It has been about two weeks since the country discovered the surprising results that ended the most divisive election of our time. The polls are closed, the shock has faded and the devastation or joy felt by many has died down. How interesting it is that this was the the first election most of us college students had the pleasure (or not) of participating in. We saw so much change over the course of the campaign and the election, and oh, how everyone took a side.
The notion of “political correctness” is undoubtedly fading, as is, in turn, the respect for the highest office in the land. Neither is without reason, though. The attitudes of just about anyone who had an opinion on either candidates’ campaign were aggressive and often close-minded toward the other. Neither candidate behaved in the most appropriate manner that fostered respect for themselves or the presidency as an institution, too.
While many argued that the Trump “movement” encouraged offensive rhetoric by the candidate, for other Americans, it allowed for a shift away from saying what others want to hear, to speaking their own truth, instead. What could be more telling of the First Amendment of our Constitution than that?
When on the topic of political correctness, it must be stated that Trump’s opinions were often too harsh and rarely grounded in fact. This is perfectly exemplified by his stance on immigration. It must also be understood, however, that every single politician does have a public and a private stance on every issue. Each has a public and a private persona for what will further their political career versus what they truly believe in. That is simply the truth of politics, and it has been that way since the beginning of our country. Founding Fathers advocated to abolish the slave trade and even set a year in the Constitution when it would be no more, however, many of the Framers had been slave owners at one time.
Is it the office that makes politicians more “socially responsible,” or is it the longing to be widely loved that causes politicians flip-flop on what they believe in so that everyone hears exactly what they want to hear? Only politicians know where the truth lies on such a question, but the point is that for the first time, we know what is coming from our President-Elect, and “what we want to hear” isn’t it. He might not be the most articulate, appropriate or respectful person, but what he said during a nearly two year campaign effectively resonated with enough people that they elected him. People claim to be fearful of him, but shouldn’t you actually be more fearful of someone who says one thing and does another?
The most simultaneously fascinating and troubling issue with the election results lies within the divisiveness of our country, today. There are gaping divides between black and white Americans, naturally born citizens and immigrants, and people of different religious beliefs, to name a few.
Many believe that Donald Trump encouraged such divides, while others saw his campaign rhetoric as simply a highlight of preexisting ills in America. Regardless of how you view the issue of divisiveness, it is alive and thriving in our country. What we need to do next is eliminate it, not foster it by continuing to condemn our fellow countrymen for either the vote they had cast for him in November or the confidence they are choosing to instill in him now.
Come January 20th, 2017, Trump will be inaugurated as the President of the United States, and regardless of how you feel about him as a person, he deserves the chance for respect as the President, as 44 men before him received. This includes giving him a fair chance to run our country and do all he can to improve our lives and our families’. As Americans, we are only hurting ourselves more by continuing such a divide.