Disclaimer: I spent a lot of time wrestling with whether or not to write this article. There is already a massive amount of rhetoric surrounding the election results, and adding to it, especially as a "typical millennial," could be volatile. A lot of Facebook statuses, blog posts, YouTube videos, and more are misguided, hateful, and downright ridiculous. I do not claim to know everything about this election. You will not find a list of researched sources at the end of this article. In addition, I also will not be addressing third party voters within the confines of this article, so please be aware that this topic is incomplete and meant only to start conversations. What I can do with the knowledge I have is attest to the overall climate surrounding the aftermath and share my opinion on the matter. I have heard complaints from both sides of the argument, and have done my best to listen to and respect them. I am hoping that I can bring some understanding and sympathy to the situation, at the very least. I am aware that my voice may be a shout into the void, but I still feel as though I can attempt to shed light on a complex situation by giving my personal observations about the current state of our country.
Okay. So first thing is first. Nowhere in this article will I claim that all Trump voters are racists, sexists, bigots, idiots, or hateful people in general. Let me repeat that. Not all Trump voters are racists, sexists, bigots, idiots, or hateful people in general. With that being said, we should also establish that not all Hillary supporters can be shoved under one stereotypical umbrella, either. To claim either as true would be too easy. Understanding people's thoughts and motivations is much more difficult.
I believe that Donald Trump won the presidency because working class Americans want change. I also personally believe that systemic racism had a lot to do with it, but that topic is also a bit more complex than I am willing to discuss here. On the other hand, Hillary's campaign represented, more or less, the status quo, which many people have been consistently unhappy with for the past 8 years, to be sure. And that is totally fine, even if I do not agree with you. This is not about Republican versus Democratic ideals. More than that, though, I understand that the middle class is shrinking and that it is becoming increasingly more difficult for working class families to survive in our economy. I hear you and I empathize with your struggles. Yes, your reasons for voting for Donald Trump may be valid to you (regardless of whether his promised policies will actually help you or not). But, to be honest, I don't think that Hillary supporters are simply "sore losers" or "whiny liberals." We are not bent out of shape simply because our chosen candidate didn't win. I don't even think that we all are necessarily so troubled over the possible changes in policy that may occur with a full Republican government. That is part of our anxiety for sure, but it is not the whole story. In addition, I don't think that this is the same situation that you were in 8 years ago when many of you were upset that Obama won. I could be wrong, but I don't think that your lives were in danger because of that outcome. This time around, that aspect is different.
You can argue with me that Trump himself is not a racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigot all you'd like, but even if we do take that argument as fact, it would not solve the problem that we have now. The true, more dangerous and pressing issue is that Trump's campaign rhetoric empowered and incited a fire in the bellies of many racists, sexists, and bigots in society which has now grown to cover much of our nation. And it has worsened with Trump's victory. This occurred whether Trump intended it to or not, and this is what I believe has people so concerned at the present moment even more so than his policies that or may not become law in the future. A vote for Donald Trump was and is a vote that shows your indifference, not necessarily hate, toward people different than you.
People are scared for not only their rights and the "safe spaces" which you so harshly criticize, I promise you. This is about much more than feelings getting hurt. This is about people's safety. Immigrants are scared for the possible ripping apart of their families. Women are scared for the worsening of rape culture ideals (as if it was ever "good" in the first place) that can lead to harassment and sexual assault. Muslims are terrified of being cast out, discriminated against, or physically harmed for their religious beliefs that have nothing to do with terrorism. People of color are concerned about more of the same detrimental discrimination and hatred. Some people in the LGBTQ+ are worried about violence against their community for being different. The list goes on. If you get nothing else out of reading this article, please hear this: all of these things may not affect you directly, but they affect other human beings. You can have your opinions, and I will keep mine. I am not pleading for the election results to be overturned. I am not supporting, nor speaking out against, the protests by anti-Trump groups currently going on. I am simply pleading with you to recognize that others' experiences of the same thing can be different than yours.
Whatever you do, please just pledge not to be a bystander to hate and to protect all people. We need to look out for each other. It's the least we all can do.