President-Elect Trump: Don't Expect My Respect

President-Elect Trump: Don't Expect My Respect

A reaction to the 2016 presidential election and the failure of mainstream liberalism
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With Donald J. Trump now the President-elect of the United States of America anxiety is, quite understandably, high. This election has been a roiling buildup of demagoguery, reductive politicking and mass media fuelled absurdity. The Republicans offered up a selection of blowhards, theocrats and fascist-lite man-children while the Democrats attempted to sweep their only progressive, left-wing, populist option under the rug in order to seemingly coronate an oligarchic political elite.

The 2016 election has been a mass expression of egocentric politics that has ended up dividing not only the country, but the Left as well. Hillary Clinton is the champion of smug modern liberalism, the status quo fair weather progressive that does just enough to be on the moral high ground when compared to the oppressive selfishness of the right wing. Even seen as the morally superior option she, as is the case with much of mainstream liberalism, represents the oligarchy of political and corporate elitism. A large part of what killed her campaign and set the stage for Trump’s victory was her disconnection from the people and the real problems facing them. Hillary is the opposite of a populist, simply following social media trends and courting celebrities to make up for what many saw as a complete lack of charisma or even minute human likeability. By pushing an individual that many saw as corrupt the DNC and Democratic Party base sealed their fates in the election

All of that being said about Hillary Clinton does not change the negativity surrounding Trump’s victory. After a campaign of racially charged speeches and divisive, strong-armed politics, many people across the country are fearful. From Mike Pence’s strong anti-LGBTQ+ views to Donald Trump’s overly sensitive bullying of others, these are men hardly fit to lead the United States. All we have seen from them, and a majority of their most hardcore supporters, has been embarrassing and regressive, throwing science and social acceptance out the window to appeal to an angry, distrustful, corporate propaganda fed population that has been taught to fear change and hate others. This spike in more outwardly xenophobic rhetoric has been a pronounced centrepiece for the Trump/Pence ticket.

As the divide caused by this election deepens and the population attempts to understand the implications of a Trump presidency, there have been those that have called to “respect” Trump due to his victory and future position. This moderate, “don’t rock the boat,” approach is inherently flawed, especially in an election such as 2016’s. Respect is earned, not given blindly on some symbolic pretence. Trust is built, not spewed with cult-like fervour. To those who say "respect the office and the process" you are speaking from a place of symbology that disconnects you from the reality of an individual. You say this as demographics divide further and people are truly fearful for the future. Do not ignorantly try to be the "good guy" that plays the middle ground, believing that it gives you some sort of self-righteous clairvoyance. You only end up looking like you are trying to take legitimacy from people's fears. If something threatens you and your peace of mind you do not grin and bear it, you steel yourself and deal with it head on.

Cover Image Credit: ABC News

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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I'm Not Voting, And Guess What, That Is OK

To all of the recent political endorsements by celebrities and Facebook posts telling me I should register to vote, I'm not voting.

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I am not the type of person to normally ever write a Facebook post related to politics, yet here I am dedicating a whole article to it. Or rather about voting itself, not my political affiliation. For the most part, I like to keep my political outlooks to myself instead of broadcasting them to all of my friends, family, coworkers, and that handful of people I do not actually know but I accepted their friend request anyway. Instead, I grace this group of people with animal videos because it doesn't cause any friction, the videos are always light-hearted, and there are already so many other people posting about the next election.

But tonight that changed. I saw a post about how people who do not vote should be fined. I do not know why this ignited something in me, but it did. I have no problem ignoring every other person telling me to register to vote or vote a hundred times on my feed, but charging me a fine for exercising my right crossed a line.

Quite frankly, I do not identify as a liberal democrat or conservative republican so I should not be subjected to vote for either. I choose not to vote because I do not support either side of the political spectrum and I do not think any of the candidates are true to what I want in the future of my country. There are some ideas I like from Democrats as well as some ideas I like from Republicans, but because of the political climate in recent years, the political parties are becoming more polarized than ever with their ideas, and instead of seeking a moderate stance, are becoming more extreme. I understand that voting is seen as a civic responsibility that comes with being a U.S. citizen, but I have the right to vote not the obligation to vote, and people should respect that decision.

Can you imagine amending the constitution to include penalties for not voting? Where is the democracy in forcing citizens to the ballots via scare tactics? I just do not want to be forced into voting or supporting something that I do not believe in. I will vote when there is a candidate that earns my vote and that I support instead of voting just to vote.

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