Poking at Politics

Sunday, January 15, 2017

In five days, Barack Obama will no longer be in office. Some will celebrate, others will be heartbroken. What will happen in the next four years with Donald Trump in office is unknown. The only thing I do know is that we will have each other.

The results of the election are no longer in anyone's control, so the only thing left to do is move forward. Throughout the election, a lot of valid issues came into the spotlight. Instead of harboring hatred and resentment at what we cannot control, the only logical action is to make a difference where you can. You do not have to be a politican to influence the country we live in. Teachers raise it. Doctors save it. And all of the people in between shape it. Do what you can where you can.

Do not let the hatred of others make you hateful. I challenge you to be stronger than the hate that surrounds you, whichever side it may be coming from. Love people regardless of their values, beliefs, or political stances. I have yet to see a plant flourish that has not seen light. I like to think that people are the same way. Show them how to love, even if they are still struggling to accept and learn from it. The thing about love is that it is the most succesful when it is given unconditionally. Do not love for who you want someone to be. Love them for who they are in hopes it will help them grow into who they are meant to be.

If you want to go above and beyond, even try listening to them. Maybe you will not agree with it, maybe it will hurt you, but maybe you will learn where they are coming from and why they think the way you do. Sometimes the things we don't want to hear are the things we need to hear. Whether it reconfirms your current beliefs or makes you consider an alternative one, simply listening can do wonders.

The thing about a democracy is that it gives everyone a vote. Though the electoral college alters the weight of each vote, we are still each given a vote. It might not count equally, but it counts for something. It is progress, because not long ago we did not all have this right. And someday, the kinks will all be worked out. Until then, we must continue to respect each person's right to vote. Respect their vote, even if you do not agree with it. People did not vote with the intention of hurting the country. I know that is a really, really hard thing to realize because intentions don't change outcomes. But try. Simply have an open conversation with them. Listening allows you to see where someone is coming from even if you have not gone there yourself. Listen and share to reach a mutual understanding, not just to sway the other person.

Very strong support and hate developed on both sides of the election. Those who supported Donald Trump resented Hillary Clinton, and those who supported Hillary Clinton resented Donald Trump. The reason for this is because the candidates individually started to mean less than what people believed they represented. Now let's just take a minute to understand that, scandals and speeches aside. Those who supported Donald Trump believe he would make America great again, that sense of nostalgia from the life they lived when they were young. He represented hope. Those who did not support him saw his slogan in an opposite light, because many Americans were not treated right in the past and some of his comments reflected that old mentality. So, Donald Trump represented hate for them. For Hillary Clinton supporters, she represented progress and acceptance. She represented hope. Those who did not support her saw her stripping away the America they knew and bringing change, change that they did want to occur. So, Hillary Clinton represented hate for them. Each side seemed to surround themselves with viewpoints and opinions that coincided with theirs. So, instead of understanding each other, they just kept reinforcing their current ideas which created a stronger separation between them and people that had different views. The overall thing both sides wanted was hope, and both sides were hateful about reversing the things that mattered most to them. The core wants were similar, it was the details that differed. The right to marry and the right to carry guns might have different levels of priority to you, but both are rights. If we can start to see the bigger picture, I think we can find common ground. We want to keep making progress, we just do not all agree with what that looks like.

This election has lead to an onslaught of labels from both sides. To question someone's character in its entirety because of who they voted for does not seem right. There are people I have known my entire life, and I cannot write them off because of what they wrote on their ballot. If I have seen nothing but goodness from someone, I refuse to see them as anything less. Categorizing people has never brought us together as a whole. Do not excuse your actions with theirs. Be accountable for yourself, your thoughts, and your actions. If we take the time to understand eachother as individuals, we can grow without the confinement labels bring.

Be strong. Be proud. Be American. We might not be where you want us to be, but we are on our way.

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