November Thoughts

I wish I was a more eloquent writer but I won't let that stop me from saying what I want to say.

Last week was a tough week. Following the election upset, most of my friends took their anger out on Facebook, writing long paragraphs about the hopelessness in the world, organizing protests, and publicly ending friendships with Trump-supporting friends. 

At first, I was angry too. I woke up Wednesday morning thinking the world was actually ending. This great country my parents immigrated to has gone to utter waste, because we somehow elected a tyrant as our president. This country must be full of so many racists and bigots, because that's apparently what you are if you voted for Trump. I deemed Republicans to be ignorant, selfish, privileged white males. 

And then I walked to school, unable to get this upset feeling out of the pit of my stomach. I secretly glared at every student who seemed to fit into the mold of what I thought Republicans looked like. This feeling of anger and distrust made me feel like I had to take a political side and personally make an enemy out of 55.6% of the American population.

And then I thought about this feeling I had, and the anger and hostility I witnessed on my Facebook newsfeed. It was scary. I heard about the protests going on in big cities and people demanding to secede, revolt, or leave the country. There was so much hatred and antagonism in people's words. All the liberals were hating on Trump supporters, because those Trump supporters supposedly hate women, minorities, and LGBTQ folk. Isn't that a little ironic?

Then I started feeling bad for the Trump-supporting bigots. They never got the opportunity to be educated to open their minds and hearts to think about others. They weren't taught to love everyone despite differences in gender, skin color, or sexual preferences. I was lucky enough to grow up in California, educated by top schools and universities. And so I thought lack of education was the problem in these red states.

But then - isn't that a little hypocritical of me as well? Just because I was raised with a liberal mindset doesn't mean I know everything either. I didn't think it's true, but I'm definitely living in a bubble as well. No matter where we were raised, we always think that we know best, and that we're doing things the right way. We believe that everyone should think and be just like us. And I hope you're realizing how wrong that statement sounds.

In the days following the election, people are slowly starting to see past the divide between opposing political parties and hear each other out.  Journalists (like Humans of New York) and protesters alike are making an effort to tell the other side of the story, opening our minds to understand each other, and truly respect individuality. It's not even political anymore. We are learning to understand humanity. We need to remember to be compassionate and empathetic, even through the darkest of times.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
— Nelson Mandela

So far this week, I learned how easy it is to give up hope, even on the people around you. (Don't give up on our president-elect either. He's proving to be more moderate than we thought.) Hating is so much easier than loving, but we can't succumb to that. We can't classify things as black or white, or people as good or bad. This election definitely isn't the worst thing that's ever happened to you, and you can't let it destroy you, but rather motivate you to work harder. But most importantly, you must educate yourself. There's always more than you know.

Love and learn. Believe in humankind. Things will work out. Just give it some time.