Opinion Editor preaches communication, education following 2016 election

By Joe Yamulla || Opinion & Editorial Editor

It happened. It’s difficult to articulate or summarize the election in any more detail than that. The fear of millions of American citizens became a reality, Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. At this point in time, we are living at a moment in which America is dangerously divided. African Americans, women, Latinos, LGBTQ+ citizens, Muslims, and so many other groups of Americans are feeling marginalized, fearful, and defeated. I am not a member with any of these groups; I cannot identify with these groups. I’m a white middle-class male.

Trump’s presidency and ideologies aren’t going to directly going to have an immediate affect on me and they won’t affect millions more who are in a similar situation to myself. But, this is much bigger than me, this is bigger than the white middle-class men of the world. I believe this is a point in time in which people’s true character will be revealed. I hope many Americans can empathize with and support those who need it most right now. So many people are suffering and struggling to understand how this is even possible and what it means for their futures.

I think the result of this election comes down to a few factors: racism, anger, and ignorance. In my opinion, you’re a fool if you think America’s racist tendencies are a thing of it’s past. Racism occurs every day. Plenty of white people appear blind to this fact simply because they are not daily witnesses to it. There are American citizens who feel threatened by minority groups like immigrants, who are simply trying to thrive in a new nation like my European ancestors did. America has a very unique darkness looming over it. There is a faction dividing well-off white citizens from struggling minorities and black Americans.

There is a specific plight minorities face, and many working class white citizens are too naive to understand that. This lack of understanding leads to the diminishment of compassion and a rise in racist tendencies. I think one of the greatest dangers in front of us revolves around the fact that many people fear looking outside the confines of their own existence. To understand someone different than you, one must subordinate him or herself. People are selfish, and instead turn to establishing divisions filled with anger, dislike, and distrust. What develops is an “us versus them” mentality. It isn’t just restricted to race. It even goes beyond liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. We’ve developed such a horrifying divide, as perpetuated by the media, and the problem is only getting worse. Hatred seeps into our mantras. Hatred strikes a damaging blow to this country and its people.

Donald Trump gave angry, working class white people the voice they felt they’ve been “denied” for years. He isn’t a politician to them, he’s a God, the second coming of Christ. To speak rawly, Trump is a complete jerk, but he’s not an idiot. He knew how to manipulate this very specific class of Americans and how to fuel their bigotry for votes. He embraced their ignorance and used it as a tool to foster an entire presidential campaign. This voice of ignorance has always been there. It’s nothing new. But, for years there has never been a candidate who was willing to not only strengthen, but even embrace, the ignorance and divisive tendencies that are cancerous to America simply to win.

I was shocked, sad, and even angry. How can we grow as a nation, practice compassion and understanding, if over half the country is devastated and horrified by its leader? I wish I could offer a profound solution or even direction as to where we go from here. I don’t really have one. However, I definitely think the first step we need is to remain strong. Furthermore, we have to remain kind and dedicated to mending the stark divide in this country. Donald Trump represents a very specific population of the American people. For those of us who “know better,” we must unify and try to grow intellectually and empathetically. If you take anything out of this article, let it be to show a deep interest in the lives of those who differ from you. Talk to them, listen to them, help them. For the people you know who voted for Trump, take the high road and try to start a discussion with them. I was devastated, but furthering hatred will not change anything. Some people voted Donald Trump for a reason, and it very well could have been due to a lack of social and racial awareness.

We must try our best to humanize them and to even educate some of them. We have a long way to go, but for now, Trump is our next president. If we break the chains of ignorance and make a concerted effort to open our hearts to all American people, we will have a far different result in 2020.

Junior Joe Yamulla is the Opinion & Editorial Editor. His email is jyamulla@fandm.edu.

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