"Republicans are racists." "Democrats are crybabies." With each passing day, phrases such as those become more and more commonplace. Many of us have that one uncle who shares ultra-conservative posts still complaining of Obama or that one friend who spams "new left" posts, almost as if they're trying to start an argument. The American public is becoming more and more polarized, as issues continue to emotionally charge us.
Welcome to the Trump Era.
No, I'm not here to criticize Donald Trump. I'm not here to praise him, either, as it's not my job to tell you how to think and feel. The Trump Era is merely a period of American history, where Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Barack Obama had his era, as did George W. Bush. These "eras" in history were defined by the societal changes and cultural shifts that occurred during those respective years, regardless of whether or not they involved the President at the time.
Even though I was alive during both the Bush Era and the Obama Era (but born in the Clinton era), I'm coming of age in the Trump Era. It wasn't until high school that I really began to care about and pay attention to politics. In my sophomore year, the hectic campaign cycle known as the "2016 Election" began. A wide field of Republican candidates, with a few Democratic ones, as Hillary Clinton was already being treated as the nominee. Republicans I knew began to predict whom their nominee would be. Most anticipated an establishment candidate such as Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, while others believed in an outsider such as Ben Carson or Donald Trump. Meanwhile, I took heed of a rising popularity among Independent turned-Democrat Bernie Sanders. During this time, many Americans were divided between Obama, as many more were unsure of how to handle the rapidly changing times.
As I watched the candidates battle it out for their party's nomination, America itself seemed to reach the consensus that the conventional ways weren't working anymore. When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won their nominations, I immediately believed that Trump would win. This prediction was laughed at. I was accused of being a Trump supporter, even though I was just giving my thoughts on what would eventually become the reality.
The nasty 2016 Election only left America worse than it had been before.
The day of inauguration, I went out to eat. At the restaurant, I heard a group of men celebrating the new president being sworn in, along with the fact that the "libtard crybabies" lost. Minutes later, two men talked while waiting for their food. "These motherf*****s are gonna see who they voted for soon", one said to the other. These were only the first of many conversations I heard that strengthened my growing irritation with partisan politics. Regardless of what side, I soon took anyone's views with a grain of salt as soon as their argument was centered around insulting the other side.
All the meanwhile, America seems to be entering a transition stage in its culture. The world I grew up in seems to be growing more and more distant, as a new, unknown future slowly approaches. The Trump Era is a transitory period in American history. The world is changing so fast, many aren't sure what to do about it. Partisan politics have always existed, though they've gotten worse because one side feels neglected by the other. Growing up in the Trump Era, one of my biggest daily annoyances is partisan politics. As a result, I've refused to insult the other side of any position I have, and instead listen, even if I strongly disagree.
Even so, the Trump Era is still relatively new. Is life confusing right now? Of course. Did I expect this? Of course. It's far too early to associate the Trump Era with any significant cultural or societal shifts, as we are currently living in it. On a lighter note, even with the division in America, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel, as both sides venture into this approaching, unknown future together. Right now, society just needs time to process all of the rapid changes.
Whether you love it or hate it, this is our current world.