My Mother used to say “all others are strange, except me and thee… and sometimes I wonder about THEE.”

Judging human nature is difficult during normal times. It’s even more exasperating to try to explain the “thees” and “thems” during this election cycle.

One fairly satisfying explanation is that many of us (most?) live in our own “bubble,” our own world. It might be you only watch Fox TV—you’re in that echo chamber, listening to ideas with which you already agree. Technology, cable TV and blogs make that possible.

If you are a Trumpista, you probably fit into one of three categories. 1) outright racist and/or misogynist; 2) angry at having lost a job to globalization; or 3) perhaps a millennial, alienated, resisting (you think) some faceless corporate class. You are a good citizen and plan to vote. But how?

Voting for president of the U.S. you should consider several factors. They used to be normal, natural things like: resumes, experience, qualifications, the candidate’s team, the candidate’s policies (and a track record) you believe will help you, your family and your community.

These policies could include: economic growth, proposals for higher minimum wage, more jobs (and statistical data to prove the claims). Also important: more funds for education, fairer policies for all ethnic groups, yours especially, if you are a member of an ethnic, religious, or gender “minority.” Women, though they make up 52 percent of the population, count as minorities facing discrimination.

However, I was talking about normal campaigns, normal candidates. Today, we are faced with what most commentators—liberal or conservative—acknowledge to be the oddest campaign in history. Americans are split, almost into warring camps. Polls in Oklahoma show 30 percent of Trumpistas want to secede from the Union should Senator Clinton be elected. Texas Trumpistas are even more anti-American; 60 percent hold that view (

From whence come the fear and loathing? How is it the misogyny, the racism, the sexism, the denials, yes, the multiple lies of a Donald Trump do not resonate? His supporters don’t care if he lies? They hate Hillary more than they hate his total lack of experience, his unstable nature?

They are willing to take a chance of his finger on the nuclear codes? It seems so. What, then, do the rest of us (majority in south Texas) do about our friends and neighbors whom we fear have been “taken in?” I would not recommend something like Senator Clinton’s ill-advised “basket of deplorables” comment.

Rather, I truly feel sorry for Trumpistas. I know one leader of the Tea Party/Trumpistas in the Valley of South Texas who gravitated toward Trump because she is disgusted with many in her own family, some of them in jail. She expressed the desire “they should all be deported.”

Trump will be happy to oblige–his “wall,” his deportation plans. Rational people, even in the Republican Party, know such ideas are cost prohibitive as well as illegal. Even former President George H. Walker Bush declared he will vote Clinton. Other Republicans may not go as far, but will not support Trump. (Don’t ask me how Senators Cruz and Rubio can switch from their previous declarations; do none keep their word?)

Each of you may have your own story (someone in your family?)  I have another young friend, a Latino and former “Bernie-Bro.” But, he now “wants Trump to be elected.” He texted later saying he will not vote for either candidate, but wants Trump to win to “teach the media a lesson.”

This young man added: “out of the ashes perhaps will arise a better society, with better choices.” I hope our friendship survives; I texted back: “look up the definition of “Nihilism.” Look up the English “dicho” (saying) “Cut off your Nose to Spite your Face.”  I don’t know if he did either.

My point is an adequate response is hard to develop. I perhaps got too frustrated with the Trump leader. She is a female/Mexican American/student; she should, by all demographics, be voting Democrat. Where did she study history and government?

She is willing to overlook sexism and racism. She is perhaps too young to even worry about Medicare or Affordable Health Care—but I do, and she may, one day. My friend is willing to take the risk of nuclear war? He despises Senator Clinton (not as liberal as he would like). He lost faith in President Obama (for the same reasons).

Heaven help me, help us all. The wanton behavior of both, playing with destiny, is beyond my ability to empathize. Neither he (nor the female student) are “deplorable.” They are angry (admittedly on different levels). She is angry on a personal level; he is, too, on a personal level (he is jobless.) But he adds an ideological dimension. The selfishness of their “decisions” is astounding.

I have NOT given up trying to understand and to persuade. But I need help. What do YOU do with such friends? My sister, in rural Oklahoma, surrounded by her fellow church members, most Trumpistas, is in anguish; she just can’t discuss the matter—not even Trump’s treasonous support of Putin and Russia. What do you suggest? I know my Trumpista friend and the other student are not without redeeming qualities. And they have a right to their opinion.

But, dear friends, the risks—to the economy, to the security of the U.S. and the world—are too great to vote Trump or not vote. My solace, my philosophy guiding me is Voltaire (some say Confucius; the sentiment is even found in Shakespeare). “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.” Yes, there may be better candidates. But we only have these two right now. The choice is clear. Our future—and the world’s—is at stake.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this guest column first appeared in the Mexican literary magazine, Letras Libres. Click here to see the front cover.