I’m writing this article with the assumption that almost everyone in the U.S. is aware of the current political climate. The 2016 election is the most polarizing event that I’ve ever witnessed in my short twenty-two years of living. Demonstrations, fake news, and violence are rampant and although I am unhappy with the election results, I do think people should take a step back from politics for a moment and think about things more objectively.
Let’s get something straight right off the bat. I am NOT happy with a Trump presidency. I fear for my friends of other races, and I fear for my own healthcare rights. HOWEVER, I do NOT believe shaming, or promoting violence towards Trump supporters is acceptable at ALL. Humanity in the U.S. has been dispensed with. We have sunk to a primal level of trying to debase people with opposing views, and honestly, that is more frightening to me than a Trump presidency. It’s like I can feel the country dissolving around me. Just this morning, there were two people behind me on the bus talking in abnormally hushed tones about their support of the election results and it hit me that people feel they have to hide their beliefs on the street to avoid confrontation. I realize that this has been an unpleasant reality for people of different religious beliefs or races for a while now, but the climate in this country has never been so horrible that people have had to hide their political beliefs too.
Since the election, I realized that I, as a liberal, must have been inordinately out of touch with what almost half of Americans feel like. As such, I starting devouring articles from Trump supporters or about Trump supporters describing their reasons for voting for him or supporting him. It is irrelevant that I don’t agree with their decision, I maintained that the best thing I can do is to attempt to understand where they are coming from. If I reject their viewpoint outright, they will do the same to me automatically. It is far more productive to genuinely understand their perspective rather than to simply dismiss it in favor of my own beliefs. To be clear, no one will ever convince me to become Pro-Life or anti-Immigrant, HOWEVER, if I can somehow understand the people who do support those movements, it is FAR easier to have productive conversations.
People have become so rooted in their own beliefs that they refuse to look outside themselves and their sphere to open their mind to what the opposition thinks, and more importantly, WHY they think in a different way. I fully support speaking your mind and having your voice heard, such as the women’s march, or the march to protest anti-immigrant legislature, BUT I think it is unacceptable to dispense with empathy altogether. I learned a while ago that people always act in a way that is reasonable to them, nobody intentionally does something unless it makes sense. What is the harm in learning what those reasons are? Just because they are different from my own doesn’t mean they aren’t warranted. When you look at the situation plainly, people voted for Trump for a reason. It’s that simple. All I want to know is what those reasons are so that neither party feels attacked or dismissed. Then perhaps compromise and productive discussion could follow. But the violence, and blatant disregard for other humans absolutely has got to go.