Today, America is experiencing great division. Many people are classified as good or bad, friend or enemy, or smart or dumb, simply depending on who they voted to elect as President of the United States or what party they identify with. This division has led to great hostility between these two sides and many erratic and even violent protests that have been filled with hate and anger. If you voted for Hillary, you may find yourself screaming at Trump supporters- calling them racists, bigots, or homophobes. Likewise, you may be a Trump supporter arguing with a Hillary supporter, calling him or her someone who supports liars, saying that Hillary has defended rapists in court, saying that she’s gone back and forth on issues such as abortion, and many more things. The list of accusations that can be made against either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is endless.
I feel it is important to note that the purpose of this article is not to say you shouldn’t express your opinion. I even believe there can be peaceful protests, and I’ve seen them. Whether I agree with the issues being brought up in protests, I certainly respect people’s right to protest. But let me state what I do not respect: I don’t respect tearing people down. I don’t respect calling someone a racist or an ‘uneducated, liberal, crazy feminist’ depending on who they voted for. I don’t respect blocking highways to prevent people from going to work.
Now, the main problem with the kinds of political protests we have been seeing recently: They’re filled with slander. The most effective way to communicate your ideas and concerns to another person whom you don’t share political views with is by having a rational conversation about ideas. A month or so ago, I saw a video where a wealthy businessman and author named Peter Schiff went to a Bernie Sanders rally and engaged in a proper discussion of ideas with Bernie supporters (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AIew3RN4R4&t=4531s). He brought a microphone so there was not a need to talk over other people and he took turns talking with others. This was probably the most effective protest I’ve ever seen, and after watching the whole video, I concluded that there were probably some Bernie Sanders supporters that went home that day with a different view, and that is because of the way that Peter Schiff engaged in debate.
The solution? Treating everyone with respect and fairness. If you’re a Trump supporter, engage in civil conversation with a Hillary supporter, be open to the idea that he or she might have some good ideas. The truth is, both Clinton and Trump are intelligent people, and you may not believe it, but they both have some good ideas. Set aside your differences and preconceived notions regarding race, emails, donors, and immigration, and try to focus on unity. Focus on productive debate that will bring us closer together as a nation and not separate us. One of America’s largest threats we face is a man hating his neighbor.
Unite, listen, respect, and love one another.