“I don’t even feel like I can say I’m a Republican because the hatred and the intolerance spill over,” says the woman.” I certainly could not put up a Republican bumper sticker on my car.”
She first agreed to be quoted by name, “to show there are people in this town who are Republicans, and that’s okay.” But after talking it over with family members she changed her mind. Her neighbors “wouldn’t be rude to me” in person, she says, but she was afraid she’d be flamed online.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton got 86 percent of the vote in the city, capping decades of decline for local Republicans. Ingrid Sheldon, the city’s last Republican mayor, left office in 2000, and the last two GOP councilmembers switched parties a few years later. Today’s council is not a big happy family, but it is a Democratic one.
Sheldon and others from her era identified as Milliken Republicans, after the late governor Bill Milliken: fiscally conservative, socially progressive. She says she is not voting for Trump–and adds, “I think anyone who is a Trump supporter is keeping very quiet.”
Yes. Republican National Committee member Rob Steele–whose Facebook profile photo shows him with the president, grinning and giving a thumbs-up–didn’t respond to an email or a call to his office (he’s a cardiologist). Former Republican county commissioner Dan Smith agreed to a phone interview but canceled by email, citing “the extremes that unfortunately exist locally.” The Washtenaw County Republican organization didn’t respond to emails, and, as of mid-October, no longer had a working phone number.
Social worker Samantha Toma emails that she’s “a little nervous to ‘come out'” as a Republican. “I probably would be a pro-life Democrat,” she says, “but they’ve made it clear we’re not welcome.” She finds community instead with her church, Christ the King Catholic parish.
Roger Kuhlman is not afraid to voice his support for Trump in local online forums, though the retired accountant admits he might be if he were still working. A leftie when he was young (“I went through a period when I thought Lenin was all right”), he now sounds off frequently on what he calls Ann Arbor’s intolerance, and says he’s been banned from nextdoor.com for his contrarian views. “The left-wing activists have become so intolerant it’s frightening,” he says. “The idea that America is dominated by systematic racism and white supremacy is hateful.”
Dentist Doug Hock says that some friends have tried to “shame” him and his wife for their support of Trump. “We tried to tell them it’s not the candidate,” he says. While admitting Trump has “a very abrasive personality,” Hock appreciates his support for “religious freedom, increased manufacturing jobs, [bringing] troops home.” He describes global warming as “a controversial thing.”
Hock believes that “social media and Trump combined to make [political discussions] much more volatile … My wife likes to openly talk about politics. I tell her ‘Be careful, be careful.'”
He says they felt “a good deal of trepidation” when they put out a small Trump/ Pence sign on their front lawn. Persons unknown moved it a couple of times, to places where it was harder to see, but it was not stolen, as he’d feared it might be. And one neighbor “complimented us for having the gumption to put up a sign.”
That neighbor even gave them a second Trump sign–though he suspects that may have been because she was afraid to put it up in her own yard.
from Calls & Letters, December 2020
In online comments, several readers suggested that local supporters of Donald Trump were protesting too much about being persecuted, noting the president’s incendiary statements and pointing out that Biden backers, too, were harassed in the runup to the election (“Lonely Republicans,” Inside Ann Arbor, November.)
In an email, Judy Cohen added that Roger Kuhlman was only temporarily barred from Nextdoor.com. We should have specified that he told us he was banned for a month.
It is so sad to see people afraid to acknowledge their party affiliation. When did it became us against them? Suspect that’s why I’m a registered Independent.
It is not “hatred and intolerance.” It is impatience and (sometimes) contempt. When trump supporters offer false, often ludicrous, justifications for their support (bringing back manufacturing jobs, which are down due to tariffs, “religious freedom” for Christian evangelicals and right wingers only, “bringing back the troops” when the policies are impulsive, haphazard, and destabilizing) it seems the roots of their support are elsewhere in trumps thoroughly corrupt and authoritarian character.
As for bans, the only ones I’ve seen are for any dive language and posting of debunked claims, often about COVID or lies about trump’s “enemies.”
Hi, I don’t think republicans should be worried in Ann Arbor. I think we are all entitle to have our candidates. If, Trump has been a good citizen nobody will be so unhappy with his job as president of this country, even outside the US he is not considered a right fit, and many had asked how the country elected him. People in other states had been attacked by republicans who don’t like the Biden signs, even we have a friend that a car ran over their garden to pass over and destroy their Biden sign. Others signs got stolen and people are afraid to put out their signs. All because this president has promoted hate and fear instead of peace and love.
Peace to all of you!
