Views 29 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 3 - 7 - 2017 | By: Grant Gardner
The election of every new president brings there a wide spectrum of reactions and emotions. I had the unique opportunity of living in Texas during 2008 and now California for Trump’s election, allowing me to witness these different responses firsthand. The similarities and differences are apparent, but there is an overarching message that gets lost in the transition of power.
Though most Californians and Texans would despise being compared, there were similarities in how each reacted. Besides the typical jokes about moving to Canada, I saw people afraid of uncertainty. To some, it seemed like the end of the world. In both scenarios, the political power had shifted completely to the opposing party, which only enhanced their initial fear. Many questioned the structure of our political system, debating whether it was flawed. Both elections were carried by voter enthusiasm in other states, which led to a general feeling of powerlessness.
However, there were stark differences as well. The actions of the defeated were vastly different. In Texas, the only widespread reaction was to stockpile guns and ammunition in advance of the new administration while accepting what had happened. People overcame their initial fear of change an d instead pushed a grassroots movement to counter the change in political climate. The differences were clear with the California reaction, though it is important to remember how unique this election cycle was.
The outrage and devastation on display was unprecedented in both protests and social media. There were people in tears for days afterwards and even faculty here struggling to teach in the aftermath. The despair amongst those who disliked Trump was different than anything I have ever witnessed. It was clear that some thought this election was the literal end of America and the world as we know it. Even five months later, these strong feelings continue to fester on a daily basis.
The problem with what I saw in 2008 and 2016 was that the concept of unity was lost on many. Our society has become so divisive, constantly separating and judging others based upon politics, race, religion, and many other characteristics that we forget that we are all Americans first. In both of these cases, I saw people allow an election to adversely impact their lives and ruin relationships. This is a travesty because having a negative reaction after the fact is absolutely worthless and has no impact on changing anything. Harassing or assaulting people with opposing views is not patriotic, it is just an excuse for barbaric behavior.
The real opportunity to effect change is in making an effort to understand those you disagree with and pursue mutually beneficial goals. The hostility and partisanship accomplishes nothing but to further fuel tensions between both sides. We are so incredibly blessed to live in the greatest nation in the world with unlimited opportunity. If we allow ourselves as a society to become further divided, we will destroy ourselves. However, if we move past our differences and work together, there is so much potential to make an incredibly positive impact on those around us and the world.