First and foremost: Congratulations to your candidate, Donald J. Trump, for becoming the President-elect of the United States of America. This campaign season for many people, including myself, felt like one of the longest we’ve ever endured.
Now, after the dust has settled, we have to talk about your decision to support and vote for Trump.
This isn’t about his policies, whatever they may be, but instead, about his morals and ethics. There isn’t a problem with you, per se. You aren’t necessarily a racist, xenophobe, homophobe or misogynist.
However, it is the fact that you voted for a candidate who has been publicly accused of committing sexual assault and suggested that he could get away with it. It is the fact that you voted for a candidate who called Mexicans “rapists,” wants to ban an entire religion from entering the country and believes that there should be “extreme vetting” of immigrants.
This is a candidate who encouraged violence at his rallies, mocked a disabled reporter, questioned the validity of President Barack Obama’s citizenship, doesn’t believe in climate change and had been endorsed by the KKK.
It is also the fact that you didn’t vote for one of the most highly-qualified candidates in history. You didn’t vote for a Yale-educated lawyer, former First Lady, former U.S. Senator and former Secretary of State.
And I’m not even a Clinton supporter. Alarming, yes. Surprising? No.
We attend school in one of the most liberal parts of the country. However, we can sometimes be naïve to what’s happening outside of our university. I can point to numerous tweets and stories of people around the country sharing their experiences and fears in the aftermath of the election. And recently, this hatred has spread to Oregon.
In the wake of Trump’s victory, black students at the University of Oregon received racist and dehumanizing messages from anonymous persons. At Reed College, homophobic and anti-Semitic messages were left on the bathroom walls of the school’s library.
Racism still exists — it is alive and well. Misogyny still exists — it is alive and well.
Just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening to someone else.
Nevertheless, the United States now has an obligation to begin the conversation, though uncomfortable at times, about the issues America faces today. Engage in dialogue about why you feel so strongly about a topic and convince your audience why they should take up your beliefs. Don’t tell them why they may be “wrong,” make your argument stronger than theirs.
Politics is considered one of the most taboo things you can talk about, but imagine if the voter population was well-informed. Imagine if you knew about the legislation that was being introduced and what it contained.
It is entirely possible and it starts with us.
A nation founded on the backs of slaves and on the land of Native Americans, “…with liberty and justice for all,” has no excuses when it comes to staying silent about politics.
Kale Kanaeholo is a junior history major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.