This election season has been heartbreaking. It's caused division. It has driven people to hate, mock and curse one another. Anyone who knows me knows I do not and did not support Mr. Trump. He has a loose tongue and an arrogant, narcissistic persona. However, after a year of listening to friends, family members, teachers, celebrities and reporters tear each other apart, I'm sick of the hate. I am tired of this schism in our country. We have not learned, from the example set by those in charge of this nation nor by those with fame or power, the value of listening and the art of compromise. Among those I have held any form of political conversation with, few still believe that the world is a place of hope.
I have not lived without the internet. I did not experience the trust between parents and communities that made it safe for children to play outside all day without an adult's watchful eye. We live in an innovative time in the history of humanity, a predominant age of globalization in which a four-year-old has access to unlimited stores of information. But such knowledge comes with a price, one I don't believe the majority of the population understands. In my 18 years on this planet, I have seen sickness, death, nuclear tensions, religious beheadings, environmental destruction and gruesome terrorism nearly every day. I turn on my TV and see the world on fire, with almost no one trying to douse the flames. I walk to my car at night and hear my worried mother cautioning me to be on guard and carry my keys in my hand. I come to school and learn about the past and the problems of the future. My mind strains to remember a discussion that didn't hold an apocalyptic view of the coming years.
When I see, not 72 hours after the presidential election, people rioting in the streets, protesting, torching cars and burning the American flag, it's difficult not to be disquieted. How did we, as Americans, get here? What example are we setting for humanity? People have forgotten that, regardless of who is elected president, there is a system of checks and balances. Mr. Trump's win is not the end of the world. All of the staunch Democrats, angry and hurt, need to understand that millions of people cast their vote for the Republican party. They willingly decided to cast their vote for Donald Trump. This election was not rigged; it was not unfair or invalid. Whether you support him or not, Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States of America. Exercising constitutional rights is a blessing and privilege to those living in this land, but if we want our country to change for the better, we have to stop ignoring each other.
Mr. Trump's presidency does not justify racist, bigoted or sexist slurs towards Muslims, Latinos or any human being. His election does not mean we must forgive and forget the horrific things he has said or the actions of his past. Rather, this election is an opportunity to show the world that, in the face of adversity, the United States of America will not succumb to racism, bigotry or sexism. We have to want our elected officials to succeed in their roles as protectors and leaders of this country because if they don't, we will not either. For those of you who feel the Republican party leader's victory constitutes actions of violence or torment on others, stop preaching a message of hatred and dissension that only cements the perception that the United States is only a title.