Opinion: Offer a hand before you make a fist

By Andrew Huitt | November 11, 2016 10:25am

As a nation, we are more divided than ever before. Republicans and Conservatives against Democrats and Liberals. These words of political affiliation are a battle cry to some and the worst kind of insult to another.

There have been posts on Facebook and Twitter about unfriending those who voted for the other candidate. I cannot even go on social media because it is so negative and hateful now. Family against family, friend against friend, battle lines have been drawn.

Talking to friends of both sides at the University of Portland, there is a common theme of fear of the other party. Democrats are terrified of Republicans. Republicans believe that the Democrats will ruin the country. Why did our political system get so poisonous?

As a heterosexual, white male who is indeed privileged I have a certain perspective. I understand that I see the world differently than others but at the same time, I am a human being. I hate country music, I love terrible sports teams (the Sacramento Kings), I am afraid of dying, the future and disclosure to others. I have depression, anxiety and struggle with my identity and how I look. I, just like everyone, am a person with fears, hopes and desires.

Why must the color of our skin, the people we love, and what we identify as determine who we are or how we vote? Politics should focus on governmental policy. Why must we attack the individual for who they vote for? I am a human being, just as is the Donald Trump voter or the Hillary Clinton supporter.

Democracy has its ups and downs, it is flawed at times, but overall it gives us a choice. We live in the United States, a young country that has found its place at the top of the food chain.

We do not communicate enough as a country. Many working class, conservative voters felt ostracized and disenfranchised. They looked to a candidate who gave them a voice even if that voice was very radical.

Instead of pushing others away and shutting others down since their opinions do not meet ours, let’s have a discussion. We need to stop trying to always be right— sometimes winning the argument is the wrong thing for us, our loved ones and our country.

Love each other. The election cycle is over, we have four years to recover and rebuild. If you are a Democrat, give a Republican a hug. If you are a Republican, hug a Democrat. If you are a Libertarian, a Greenie, a member of the Constitution party or whatever, show empathy and give an ear to someone else.

Listen before you speak, love before you hate or offer a hand before you make a fist. Hate has not won, come together as a people and show those in power that they cannot change who we are. I challenge you to go to others whom you disagree with and open your heart and ear; not for you, not for them, but for our country.

Andrew Huitt is a sophomore organizational communication and history major and can be reached at huitt19@up.edu.