In all my life, I have never seen such mixed bag of reactions from a presidential election. It has not even passed twenty-four hours yet since the Associate Press called Donald Trump the forty fifth president of the United States. Never have I seen so much fear as I logged onto social media. On one account, I saw some friends of mine in the lgbtq+ community, Latinix and African American communities and sexual assault survivors confessing their disbelief and shock from the results. I also saw allies come together and extending their sympathy towards alienated groups that Trump has targeted. And then I saw the joyous support of some Trump supporters, how excited they were to elect this businessman as our leading political figure. The most disappointing I saw, however, were hateful spews of posts and comments between both Clinton and Trump supporters. It is so disheartening to see such polarity occurring when we should be coming together.
So now I ask YOU, what will you do now? You're shocked, angered, hurt, incredulous, and sad. Maybe all of the above. I want you know that's okay. Everything that you are feeling right now is completely valid. Maybe you are the opposite and you feel happy or satisfied. I respect that too. Some of you want to respond to this predicament with an outlet for your anger or frustration. You want to punch someone. You want to yell at someone. You want to scream at the top of your lungs at the top of Trump towers and tell everyone Trump sucks! Trust me, I've heard it all. I get it. I understand how hard it is to comprehend how our nation has decided to elect such an unqualified man for the next four years. In this situation, it is natural to want to cause uproar, but there are better ways to fuel our anger and frustration without resorting to violence or negativity. Fighting hate with hate will not accomplish anything. There are far more efficient ways for us to act. What we need is open dialogue. Now, I am the first person to say that standing up for what you believe is really hard. It takes a lot of courage and humility to put your voice out there. We are taught from an early age to not be vocal about topics, in fear that we might cause animosity. You don't want to be the person to start an argument. No one wants to be that person. However, sometimes you have to be willing to face the consequences and do what’s morally right.
In college, I am learning how to distinguish what is right and wrong or what is black and white and where the lines cross in social issues. The thing I'm learning, though, is that conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. Every issue starts with a conflict. Conflict needs to be present in order to see resolution. It is good that there is conflict because it means that people care and that we want to see a change in the way our country is. Of, course; it doesn't make it any easier. If you asked me a couple months ago, I would have blocked and unfriended those on my Facebook page who disagreed with me just because I didn't want to see it. But, now I am beginning to see that the way to educate others is through discussion. Ignoring the problem does not help change. Do your part to continue spreading love and awareness. Be it by peaceful protest or inviting someone of marginalized groups to sit next to you. If we want to change out country's attitudes, we must be open-minded.
So, friend, I urge you to use your words wisely. Both liberals and conservatives as discussion cannot be successfully done with only one side listening. I can see with the way people are protesting, something big is going to happen. And what an interesting part of history this will be to be part of. If you are unhappy with something, speak up. What we need is not more division but a cohesion of people. As the great late Robert Kennedy said, "What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country." In the end, we all want what is best, even if your opinion differs with someone else’s. Don't be afraid to disturb the comfortable. Never stop being uncomfortable. You don't always have to go out and protest at 4:00 in the morning. Change begins in small little pebble stones. It starts with you.