The 2016 Election and You: What Both Sides Need to Understand

Whether you voted for Clinton or Trump was the deciding factor of how your night went on Tuesday, November 8th. If you were in the Trump camp, your team just defeated the devil; the most corrupt politician in history was taken down. If you were in the Clinton camp, the most qualified woman to ever run for president lost to Hitler. As you can imagine, the different camps had very different nights. You were either Alex Jones popping champagne, or this.

Trump supporters, for the most part, began to gloat. It makes sense as every poll had Clinton winning the election, and not by a small margin. Clinton supporters were livid, and took the streets in nearly every major city protesting the election.

Each side has their rose tinted glasses, so the perceptions of the candidates could not be further apart depending on who you voted for. Trump supporters see Clinton as a criminal who should be in the big house instead of the White House. Clinton supporters see Trump as a racist, fascist, authoritarian, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, and whatever other negative buzz word you can think of, individual. More simply put, and I will use this analogy for the remainder of the text, many Clinton supporters equate Donald Trump to being Hitler.

When people say “there weren’t riots in the streets when Bush and Obama won” it’s not an apt comparison. The perceptions of those two individuals were vastly different than the perception the left has of Trump. People disliked bush, people disliked Obama, but there wasn’t widespread perception that the two were going to bring the Third Reich to America. Personally, I don’t think Trump is Hitler, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that a significant number of people do think that Trump is Hitler.

If I were to go back in time with the knowledge I have today, placed in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power, I think I can speak for 99.9% of people when I say that I would die trying to stop him. This is why there are riots in the streets. Despite the fact that Trump is most likely not the reincarnation of Adolf, an alarming number of people think that he is. To these people they are not protesting a democratic election, they are trying to save the world from the new Nazi Germany.

The thing that Trump supporters need to understand is that these people aren’t protesting because they’re mad they lost. They legitimately think that we are now witnessing the rise of a fascist ruler who plans to get rid of Democracy and impose laws similar to those of the Nazi’s.

They’re also protesting because they think that Trump’s victory has normalized hate speech and discrimination. While there are some stories which have already been debunked, like the gay man who claimed to be beaten by Trump supporters, or a woman who claimed a knife was pulled on her by a Trump Supporter on a bus, there are dozen’s of legitimate cases which are being ignored.

While these scenarios are, at least I hope, the exception and not the rule they need to be addressed. These people engaging in hate crimes were racists, homophobes, misogynists, etc. before Trump was elected, that much is true, but the issue being raised is that these people have been given a moral cover to act now that Trump is president.

Most Trump supporters are not ‘deplorables’, as dubbed by Hillary Clinton, and would never engage in hate crimes or discrimination, but it is completely ignorant to not recognize the fact that some of them are. By denying that these people exist, and are in fact out committing hate crimes and discriminating against people, that normalizes this type of behavior. There needs to be significant backlash to anyone engaging in this behavior from Trump supporters. If Trump supporters are truly not ‘deplorables’ they need to be actively denouncing these attacks and showing support to the victims. To do anything else is to in essence support these attacks by creating an environment in which this behavior is accepted.

There is an important factor in this situation that many people who voted for Clinton fail to recognize, however. The incredibly qualified woman with 30 years of government experience, to Trump supporters, is not qualified in the least and belongs in jail. Clinton regularly solicited donations from foreign governments and then gave those government’s preferential treatment during her stint as secretary of state, like removing Algeria from the terror watch list after donating $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. She lied under oath, she defied a congressional subpoena, she destroyed evidence. Clinton supporters dismissed WikiLeaks as Russian propaganda, without ever giving credence to the thought that these leaked emails legitimately expose Clinton for being a corrupt, criminal politician.

While I fully recognize the issues that are being protested by Clinton supporters they need to ask themselves, “if Donald Trump really is the terrible demagogue I think he is, why did he win against such a qualified candidate?”. There are two possible answers to this question;

  1. The majority of Americans are ‘deplorables’, truly terrible people on par with white supremacists. Or,
  2. Hillary Clinton was an equally bad, if not worse, candidate.

My money goes on answer 2.

Hillary Clinton did not lose because the majority of America is racist, she lost because she was a terrible candidate who has a resume filled with corruption and scandal. You cannot blame America for not wanting that, even if you don’t like that alternative. On the other side of the coin, Trump supporters cannot blame Clinton supporters for not wanting a man who uses what they deem as ‘inflammatory rhetoric’. If we are to move past this election and reconcile our differences Clinton supporters have to recognize and admit to Hillary’s indiscretions, just as Trump supporters must recognize and admit theirs.

The bottom line is that a country divided is no country at all. Race relations in the country are terrible, inequality is widening, based on what you see on Television you would think we are on the brink of a civil war. There has to be civil discussion on how to fix things. We must learn to understand the other side. We need to at least make an attempt at bipartisanship and cooperation. If we don’t, our country is headed for a terrible place that it may never come back from.

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