Living in Trump America – Con: Think Before You Speak


Jessica Capossela

“I’m LGBT, I’m a girl, and I’m brown…well, I’m done.”  

This was one of the many responses I heard throughout the day following the results of this year’s Presidential election.

While running for president, Donald Trump made many statements that were offensive to so many different groups of people.  Yet, after the election and his electoral win, so many people still support him irrevocably. Why?

His comments are racist, misogynistic, and bigoted. Trump is regularly characterized this way and people continue to support him. I am trying to understand why.  

I have been told that some support him because he is not a part of the established political arena. Others echo that by saying he represents change. I counter with this question: is the kind of change we want? The idea is too simplistic to me. It is the same ideology used by the people who supported Hillary simply because she is a woman. That doesn’t make her the right candidate or even the right woman for the job.  

We have all taken enough basic English classes to know that the way in which we say something will convey meaning. Whenever Trump is accused of bigotry, he responds by backpedaling and affirming that he actually loves “that group of people.” But Mr. Trump, we are more than faceless groups of people.  

I could provide infinitely long lists of the the derogatory comments Trump has made, implying the intention to revoke the rights of people who worked for centuries to attain those rights. But I won’t, because you have heard it all.  And yet, many of you still support him. Help me understand why.

A group of students at BHS conducted Psychology surveys on political views. The results shocked me. About 80% of those surveyed claimed to have very liberal views, yet also claimed they were in favor of Trump.

What does this mean? Our beliefs represent us. If I am to believe that the students in BHS are a microcosm representing the country, how do I reconcile these facts in terms of the election?  

Far more dangerous than my inability to reconcile the numbers with the truth, however, is the fact that this election has separated people. Yes, I was laughed at and called a “loud liberal.” But today, the language I’m hearing includes such polarizing terms as fear and hate. We are separated by our political beliefs in a way that spills over into all that we discuss and how we get along.

We are having trouble defining common decency without using judgment and discrimination. We are expecting unconditional empathy but are slow to give it. We are condemning behavior as wrong but we continue to reciprocate it.   

Perhaps the electoral college went in favor of Trump because so many people did not support the questionable things Hillary Clinton has done. Or frighteningly, perhaps there has been a fornication of our country’s morals and it is okay for the future of America to spit in the face of its victims and marginalized populations.  

I am not suggesting that everyone who supports Trump is like Trump. I am thinking that where there is ignorance, we promote fear. Generalizing groups of people leads to greater ignorance and further discrimination resulting in fear.

Saying that all men are rapists is not going stop men who rape; saying that all Muslims are terrorists is not going to stop the percentage of radical Muslims who incite terror. But silent acceptance of Trump’s labels and behavior suggests to people all over the world that we find no trouble with his bigotry and double standards about people he does not know.  

If we do not promote the humanity within all of us, we will run it down.

As I write this, it is just one day after the election. There is backlash and there are protests and there are millions of hashtags being generated. It is human nature to form quick opinions.

We should be careful and deliberate and consider our opinions before letting them fly. Until we feel the need to respond, we must monitor our own fear and hatred and watch how we use our words.

That is what I am doing. No matter what your views are on the election, hate and fear for each other will not unify us behind the President-elect.