By Anamika Dutta
Americans across the country are stunned by the results of the presidential election. This was not the outcome many of us, myself included, were hoping for and trying to grapple with the reality of a Donald Trump presidency has not been easy. Confusion, anger, and despair washed over me when the results were finalized. Yet, even though Donald Trump ran a racist, sexist, and xenophobic campaign, I refuse to believe that all of his supporters agree with his rhetoric. However, I do believe the campaign season has spurred intense division among Americans. I have seen countless hateful messages on social media directed from one side of the political spectrum to the other. Trump supporters taunt Clinton supporters by calling them brainwashed, overly sensitive, and the extremely offensive term “libtard.” On the other hand, I have seen Clinton supporters labeling everyone who voted for Trump as racist and sexist.
This is unacceptable. Turning on each other will only fuel the hurtful divide already present in this country. The 2016 campaign season has created a nation divided rather than a nation united. Such a polarizing environment also has created a dangerous environment, in which we feel ready to judge and demean someone for their political stance instead of fostering dialogue between the two parties. Now that the election is over, we must work to heal the divide by uniting under a common goal of achieving prosperity for and ensuring the safety of all Americans. We must stand up against racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. We must stand up, and we must stand together, because at the end of the day we are all Americans before we are anything else.
Moving forward, it is crucial to understand the views of those around us. Do not shun someone because they voted for Clinton or for Trump. Rather, make a legitimate effort to understand why they feel the way they do. Talk to each other. Recognize that the people surrounding us vary by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender, and religion. Your experience may be vastly different from the person next to you, and this diversity of thought and experience helps make America the progressive nation it is. Burning the flag, trashing each other on social media, and refusing to make conversation with someone of the opposing political party only spurs the kind of hatred we should be fighting against. Trump’s victory in this election has many people feeling either outraged and insulted or relieved and excited. Regardless of how you feel, our energy should be focused on moving forward in as positive a manner as possible. Do not taunt each other, and do not dismiss someone’s views as irrelevant. We must be empathetic towards those who feel frightened for our future while also making a serious effort to hope that President-elect Trump will work to heal America and strive to build bridges across parties instead of walls, so we can envision a future where America benefits all its citizens, not just a certain subset of the population.
The rest of the world is looking at us now. Let us show them that we are a nation united not divided as we fight to create a future with liberty and justice for all.