Before anyone starts reading this, I want to make it completely clear: THIS IS NOT ABOUT WHO WON OR LOST THE ELECTION. This article is about how we are treating others based on their political preference. I don’t care who is right or wrong, who won or lost. It is about citizens treating citizens like the scum beneath their feet for not believing the same thing they do.
Once upon a time, our country was something to be proud of, but as I sit here and write, I am not proud. I am not proud to be an American citizen. I’m not proud to live in California. I’m not proud to be from Texas. America, you have let me down. I’ll tell you, the reason I’m ashamed of my country isn’t the results of the election, but rather the omnipresent political persecution I’ve experienced throughout the course of this election. I am tired of being humiliated, shamed, and bullied for what I believe by both Clinton and Trump supporters alike.
The election, the debates, the constant whispers and stares bestowed a wonderful inner conflict to my soul. For me, this election hasn’t been about the candidates or the issues -- it’s been about who I am as a person, which, with a past tormented with depression and insecurity, isn’t so secure. I am just now learning who I am as a person, who I want to be, what my beliefs are, who my friends are. To have each and every aspect of my being tested, mocked, and criticized isn’t healthy. In fact, I no longer feel comfortable stating my beliefs anymore. I don’t feel safe being me.
I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. Because of this, I’ve been asked my opinion from both sides only to be ripped apart and hollowed out twice. And why, why are people verbally abusing me? It is because I understand the opinions of both sides and I have an open mind to them. I am chastised for having an open mind, playing devil’s advocate -- and I’m sick of it. Maybe the real issue in our country isn’t the outcome of the election, but that we can’t accept that other people believe something else, that they have a different opinion, and possibly, our opinion is wrong.
In case anyone is interested, I voted for Gary Johnson. He is the person that I believe in, that I find to be the fittest for the presidency, and I’m sick and tired of people telling me I threw away my vote. How can I throw away a vote if I voted for the person I wanted to win, despite the odds? Why do I have to choose between two parties if I don’t fit into either? There is no safe place for me with the callous chastising I collect from Clinton fans and the tumultuous torment I take from Trump fans.
Our country may be the land of the free and the home of the brave, but I don’t feel that way. I may be a white middle-class woman, but I feel persecuted, I feel persecuted for having beliefs that are not the norm, that are not ‘standard’, that are not what other people want from me. I’m not comfortable to have an opinion in this country. I am not comfortable to believe in something controversial (which both of the candidates were) or something other than the norm. What is wrong with having an open mind?
Why does everyone want to change me and my beliefs? Do they think they are better? Do they think they are right? Do they think I’m stupid? Do they hate me? Do they hate the people close to me? We are supposed to be free here, but I can’t help but feel hated and ashamed for simply saying something that I am for. Again, I want to reiterate that I am not a Clinton nor Trump supporter, but I lay in this unique middle ground (being from Texas but living in California) in which I understand the pros and cons of both sides. I know why people voted for Trump, and they have good reason. I know why people voted for Clinton, and they have good reason. Why don’t we wait until something horrible or something great actually happens before we disgrace the election? Politics make me sick, but what makes me sicker is the demeaning, shaming, undignified way in which people respond to something that is different from their beliefs.
What we are doing, dear America is not persecuting religious beliefs, but persecuting political beliefs. The crusades of the 21st century. Think about it. Next time you say, I hate Trump or I hate Hillary, think, I hate Christianity or I hate Islam. You wouldn’t post that on Facebook, you wouldn’t yell at someone for having a different religious belief than you, so please stop. Stop this madness. Stop. Accept people the way they are. Accept that some people are going to disagree with you, even though you might think they’re stupid, validate their beliefs and kindly, I’ll repeat, kindly explain your side. You don’t force your religious beliefs on anyone, so why force your political ones?
I’m not happy about the election. Quite frankly, I didn’t want anyone to win, but you don’t see me abandoning ship, running for the hills, or driving to Canada. I’m going to sit and wait for something to happen, good or bad, for better or for worse, because I love my country and respect fellow Americans. So, I hope that you can do the same.