In the last week, you have probably read dozens of iterations of some variation of the following opinion on Facebook, or heard the essence of the arguments in person. I know I have.
All of these posts and opinions have one thing in common: they come from a perspective, a mind and an experience completely unique from every other.
It has been theorized that the pre-election predictions of Clinton’s win were so skewed because Trump supporters were reluctant to admit to the pollsters that they were voting for Trump. Although this may indicate the poorness of his candidacy, it could also reflect the polarizing nature of the rhetoric not only from the candidates themselves, but from supporters on both sides.
Despite our generation’s limited experience in presidential elections, it’s safe to assume that no election in recent history has been as divisive or aggressive. Hateful comments by and toward both Trump and Clinton supporters have been a standard part of the campaigns. Admitting publicly to be in favor of either candidate, but especially Trump, was and is stigmatizing.
This is a problem.
Liberal friends: The fear you feel, the anger you feel, I feel it too, although as a white woman, I cannot understand the extent of the fear and marginalization that people of color, Muslims, and other marginalized groups currently feel.
Protest peacefully, make your arguments, use your anger as constructively as you can and rely on support from your allies to express the remaining anger. However, consider remembering that people vote for a candidate for many reasons. Some hated Trump and his rhetoric, and voted for him still. I have seen too many posts denouncing Trump and every single one of his supporters. To write off almost half of those who voted as hopeless seems both close-minded and unproductive.
Conservative friends: Please protect those who have been harmed by this election. Most of you do not share the hateful sentiments of Donald Trump, and hopefully, his harmful comments against women, Muslims, Mexicans, etc. during and before the election will not carry too negatively into his policies. However, whether or not his voters support that, that rhetoric has been affirmed by his election, and people who subscribe to those negative thoughts have had their hate validated.
Everyone: Respectful consideration and conversation on both sides has never been more important. Regardless of your political opinions and your background, please consider that each person is not a member of one “side,” but an individual who has formulated an opinion. Remember the signs in the HUB reminding minorities they are important; listen to opinions that differ from your own, even if they are harmful. Opinions can be changed, but only if the barrier of “the other” is not limiting the conversation.
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