On November 9, the people of the United States woke up to the news that Donald J. Trump, a reality TV star and billionaire businessman, was the new president-elect. Although this was not the result that many expected, we must face the realization that the United States is divided. Here is some advice to anyone who is concerned, confused, or curious.
To those who support Donald Trump: I respect your opinions. This is America, after all. However, I have one request: I want you to be educated, willing, and prepared to explain to your friends of minorities why they shouldn’t be afraid. Then try to understand why they are afraid. If you truly believe that Trump’s plans for the country will not affect the millions of innocent Muslims, Hispanics, Latinos, LGBTQ+, women, etc., explain to them why. However, be respectful of the fear that others are feeling. Do not discredit people’s emotions and thoughts. If you believe deep down that Trump will be a successful president, then listen to the cries of those who are hurting and try to understand. If you can’t do this, then try to be an ally. It is okay if you are Trump’s number one fan, that is your choice, but you need to understand and acknowledge that people, specifically minorities, are terrified, and they are terrified for a reason. Your candidate won; I hope for the sake of the country that he will be a good leader, but until he proves to be, listen, educate yourself, and understand the reason for people’s concerns. Even though you personally might not be facing discrimination, it is immoral to ignore the mistreatment of others. If you personally haven’t seen it or heard it, you can’t pretend like discrimination isn’t happening.
To those who are fearful: recognize that you are NOT alone. It is okay to peacefully protest, it is okay to cry, it is okay to mourn. Most importantly, it is okay to speak your mind. I urge you to tell the world of the discrimination you have faced and what you believe can be done to put an end to it. With that being said, if we expect respect from others, we must respect others in turn. Do not fuel hatred and ignorance by spreading negativity. Educate your peers and don’t stop until they listen. Find comfort in numbers, and recognize the amount of people that are on your side. Do not give up and do not give in. Spread love and positivity until people join you. Now is not the time to cower in fear, but rather provide as much truth and knowledge to as many people as possible.
It is imperative that we talk about the election. Talk about the election as much as you can. Ignoring the results is taking an easy road out. Especially as young people, it is imperative that we educate ourselves as much as possible before the next election. Talk to as many people as you can and face the next four years head on. If you choose to share your opinions, do so in the most open-minded and peaceful way. Do not cower in fear of embarrassment for showing that you care about the future of our country and the people living in it. We can’t look at this election as an uncomfortable situation that is better left unsaid. We need to talk about what happens now.
We need to educate. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone needs to spend some time getting to know Donald Trump, his policies, and his administration. Educate yourself about what he believes in and what his plans are for the future. Learn about the government and how it works. Expose yourself to the trials that people are facing and the perspective of Americans now that Trump is in office. Investigate; not everything covered on the news is accurate. If you feel called to help those who are being discriminated against, find an organization that can give you this opportunity. If you voted in the last election, you can’t choose to move on now that it’s over. Simply deciding that you don’t care anymore is a disappointment to every person who is still fighting for their civil liberties. It is pretty important to know facts and knowledge about a topic before you defend an opinion to someone. Do not repeat things you see on Twitter or hear from your parents. Learn for yourself what the truth is.
Most importantly, we need to love. Whether you supported Trump or Hillary or you simply chose not to get involved, you can’t deny that there is negativity and hatred circulating the world. Hate crimes are still happening. Minorities are still discriminated against. People are still scared. If you have absolutely no idea what to do or how to react to this election, make it public that you are a friend and ally to anyone in need. Do not partake in any bullying or prejudice and shut it down immediately if you see or hear it. Do not be a bystander and watch awful things happen to your country. “Thoughts and prayers” are not enough to save the country from hate. Spread positivity everywhere you go. Understand that people are anxious for the future and do what you can to comfort anyone who needs it. Educate yourself about every social and political issue that you can. Do not sit down and wait for the next election. No matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender you are, it is easy and possible to show compassion. Do not lose hope.
Written by Rylee Matousek