Opinion: Meeting the Election with Tolerance, Respect, and Love

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Benjamin Saint-Jean

(Edited by Jordan Greene and Herman Aguilar)

If you are reading this article, it means that you have survived one of the most bizarre election cycles in American history. Congratulations!

Defamation tactics from both Republican and Democratic candidates became a norm in this year’s election cycle. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both put up a fight, but on November 8, 2016, Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. However, Trump is not the typical American politician. In fact, he has no political experience prior to running for president, unless you include paying lobbyists to defend the interests of his business and the interests of Wall Street.

His arrogance and display of bravado throughout his campaign resonated with many American citizens. Although Trump is not our typical politician, this lack of political experience is not even the most bizarre part of this election cycle. What is bizarre is that throughout this election cycle, Trump has spewed hateful rhetoric from his privileged lips and defending these hateful statements by referring to his political slogan of “Making America Great Again.”

What is even more bizarre is that the same hate-filled speech has resonated with 60 million Americans.

Throughout the fall and winter seasons of 2015 and most of the year 2016, president-elect Donald Trump has shared hate speech against minority groups including illegal immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and women. He has belittled the sacrifices that veterans have made for this country, and expressed his radical ideas of building a great wall on the US-Mexico border and issuing a temporary ban on Muslims.

A Donald Trump presidency is an attack on our basic rights as Americans. American citizens love to boast that we are a free nation, where anyone is welcome regardless of race, gender, class, or sexuality. However, when his radical ideas and hate-filled speech resonates with that many Americans, it makes you wonder: Is America who America says it is?

20161113-trump1Since November 8, there have been records of hate crimes being committed across the United States. One incident occurred at Baylor University where university student Natasha Nkhama was walking to class when a male student pushed her off the sidewalk and said, “No n—–s allowed on the sidewalk.” Shortly after pushing Natasha, he declared, “I’m just trying to make America great again.” Donald Trump has inspired racist, xenophobic, and homophobic America to step out and act on the feelings that they have been harboring since President Barack Obama has taken office.

But I have faith in the new America. In my opinion, we are going through growing pains, and freedom and unity is never easy. However, the America I have faith in is the America in which 300 of its citizens walked Natasha Nkhama to class since that incident. The America I have faith in is the America that loves more than it hates. The America I have faith in will not break but will only respond with love. The America I have faith in is all-inclusive, and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, class, sexuality, or religion. This is the America that I love; this is the America that I respect. We may have our differences as Americans, but the America that I love seeks to advance its status in the world by loving and accepting its citizens.   

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