From here, both parties need to look for compromises

Kyra Kruger

Over the last few days, I’ve seen more political action on the streets, in private and on social media than I have ever seen before in the wake of an election or any significant political event.  Some of it has been good, a lot, it seems, has been bad, but one thing is certainly true: our nation has reacted with force to the results of Tuesday night’s election. 

With the sheer mass of information and opinions that have been spread in the wake of Tuesday night, it can be hard to know what is true, what is right and what is outright deplorable.  In fact, it seems that this has been a common theme throughout the election cycle.  Fake and alternative right news sources have published false and hateful news media, some of which has infested popular culture and helped to poison the rhetoric used during this year’s shocking and divisive campaign.  

What is most shocking to me is how easy it seems to be pulled under and into conversations that are unproductive, too emotional and, frankly, depressing.  There have been crimes on both sides of this election, so moving forward, how do we pick apart the good from the bad? How do we learn from this experience in the meantime and emerge better and stronger after four years have gone by? 

The most important, nay imperative, action that needs to be taken is an admittance of mistakes not by the politicians, but by the people to each other on both sides.  This essay will look at exactly what those mistakes are, and how we differentiate from political policy and moral decency.  

If one mistake by the Democratic Party is obvious, it is that the voices of working class America should not have been ignored. For those people who have felt desperation in this election and voted for Donald Trump as a result, I hope he finds a productive, environmentally friendly way to make this country work for you and also for your children and their children.  I hope he succeeds in his campaign promises for this reason.  Those who are out of work and struggling to put food on their table deserve to be supported by our government, just as every other American deserves to be supported by our government. 

For those who point out the angry backlash by the liberal community, you’re right. Telling everyone who voted for Trump to essentially get out of their lives is neither productive nor sends the message that America needs right now.  To my LGBTQ+, black, Hispanic, immigrant and Muslim friends who are angry right now, I understand.  I understand that you are afraid to lose your rights and your sense of safety and acceptance that for some have so recently been won.  I also implore you to be better, not to stoop to the level of hate and anger of those who wish to see you fail.  

For those who felt victimized prior to and after the election for choosing Trump, I am sorry.  For those who have unjustly been called sexist, racist, homophobic or bigoted, I apologize.  I understand that most Trump supporters are none of those things and should not be judged as such.   Voting for Trump does not make you a bad person. I have friends and family whom I know are wonderful people and voted for Trump all the same.  In fact I am a strong believer that there are no bad people, just bad choices.  

However, this is where I transition to the other side because one truth has stayed with me throughout my reflection on the election: voting for a President who sends a message of hate and prejudice was a bad choice.  It was the wrong choice not because my democratic leaning policy differs from his republican policy, but because a policy of social inclusion should be the only policy fit for the presidency.  

While voting for Donald Trump does not make you a sexist or a racist or a homophobe or a xenophobe, it does make you complicit and tolerant of those ideals.  This is the mistake of the Republican Party. It says that you do not care about the hateful way that Donald Trump ran his campaign and you do not care about the consequences for those people who have been targeted. Wanting change and reform for those struggling in the economic sphere is valid, but it is no excuse for prejudice.

No one can argue that Trump did not lead a campaign filled with hate, violence and prejudice.  Whether or not he continues that kind of rhetoric throughout his presidency, his actions and words in this past year have condoned the behavior of those who truly are sexist, racist, homophobic or xenophobic. Just Thursday night, a group of white boys assaulted a black woman in Trump’s name on our own campus. As Rev. Father Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. has stated, this behavior is not acceptable and should not be tolerated.  

This is the biggest challenge facing the people of the United States of America right now.  This is the biggest mistake that we must atone for.  Trump supporters must come together to say that while they support parts of Trump’s campaign, they will not support and will not tolerate the parts that condone hate, violence and prejudice. In order to be “great,” we must prove that our nation can be one that invites diversity, that is constantly innovating and will not settle for regression or antiquated ideals.  

If we do not stand up for those who are more vulnerable than ourselves, we are either bystanders or bullies. We teach our children not to be bystanders just as much as we teach them not to be bullies.  

Now for a message to my fellow students: we are the future leaders of this society and we must demand better from our peers and from the people.  Young Republicans, I challenge you to go out and find a way to make your policy inclusive and accessible to people of all backgrounds.  Eliminate the accusation of sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia if they are ideals that you truly do not identify with.  

Young Democrats, I challenge you to never stop fighting for the rights and liberties of others. Do not look at this election as a weakening blow but as a test to the strength of morality, of love and of true liberty.  I challenge you to make democratic economic policy both environmentally friendly and favorable for the working class. 

I urge both sides to consider the importance of compromise.  Open your eyes to the fact that to repair what has clearly become a broken nation, both sides must work together with open minds.  There are many challenges that our country faces in the contemporary age such as climate change, race relations, religious freedom, equal rights, economic hardship and increasingly complex foreign affairs.  Each of these problems deserves to be addressed with respect and intelligence, if we hope to resolve them.  

I have seen many people call for bipartisan support for our president out of respect for the democratic process.  To this I disagree, the American people need to come together not in support of our president, but in support of each other.  Only when this happens, will the United States even be capable of claiming the title “great.”