Did you hear? There’s going to be a new president soon and not everyone is happy about who it’s going to be.
My opinion about the results of the election is not popular among many of my friends and family, so I felt I should clarify why I’ve had such a strong reaction to the way the election turned out. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Republican won and the Democrat lost. I have zero affection, affiliation, or loyalty to either side and have never really cared about politics at all. In fact, this is only the second time I have ever voted and the first time was for the Republican candidate. I don’t agree with either side on everything or even know everything each side believes, but from what I do know, I probably fall somewhere right in the middle. For all I know, if it was a different person running as the Republican candidate, I may very well have voted for them, if I had voted at all.
So, to me, it’s not about not being able to accept that “my side” lost because I don’t have a side and, frankly, think it’s closed-minded to pick and side and stick with it no matter what, but that’s the result you get with the system we have and I can understand the thinking behind it, even if I don’t agree with it. And that was a really long sentence.
The reason I have had such a strong reaction to the way the election turned out is because of the person who was elected. All my life, I have been told by people I respect at home, at church, and at school that you shouldn’t be a bully, you should be kind to everyone, you shouldn’t hate people or be mean to them because they are different from you in some way. I’ve been told that we should accept people the way they are, even if they have made choices that we don’t agree with and find ways to show them God’s love and let them know that they are loved. I’ve been told that when you see or hear someone being mean, cruel, or hateful to someone else, that we should stand up for them and let the person who is being mean know that it’s not okay.
It’s all great advice, but throughout this election cycle I have seen and heard the same people who gave this great advice stand up for the bully and brush off the hateful rhetoric and disgusting speech as no big deal and even celebrating him for “telling it like it is” and not being politically correct. The things that have been said, condoned, and celebrated go far beyond non-PC and are completely offensive and unacceptable for anyone to say, much less the future leader of our country. And when I see and hear those who taught me how I was supposed to treat people, accept people, and love people endorsing and celebrating the person saying these things, it hurts and makes me question a lot of things.
I understand that every candidate has their flaws. I can even understand overlooking some of those flaws because you have certain issues that are important to you. What I can’t understand is how a person can rationalize voting for someone who constantly and blatantly bullies others, lies, spreads hateful messages about groups of people who are different from him, and manipulates people using their fears and biases. At what point do you say “enough is enough” and stand against this kind of message, even if it means you won’t get everything you want regarding policies and political preferences. Either that point doesn’t exist or I don’t want to see where it is if it’s beyond what we’ve seen lately. If our political preferences are more important than standing up for what’s right, then we have gone too far and we take our politics much too seriously.
If we are not willing to stand up to someone continually spouting hateful, racist, bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic rhetoric, it feels like the things I was taught about how we are to treat others and stand up for what’s right was just a load of crap. And when we instead elect that person to lead our country, I begin to wonder if the people who teach those things even believe what they said at all. And that makes me sad, but also angry. So I guess I am just trying to process all of this.
Whether I like it or not, Donald Trump will be our next president. I may have zero respect for him and the things he has said and done, but I do and will respect the office that he has been elected to. Considering the fact that I am a Christian, straight, white male, I probably shouldn’t have much to be concerned about, but I am fearful for what it means for other groups of people in our country. The President is the person who will set the tone for our entire country and should strive to unite the country, not normalize an attitude and culture of hate and fear.
So, if the leader of our country wants to continue to be a bully, say hurtful things, and cause people to live in fear, I will be one of the people who is willing to say that it’s not right and needs to change. The things he has said about women, blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims are not right and they should not have to live in fear of what people are going to say or do to them. And when they are feeling afraid, forgotten, and unaccepted, we should not respond with what comes across as “sit down, shut up, and accept it” or platitudes about how God is in control and everything will be fine. I agree that God is in control and can use any situation for good, but when we are insensitive toward people who are hurting (especially those who don’t share our beliefs), we just come off as complete jerks and intensify the hurt they are already feeling.
I hope and pray that over the course of the next four years, Mr. Trump changes the way he speaks about people and becomes a great president. I will not root for him to fail because we are all in this together and if he fails, we all fail. I will pray for him as he leads our country and will hope that he becomes the best president we have ever had and does tremendous things during his time in leadership. But I will also continue to stand up for what is right, be a source of encouragement and comfort for those who feel forgotten or afraid, and speak out against injustice and hate so that when I teach my children how to treat people, I can do it with a clear conscience and know that I have done the same.
I have never been the most patriotic person, but I have always appreciated and been thankful for the opportunity to live in the United States. It’s not perfect, but it is good. It is a place of incredible freedom where I can be myself, believe what I believe, and not live in fear. I just want it to be a place where everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, circumstance, or beliefs can feel the same freedom and acceptance as I do. It’s up to all of us to make that a reality.