With Donald Trump winning the presidential election of 2016, there’s a lot of running emotions. These are a result of the last couple of years being intensely hyped up and impassioned by partisan folks who defended their candidate by ignoring their weak points or placing little to no value in them. While I would have much rather preferred Hillary becoming our president, this article isn’t about that at all; this article is about, as the title suggests, how to live in a democracy.
1) Voting/ Handling Elections
Our nation has a pretty serious problem handling elections. This isn’t only because of the Electoral College choosing the contradicting president to the popular vote, but also because the citizens of the United States simply do not have enough care or courage to read into what the other side is actually trying to do or say. If you’re a liberal, as I am myself, you probably haven’t given much thought into what makes conservatives believe what they believe and why they may feel the way they do. If you’re a conservative, you probably don’t give much thought into why liberals feel the way they do. Oh, let me just say that liberals being ‘jobless, lazy losers’ and conservatives being ‘racist, sexist and uneducated’ is not the kind of conclusion that you’d come to if you gave real thought and attention to the way the other side thinks. Truthfully, I can see where conservatives come from to a point. I don’t believe what they believe, but I don’t chalk up all of their decisions to racism and the like.
While I’m willing to speak out against the hypocrisy of some liberals (as we’ll see throughout this article), I can’t ignore the elephant (unintended pun) in the room; that is, I can’t pretend that, whether or not conservatives are actually racist, their ideals and opinions on issues tend to give the short end of the stick in some way shape or form to minorities. We can see this with things like anti-gay-marriage sentiment, anti-trans-rights sentiment, anti-abortion sentiment, and the like. While I don’t necessarily believe that people on the right believe in stripping those who are vastly different from themselves of their rights, it doesn’t change the fact that they vote for candidates that do want to strip them of their rights.
2) Dealing With Results
Now if you’re expecting me to trash on liberals complaining that Trump won, you’ve come to the wrong place. The right to voice your political opinion does not end when someone gets elected, and so I have no idea why people sharing their dislike of Trump after he won the election is so horrible. I will, however, speak to something that’s been troubling me tremendously, and that is a certain behavior of many so-called ‘liberals’ today.
When a friend of mine who supported Trump told me that people he knew were afraid to come out as Trump supporters in fear of losing their relationships with others and being discriminated against, I grew sick. Now I see dozens of posts of liberals calling Trump supporters nasty things (and I’ve been seeing them for the last couple of years as well). This is not the way to live in a democracy, and it isn’t the way to be a liberal. I’d hate to put liberals on a high horse, but, as a liberal myself, I naturally do expect them to follow their own ideals of avoiding generalization. A liberal should be fair and not resort to ad hominem to win an argument. And while some extreme things have happened with Trump supporters and Trump rallies, you can’t make a generalization to say that all Trump supporters are bad people. If you do, then I’m speaking to you right now and I’m asking you how you can be so ignorant. How can you believe in the social rights of all minorities to not be generalized and lumped with the extremes of their groups and at the same time lump all Trump supporters together? It’s hypocrisy, it’s unfair, and it’s not how to be a good liberal.
So, as a criticism to both sides: conservatives, liberals have a right to be upset about Trump winning the election. The first amendment doesn’t only apply during an election cycle. And liberals, please don’t generalize Trump supporters and discriminate against them, because at the end of the day they’re people like everyone else who have a different opinion from you. Oh, and conservatives, don’t generalize against people either.
So How Do We Do It?
This article, as the headline suggests, is about how to live in a democracy. The answer I’ve come to over the years is that we must understand each other. Like when two people are having an argument and each person is not listening to the other side but is instead constantly thinking about what they’re going to say next, our nation bickers back and forth over topics that we don’t need to, for lack of better words, waste our time with. Of course no topic of discussion is a waste of time, but what is a waste of time is an argument where the goal isn’t to come to a sound conclusion but is instead to convince the other person that you’re right. And that is exactly what our nation tries to run its democracy upon: arguments without an end in sight.