So, this week has been kind of dark for a lot of people. The election results have been hard to come to terms with, especially for minorities such as those of color, those in the LGBT+ community, and even women and girls. However, not everything following this election has been bad. This article is here to be a little ray of hope.
The day after the election, when people were broken and needing reassurance, I found that people came together. I spent four hours in a room with friends coloring and drinking tea while we all processed what happened. We gave each other hugs and we all coped in our own ways. People on campus have been smiling at each other as they pass, even if they don't know the other person. Hugs have become a daily norm, a trend that I've found amazing and, in many ways, inspiring. The power of a hug or a smile is underestimated in today's society. Sometimes, just receiving a smile from across a room can make someone's day a thousand times better, and you can see that in their eyes. That can sometimes be the most rewarding part of offering a smile. In the aftermath of what seems like the end of America for many people, those who share that view have come together to cope as a group, as one whole stretched across numerous individuals. The sense of community that was born on Wednesday is yet another example of seemingly endless human kindness.
I've also heard of acts of kindness that are being offered on a larger scale than a smile as you pass. There is a hashtag, #TransLawHelp, that has been circulating in recent days. This hashtag is a signal to various good samaritan lawyers. Such lawyers have offered their services, free of charge, to transgender youth who want their names and genders changed on legal and official documents, a right that may be lost once Trump is sworn in. This is, again, the kind of human kindness that never ceases to amaze.
There are those who are happy that Trump was elected or, at least, that are glad it wasn't Clinton. Those of us who disagree with that political view or disagree with those people need to tap into our innate human kindness. Spreading more hate is going to get us nowhere. On social media, there have been countless posts about people wanting to be unfriended if someone supported or supports Trump. Yes, people are all allowed their own way of grieving or dealing with this election. However, I ask that we try to limit that as much as we can. Though it sounds cliche (and is a bit of a pun), love trumps hate. People can follow and align with a political party without agreeing with everything that the candidate stands for. People can vote for someone because they believe them to be the lesser of two evils. People can vote for a candidate because they wanted to vote, but didn't like any of their options. Please try to respect and understand the opinions of those with whom you disagree.
On the flip side, for the previous paragraph was mostly directed at people opposed to Trump, don't gloat. I've heard numerous stories of Trump supporters gloating and flaunting the fact that "they were right all along." Please try to have respect and dignity in victory, just as others will try to have grace in defeat. There is little point boasting about a win when doing so likely only makes others feel worse.
To end on a slightly more hopeful note, humans have an incredible tenacity and capacity for kindness and respect. We must all tap into these resources as we move forward and learn how to build a country that we want to live in.
Hang in there, give someone you love a hug, smile at people as you pass them in the hall. Spread compassion to combat hate.