November 28, 2016
In the 2012 election with Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, many of my friends were democrats while I was and still am a republican. We could participate in compelling discussions about our beliefs just fine.
I enjoyed the fact that I could go home, research my candidate and bring something new to discuss with my friends the next day.
But the 2016 election was different.
While the First Amendment states that American citizens have the right to freedom of speech, this hasn’t been seen on every side of the political spectrum this election season.
I kept my political thoughts to myself in fear of being called out as someone who is racist or anti-gay. I didn’t wear Donald Trump hats and shirts because I was afraid of being physically or verbally harassed.
No one should be labeled as racist, privileged, sexist or anti-gay based on stating their political affiliation.
It’s on us as humans to put a stop to hateful words and instead focus on comforting those truly distressed by the results of the election, calming those who are angry and confused.
When I tried to participate in discussions this year, I was shut down before I could even speak. I even lost a relationship with one of my good friends in the process.
Many people, which ever party they identify with, have gone through the same experience.
The riots and protests have been largely made up of anti-Trump supporters. Much of the violence reported in media stems from that same group, but both sides have continued to harass each other.
With all the violence going on in this country, it has made me lose faith in America’s democracy. I can’t help asking myself what’s happened.
But all hope is not lost. Many prominent celebrity figures are speaking out about the country’s division.
British actor and comedian Tom Walker created a video about this year’s election and the way many liberals have put a taboo on someone speaking their mind.
“The left has now decided that any other opinion, any other way of looking at the world is unacceptable. We don’t debate anymore because the left won the culture war. So, if you’re on the right, you’re a freak. You’re evil, you’re racist, you’re stupid. You are a basket of deplorable,” he said.
“How do you think people are gonna vote if you talk to them like that? When has anyone ever been persuaded by being insulted or labeled? We have made people unable to articulate their position for fear of being shut down,” said Walker in the video.
This election has highlighted that people are afraid to vocalize their true thoughts or emotions in fear of being attacked.
There is no excuse for shutting someone down because of who they voted for, no matter your party affiliation.
Discussions between parties demonstrate a level of maturity and understanding. This violence sweeping our nation, from both sides, needs to end. We need to move forward united as a country.
We all need to keep in mind the feelings and differing viewpoints of others.
We should try to learn why someone thinks the way they do and if the conversation becomes too heated; accept that you cannot convince everyone to share your beliefs.
The current riots and protests only spread unhappiness and fear
We have to move on and focus on healing our country and ourselves.
It is up to each of us to find a way to move forward, and violence is not the answer.