I write this while residing in Wisconsin, a key state that voted to elect Donald Trump. More specifically, I write this while residing on the campus of a university that has been emotionally torn to pieces by this election.
Some professors prefaced class on Wednesday saying, “I just don’t want to talk about this.” A political science professor of mine polled the class to see if we were willing to talk about it. A political science class. That should be the place for this discussion, if there is anywhere for it. I’ll admit the professors reluctance to dive right into it puzzled me.
But it also puzzled me because I am not who a Trump presidency scares. I am a white, Christian male. That is Trump’s political backbone. (I voted for Hillary, not Trump. That’s important to say, so people reading this have some picture of my political preference on the election).
I do not understand the pain of my Muslim brothers and sisters who are afraid to leave their houses after we elected Trump. Frankly many Christians, myself included, consider it an act of “war on Christmas” when Starbucks made their holiday cups too bland. So I cannot imagine being a follower of a religion whose members Trump vows to ban from entering the country and monitor their whereabouts.
I do not understand the pain of my fellow Americans who are LGBTQ+. I do not know how I would reconcile the fact that the vice president of my country considered my right to marry a partner of my choosing the beginning of “societal collapse.”
I do not understand the pain of the Hispanic population now that a candidate who opened his campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” will soon be the president of this country. I cannot imagine the fear among those whose families will be broken apart by Trump’s planned removal of illegal immigrants.
I do not understand the pain of those who have been affected by sexual assault, either personally or through a loved one. I cannot imagine how they reconcile a country electing a man who said things so preposterous I would rather not type them. We all know what he said. Furthermore, I cannot imagine how a woman is supposed to summon the courage to report her assault after a man who was accused of that same crime was just elected to the highest office in our country.
But I also do not understand the pain of many Trump supporters whose jobs have been shipped overseas for years — those who feel like Washington does not care about them in the least. I cannot imagine the pain of trying to find a way to support a family without a college degree in this country. I do not know how Rust Belt voters, members of a failing middle class, felt staring down another four years of a government that failed them.
There are a few things I do know for sure, though. Every single American is deserving of respect. That includes everyone from Muslims to Trump supporters and all those in between. Trump will be our next president. All the protesting going on across the country does not seem to have an end goal, besides expressing anger.
That is a riot, not a protest.
If we want this country to be great again, we need to unite, not divide. We need to work toward a middle ground, not fight the other side. And next election, if only 19 percent of millennials make up the total electorate, like they did this year, I will sure-as-hell not bother checking the outrage on Social Media.
Eric Hilkert ([email protected]) is a sophomore with an undecided major.