“because the hatred and the intolerance spill over” I wish this statement were not so general — as it stands it gives the impression that should I express disagreement with her political views that would be seen as “hatred and intolerance”. Nor do I know any Democrats that would not welcome “pro-life” Democrats — or does this comment narrowly confine itself to anti-abortion instead of meaning pro-life in the wider sense? As for the man who said “The left-wing activists have become so intolerant it’s frightening,” he says. “The idea that America is dominated by systematic racism and white supremacy is hateful.” Is he actually saying that ‘the idea’ is hateful rather than the practice? As for Mr. Hock, who “appreciates [Trump’s]support for “religious freedom”, I would refer him to the actual definitions of those words: religious freedom: the right to choose what religion to follow and to worship without interference and without punishment from the government; versus bigot: a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race. Nor does any educated person today seriously consider the climate crisis “a controversial thing” — and the evidence for that is easily available for anyone who cares to read it. And as a mild person who loves people as well as scholarship, I must say I’m getting terribly tired of being characterized as “extreme, hateful, intolerant” etc. Why is the Observer giving a platform to this kind of divisive nonsense?
“The idea that America is dominated by systematic racism and white supremacy is hateful.” Yes, it is hateful. Unfortunately, the “systemic racism” part is also true.
What the anonymous Ann Arbor Republican who cited the “intolerance” of liberals in her statements to the Observer is missing is context. To her, these are simply political views. To me, for example, her support of Trump communicates to me that she does not think my transgender friends deserve access to healthcare, or that my gay friends’ marriages should be legal, or that my Black friends deserve equal protection under their own government, or that my immigrant friends deserve to live in the country they’ve called home for decades, or that my son deserves any effort to prevent the climate disasters that almost certainly await him, or that my mother deserves any of the social security money my father worked for until the morning he died this year, or that my immunocompromised friends deserve protection from a little-known deadly virus, or that my friends who have suffered through the worst of COVID-19 are telling the truth … this list goes on.
If we turn our backs on those who wish to harm the ones we love, that can hardly be called “intolerance.” I think what this neighbor is confusing for intolerance is actually the formation of a protective barrier from the well-established harm of her ideas, not that they are different from our own.
If you are a liberal who can’t stand Trump, and cannot possibly fathom why conservatives would ever vote for him let me finally fill you in.
How is that possible you might ask? Well, you have done everything in your power to destroy our country. From tearing down the police, to tearing down our history, to tearing down our borders. From systematically destroying our schools and brainwashing our kids into believing socialism is the answer to anything (despite being an unmitigated failure everywhere), while demonizing religion and faith, and glorifying abortion, violence, and thug culture.
From calling us racists every time we expect everyone of any skin color to follow our laws equally, to telling us that our “tolerance” of lifestyles we don’t agree with isn’t nearly enough — no we must “celebrate” any lifestyle choice or gender option (forget science) you throw our direction or you think it’s fine to calls us homophobic or some other degrading slur you decide is okay to call us — ironically all while lecturing us on hate speech. While you gaslight us about 52 genders, polyamory, grown men in dresses sharing public locker rooms with little girls, and normalize the sexualization of young children, you simultaneously ridicule us for having the audacity to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or hang a flag on the 4th of July, stand for the national anthem, or (horror or horrors) don a MAGA hat in public. So much for your “tolerance.” (See why we think you are just hypocrites??)
We’re also not interested in the fact that you think you can unilaterally decide that 250 years of the right-to-bear-arms against a tyrannical or ineffective government should be abolished because you can’t get the violence in the cities you manage under control. That free-speech should be tossed out the window, and that those who disagree with your opinions are fair game for public harassment or doxing, That spoiled children with nose-rings and tats who still live off their parent’s dime should be allowed to destroy cities and peoples livelihoods without repercussions. That chaos, and lawlessness, and disrespect for authority should be the norm. This is your agenda. And you wonder why we find you more dangerous than Donald Trump?
Your narrative is a constant drone of oppressor/oppressed race-baiting intended to divide the country in as many ways as you possibly can. You love to sell “victim-hood” to people of color every chance you get because it’s such an easy sell compared to actually teaching people to stand on their own two feet and take personal responsibility for their own lives and their own communities and their own futures. But you won’t do that, you will never do that, because then you will lose control over people of color. They might actually start thinking for themselves, God forbid!
This is why we will vote for Donald Trump. Not because he is the most charming character on the block. Not because he is the most polite politician to have ever graced the oval office. Not because he is the most palatable choice, or because we love his moral character or because the man never lies, but because we are sick to death of you and all of the destructive crap you are doing to this once beautiful and relatively safe country. Your ineffective and completely dysfunctional liberal “leadership”(?) has literally destroyed our most beautiful cities, our public education system, and done it’s damnedest to rip faith out of people’s lives.
