fateful election, and that shock took a long time to fade. His presidential antics, bizarre public statements, and problematic executive decisions only made things worse.
The caption of Alice’s post read “Get well POTUS,” followed by emojis of an American flag, prayer hands, and a face covered in a mask (the irony!). She indicated that the photo was taken back in 2014. Still, she posted it in 2020, which told me everything I needed to know about her current-day political leanings. And as a marketing professional and person with a baseline degree of common sense, I’m sure Alice understood the optics, too. Any public proclamation about Trump that isn’t condemning him is a brazen endorsement.
I once really enjoyed working with Alice. On several occasions, she’d make space for my input in meetings when it was clear I was being interrupted by co-workers or my voice was being drowned out. She’s the type of VP who’d rally us for a team happy hour upon completion of a big project. She’d always recommend that we get tacos. She loves tacos. Which begs the question: How can she love tacos and love the man who hates the people who created tacos?
Don’t answer that.
When I think back on some of those team outings, I remember the times when Alice would fly above the fray during casual Trump shade sessions, and eventually change the subject. I didn’t think much of it; I just assumed she wasn’t good at roasting. Considering the reported breakdown of the White female vote in 2016, maybe I should’ve guessed differently, and considered the statistical likelihood of sharing office space with someone who’d only ever shade dude on a ballot.
Still, I’m not going to quit my job due to this recent development, so I have to continue to collaborate with this woman who will very likely vote for Trump in three weeks, further endangering the welfare of Americans — especially those who look like me. It’s simply asinine, pulling for a wannabe fascist who is unwilling to denounce White supremacy during a particularly tumultuous time in our country’s history, and unfit to lead a nation battered by a pandemic. If she had posted a photo of herself with George W. Bush, I wouldn’t have cared — but honestly, it also probably wouldn’t have been sent to me, either. It all makes me wonder if there are other employees at the company who keep a MAGA hat resting on their mantles at home.
Perhaps after Election Day, when we’ve hopefully voted Trump the hell out of office, I can move past what I saw. That’ll be even easier to do if I max out on my year-end bonus, and manage a raise above the standard-of-living percentage. (Hey, I’m not above forgetting things for the right price.) Until then, I guess I have to continue to bust my ass to keep this direct deposit hitting every other Friday — and vote like my life depends on it. Michelle Obama may have said, “When they go low, we go high” but I say, “When they go low, I go to work.”