Campus was quiet on Wednesday. I’m sure it will be for a few more days. Facebook, social media, political analysts, bloggers, tweeters, and everything in-between have made their opinions vocal on the internet. Some people have really compassionate things to say, and others have been rude. But what I think is really important, is conversations.
This election has illustrated that as a country, we have serious divisions between us; some severe misunderstandings. Sometimes it feels like these issues will never be solved when you see the arguments on the plaza and online. There has been so much baseless and judgmental hate thrown back and forth between people and peers, but you and I know that will never solve the divides. We need to foster conversations to understand each other’s perspective. So, as a student at Colorado State, just like you, I want to share my reflections on what happened this week.
I didn’t support Trump, but I realize that not all who voted for Trump are xenophobic hate monsters. I see the appeal of Trump even from the most moderate conservative, and I certainly see the appeal for the person opposing Clinton. It took me this election to see that there is a strong community in this country that has felt ignored by the elite political system, and whose jobs and industries are being replaced by different industries. I believe there are some who could be more sensitive to this feeling of disenfranchisement.
But something that needs to be universally understood is the simple fact that Donald Trump has said deplorable things. There is no defending his statements that were blatantly wrong and disrespectful. The evidence is all right there in videos and audio. Anyone who denies the gravity of those statements is someone who I would consider a racist and sexist.
Based on what Trump has said, and his loose consolations to make up for the things he has said, means communities have every right to be fearful. Now is not the time to mock or belittle, even if you don’t believe Trump will follow through on his actions, because the mass amount of people who have voted for Trump illustrates to these communities that they are unwanted, and unwelcome by the everyday American.
It’s been clear that voting in protest to the other candidate was a trend this election, many who voted for Trump were afraid of Clinton. Clinton supporters were no different. This speaks leaps and bounds about this year’s candidates, that the issues the president will be facing took a backseat to the character of these candidates. We should never have to be reduced to looking at exclusively the character of a candidate, when that’s not what decides the future for the country; it’s the issues. We need to demand better from our political system.
Between the primary/caucus elections, major political party’s lack of transparency, the electoral college, and the political lobbying efforts, this year’s election showed us that the system is failing us. It is no longer functioning as it was intended, and as democracy is government by the people, it is our time now to bring it back. More than ever now, hold your government accountable and be critical. Contact representatives and make your voices heard, they derive their power from us, and it is time now to take back that influence. Especially if you disagree with our president-elect, and you are concerned about certain policy changes he may be suggesting, like in regards to the environment, the economy, or immigration.
Most importantly, I know millions have begged for compassion in the coming months from either side, but I want to ask for one step further. Do not be afraid to challenge each other’s beliefs. At CSU, I believe we can create and continue a community that can address each other with respect when critiquing one’s opinions. Building a “free speech wall” was not a respectful critique, but neither is tearing up and stealing posters. Most of us are guilty of approaching a person of differing viewpoints with judgment and a bad attitude. That must change.
This is especially important as you think about who we are. It’s cheesy, but we are the future, and this election has had implications that will impact the country forever. It is imperative that of all generations, we heal the divides and divisions that separate our ideologies. That we get to the root of what is causing this deep detachment and fix it, so this hate will never happen again. I fear what will happen to us as an American community if we don’t fix this, but I believe that CSU is a unique community of students that can combat this, if we all try just a little harder.