A call for understanding

I have seen enough Facebook posts and heard enough conversations about how people need to stop whining. Stop overreacting. Stop talking about this election and move on.

I have read that America needs to try and understand the Trump supporters. I can see where our priorities differ and where their background may have influenced their decisions, and I hope they can see how my priorities influenced my choice to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. I believe in the voting system and that America is stronger when we value respect and diversity.

But I refuse to sit back now that the election is over and keep silent because “there’s nothing I can do.” I refuse to denounce the protests and turn Clinton into a joke. This invalidates the very real fear that many Americans have felt since Nov. 9. People are not upset just because their party did not win. This outrage is not the act of sore losers. Do not belittle their fear.

We know the president does not have unlimited power. That is one thing we can be proud of in this country. He will not be able to make changes without support in Washington. Not all of his outlandish proposals will become policies. But his actions and his words have given validation to dangerous groups who would have continued to spread hatred regardless of the election results and have now been given a national platform to do so.

And this is what is different. This is why the election has become dangerous. The results of the election sent a message to minorities, women, the LGBTQ community and anyone who is now fearful for their rights and safety. It sent a message that they are not a priority. It sent a message that after eight years of Barack Obama, the first African-American president, America was done with changing things up.

It sent a message that, in 2016, a woman with decades of political experience cannot be president. This election is not a victory because Trump is a businessman and not a politician. It merely shows that once again privilege and power win. This shows that a man can mock a reporter with a disability on camera, joke about assaulting women, call for a ban on Muslim immigration, verbally attack women accusing him of sexual assault, be aligned with active hate groups and still be given the highest office in America. It shows his behavior can go without consequences. It is already inspiring others to do the same, whether they are conscious of it or not, because of the power he has just been given.

Even his picks for top position in the White House are dangerously unapologetic about their acts of discrimination. For example, former head of Breitbart News Steve Bannon is set to become Chief Strategist.

Brietbart has long been an outlet of the alternative right, giving voice to sexist, racist and white-nationalist views. Cultural norms dictating what is appropriate in the White House (and in everyday life) are already shifting.

So to anyone who is still wondering why many Americans are still upset, listen closely to their fears. Do not talk over the voices calling for change and understanding. Their opinions are as valid as yours, only now they face an unclear future. America already heard the voices of Trump supporters on election day. Now it’s time to hear the other side.

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