However bad Donald Trump may be, and he is far from perfect, every day we look at you and feel that no matter what Donald Trump says or does there is no possible way he could be any worse for our country than you people are.
We are sick to death of your stupid, destructive, ignorant, and intolerant behavior and beliefs — parading as “wokeness.” We are beyond sick of your hypocrisy and B.S.
We are fed up with your disrespectful divisiveness and constant unrelenting harping and whining and complaining (while you live in the most privileged nation in the world), while making literally zero contributions of anything positive to our society. Your entire focus is on ripping things down, never ever building anything up. Think about that as there is something fundamentally very wrong in the psychology of people who choose destruction as their primary modus operandi.
If Donald J Trump is reelected, don’t blame us, look in the mirror and blame yourselves. Because you are the ones that are responsible for the rise of Donald Trump. You are the ones who have created this monster that you so despise, by your very actions. By your refusal to respect your fellow Americans, and the things that are important to us.
You have made fun of the “fly-over states,” the people who “cling to their guns and religion,” the middle class factory workers and coal miners and underprivileged rural populations that you dismissively call “yahoos” and “deplorables.” You have mocked our faith and our religion. You have mocked our values and our patriotism. You have trampled our flag and insulted our veterans and treated our first responders with contempt and hatred.
You have made environmentalism your religion, while trashing every city you have taken responsibility for. You scream from the rooftops about “global warming” and a “green new deal” while allowing tens of thousands of homeless people to cover your streets in literal sh*t and garbage and needles and plastic waste without doing a single thing to help them or solve the environmental crisis your failed social policies are creating. But we’re supposed to put YOU in charge of the environment while gutting our entire economy to institute this plan when you can’t even clean up a single city?? You complain — endlessly — yet have failed to solve a single social problem anywhere. In fact, all you have done is create more of them.
We’ve had enough. We are tired of quietly sitting by and being the “silent” majority. So don’t be surprised when the day comes when we finally respond. And trust me it’s coming, sooner than you might think. And also trust me when I say it won’t be pretty. Get ready.
If Donald Trump is reelected it will be because you and your “comrades” have chosen to trash the police, harass law-abiding citizens, and go on rampages destroying public property that we have all paid for and you have zero respect for.
If Donald Trump is reelected it will be because we are sick of your complete and utter nonsense and destruction. How does it feel to know that half of this country finds you FAR more despicable than Donald J. Trump, the man you consider to be the anti-Christ? Let that sink in. We consider you to be more despicable, more dangerous, more stupid, and more narcissistic than Donald Trump. Maybe allow yourself a few seconds of self-reflection to let that sink in. This election isn’t about Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden. This is about Donald Trump vs. YOU.
So if on the morning of November 4 (or more likely December 29 by the time the Supreme Court will weigh in on the mail-in ballot fiasco we are headed towards) if Donald J. Trump is reelected? The only people you have to blame is the left-wing media drones and yourselves. You did this. Yes you.
The comment posted by Thomas Urich on December 17, 2020 is typical of his mindset. (I stumbled across it while watching for his obituary, February 2023.)
When he became homeless in July 2013, I offered my living room couch, thinking I’d offer a hand up to a former band classmate.
In May 2015 I had to involve the legal system to extricate myself.
For the ensuing 89 months he taunted and harassed me, sending wack-a-doodle emails and texts (blocked), posting on blogs and FB pages.
He was a staunch GOP supporter who volunteered with the Livingston, Kent, and Washtenaw county parties. He was on food stamps (the Bridge card program), decried social programs while absorbing them for himself.
Before he was able to get on Medicaid, I covered the cost of an expensive Rx that treated his pneumonia. Later he accused me of exacerbating his COPD because he was without his oxygen system for a couple of days.
It’s with a sense of great relief that I reached out to his friends (cc’ed on emails to and about me) to let them know that his struggles are over.
Everyone commenting on this article exemplifies what people are quoted as saying. “If Trump wasn’t so bad…” You have a right to your opinion, and your opinion was that he is bad. Therefore, anyone deserves hatred for supporting him because YOU think he is bad. Intolerant lefties, Ann Arbor is full of people who “Think they know best” – hence the comment of someone else who said it’s “contempt and impatience” for Trump supporters.
Yes…sounds like a way of suppressing votes from ALL people, which is the true democratic principles we live by, and instead fostering a 1-party conversation. Congratulations, you are the ones destroying democracy. Instead, the Ann Arbor elites should be working towards actual inclusion (of all parties and politics), and pride yourselves on unity despite differences. That’s the high road, the hard road.