A Poor Reaction on Both Sides

On November 8, the United States elected Donald J. Trump as its 45th president. By the time many Americans awoke the next day, protesters had already organized and taken to the streets. Hamilton students held their own protest a week later, marching down to the Village Green for a rally.

Protesting in the streets, and in some cases elsewhere causing havoc, will only result in more arrests and mutual hostility in this already torn-apart nation. And despite such activities, Donald Trump will remain the president-elect. Going out into the streets proclaiming that he is “#notmypresident” will do absolutely nothing. Neither will urging California to secede from the union, or posting your plans to move to a different country on Facebook. This is effectively the same thing as getting a test grade you are not happy about and complaining to the teacher about how unhappy you are. But as everyone knows, a better solution to a bad test grade is to study harder for the next test and do better.

So why not take a similar approach to the Oval Office? If you are unhappy with Trump, don’t protest about how unhappy you are via Facebook rants. Instead, call your local representative and express your opinions so that they can be better represented in the future. Then, swallow the pill and work with Trump, instead of against him, to create progress for our nation and make our future as bright as possible.

However, the protesters alone should not be blamed for the poor reactions to this year’s election results. It seems that some of the president-elect’s staunch supporters have used his victory as an excuse to harass and spew hateful messages toward immigrants and minority groups. Since the election, there have been more than 200 hate crimes reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They range from vandalized cars and homes to children bullying each other about race. Even though Trump himself condemned such actions, telling all of those who participated or plan on participating in a hate crime to “stop it,” these behaviors have continued in earnest.

This leads to one simple question – why? Why have some Americans stooped to such low standards as to make others feel ostracized based on their race, religion, or gender? Trump’s message on election night was about unifying the nation, not tearing it apart. Engaging in these actions accomplishes nothing but instilling fear into the hearts of those who have done nothing wrong. It is time for Trump supporters to be graceful winners and offer an olive branch to the losing side. It is time to assure them that all Americans can work together to put an end to race wars and extreme partisanship.

I understand that many were not happy with the results of this election. The vast majority of Democrats disagree with Trump’s (and the Republican Party’s) platform. Many Republicans, too, did not consider him an ideal or even a good candidate or potential president. Regardless, Americans who did their civic duty voted, and Trump won. The public should both accept the election outcome and encourage the success of our next president.

If protests, riots, and the refusal to accept the election results persist, our nation will continue to polarize. Similarly, if hate crimes and the mocking of innocent people continue, the dangerous racial conflict will drag on. As Americans we have two options: to fracture this nation, or come together and show just how amazing our country can be. Hopefully we can make the right choice.