Before the election, one of the most popular quotes appearing on social media read, “If you vote Trump tomorrow, make sure to explain to your lbgt+, female, black, Latina/o, and Muslim friends why they don’t matter to you.”
This was representative of the response from Hillary Clinton supporters following the election. There is a sentiment shared by many on social media and on campus – if you voted for Donald Trump, a third-party candidate or no candidate at all, you actively supported racism, sexism and xenophobia.
I voted for Hillary Clinton because I wanted to stop Donald Trump, but I think the reactionary and hateful response to those who did not vote for Clinton is toxic.
People vote for whom they consider to be the best candidate for the issues most important to them. This does not mean they condone everything the candidate says or does not say or that they approve of everything the candidate does or does not do.
Hillary Clinton would not take a stance on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Jill Stein, alternatively, took a firm stance against the pipeline, and even vandalized construction equipment being used to construct it.
I voted for Hillary Clinton. Am I against Native Americans?
The DNC was caught attempting to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders. In leaked emails, they were found corroborating with the Clinton campaign in order to use his religious beliefs against him.
I voted for Hillary Clinton. Am I for religious bias and corruption?
Hillary Clinton supports Israel, despite the blatant oppression and slaughter of Palestinians. No matter how many children are affected by indiscriminate bombings, no matter how little food Israel lets into Palestine and no matter how many Muslims are oppressed in Jerusalem, Clinton stands by Israel.
I voted for Hillary Clinton. Am I against Palestine?
Of course not.
I stepped into the voting booth and made an impossible decision. I had my reasons – as did everybody who voted or did not vote.
Before continuing, I would like to acknowledge the terrifying racist, sexist and homophobic factions on the right. They are real and they must be addressed and combatted.
But I am not writing about them. I am writing about the numerous people who are for equality and love but voted for Trump anyway.
From my understanding, many voted for Trump because their jobs have been exported to other countries and they feel insecure about their employment opportunities. Trump, a wealthy and charismatic man, entered the scene and addressed the concerns of these disenfranchised people.
Additionally, the political sphere of our society is notoriously corrupt, and to many people, Hillary Clinton is representative of that corruption while Donald Trump is its antithesis.
While the fight for equality is crucially important to me, I must agree with Trump supporters that there is a large section of the American middle class that is ignored by the media and the democratic party. I must agree that our political system is corrupt in a stagnant, swampy way.
This time around, the liberals failed. We failed to address the concerns of people who might have different fears and immediate priorities than we do. We failed to elect Bernie Sanders, who was revolutionary in addressing the corruption that many Trump supporters believe must be urgently addressed.
We failed, and we lost.
Now, in our defeat, a large number of people have decided to further alienate Trump supporters by dismissing their real and legitimate concerns for their families and finances and accusing them of innumerable prejudices regardless of their actual opinions or statements about why they voted for Trump.
Please choose a different way to combat the new president’s vitriol. There have been so many wonderful calls for unity around campus – but that unity has to extend beyond those who share our perspectives.