So I suppose there are some ruffled feathers coming my way by writing this. But I would like to take a moment to discuss the election. I know, I know. Literally everybody hates that one guy who can’t get over it. Donald Trump did win the election. The democratic system works (although the argument could be made that more of us should have voted, but whatever). I want to take a second of your day and talk just a little bit about your friends who did vote or who worked on a political campaign.
I think it is safe to assume that there are some readers here who voted for Donald, and some voted for Hillary. Both were polarizing, and many of us didn’t like either of them. There were plenty of Rubio and Bernie fans out there. So how do we tackle this? How do we move forward as a campus? I mean, is Trinity really going to be one of those places where we don’t tell others who we voted for? To be honest that just kind of seems like a load of shit. If ever there were a time to engage in a conversation about beliefs and understandings, it would be now.
Now I come from a liberal bubble known as Boulder. Many of you may know it as the place where 4/20 takes place publicly all throughout the University of Colorado campus and downtown Boulder. I know it as the home where I cultivated my political understandings about life. So coming down here to Texas, there was a pretty big shock. I mean there are people here who own guns … I had never met anybody who owned a gun before coming to school here. But before you start to pass judgment on me about being a delicate little flower who doesn’t eat meat and only practices yoga, hear me out. (Also, I do eat meat and yoga actually isn’t all that bad.)
In the wake of the election, I felt confused, scared, uncomfortable and unsure about where to go. What the hell was I supposed to do? How do I begin to understand those who voted for Trump? Well, I didn’t. And I realized that I was no better than the next person who judged me without getting to know me first. So I decided to practice what I was preaching, and do my absolute best to get to know those who didn’t align with me politically. There are students on this campus who I would have passed off as ignorant and insignificant, purely because they voted a certain way. In doing so I was adding to the hostility of the campus.
Now, Trinity isn’t full of angry, hostile people who refuse to acknowledge another presence. But I don’t think we have all been doing everything we can to understand one another. To my Democratic friends — it’s time for us to start working towards the values we talk about. Equality is not exclusive to the LGBTQ community, or for women or for the ostracized muslim communities in the United States. Equality is literally for everyone. We can be better, we have to be better, we have to stand strong for what we believe in but also display kindness and do our best to understand without immediately judging. Discrimination is said to be the “unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things.” If we don’t take the time to at least try and understand those who voted for Trump or do not align with us, how can we expect the same? To my Republican friends: please understand that this is a time when all of us have to work on this together. “Winning” an election does not mean that it will all be cake and ice cream. At times it is more difficult to be the winner. But a willingness to hear out differing opinions, and actively engage in open and honest discussions can make all the difference.
While I understand this may seem like a bunch of crazy B.S. coming from a political science student, know that the only thing we can do to mend what is going on is arguably the hardest thing to do. Which is to listen, and try to understand without immediately giving up on our peers. We must learn to listen, and listen to learn.