One week following the election, we are learning more and more each and every day about what the next administration plans to do, and who will be involved. Additionally, we have more and more media, whether that be social media or news media and bloggers, all supporting or rejecting one thing or another, seemingly instantly.
It’s safe to assume that following Trump’s election, the people of the United States have heard of, or embraced the fact that their social media platforms have become selectively polarized to the point where we are no longer able to understand our neighbors, and in some cases it appears as though some are dangerously and flat-out unwilling to try to understand others.
I’m talking about the protests. Whether they are in a city near you, or on your college campus, they are happening. People are calling for unity and sanctuary, while an opposing side points a clicker and labels the protests to be an assembly of criers. You might have heard something similar, and that may be because some places have actually had “cry-ins”….
Maybe you have been told to get over it, you lost, and stop crying over not getting your way.
That viewpoint simply cannot stand, because it is a very surface level style of understanding that misses the reasons for protests, school counseling, and cry-ins. People are not protesting because the candidate they voted for did not get elected. They are not even really protesting that their not-favorite candidate won. People are upset, worried, and anxious over the pure rejection of human rights and dignity that has won the White House.
Again, we are not exactly speaking to Trump himself here, although his campaign rhetoric was a warning sign. Protesters are more concerned with the anti-LGBTQ stances that Mike Pence brings with him. This week, these very worries grew with the introduction of Stephen Bannon as the Counselor to the President, and all of his alt-right and discriminatory baggage that he will come with.
People are frightened that rights, humans rights, that they fought so hard for, are going to disappear. People are frightened that an agreement such as DACA may be torn up, and students might be forcibly removed from schools due to immigration statuses. People may no longer be able to marry like they once thought, and others must continue to fear entering the public because they are cast as “not belonging here”. I want to stress that some, but not all of these notions are not direct results from candidate rhetoric. Some of these notions are previously dormant philosophies that now are legitimizing some, empowering, to act in discriminatory manners. They feel legitimized to belittle “those who don’t belong here” based upon a feeble amount of information they have.
This is why people are worried. Maybe there is some crying, but it is not the derogatory, perhaps sappy “boo-hooing” it is made out to be, in a sore loser sense.
As a nation supposedly made up of united states, we need leadership to help guide these narratives out of click-baity headlines which are turning into apparent truths. But, we also need to re-humanize ourselves as a people and at the very damned least, question why someone may or may not be feeling a certain way. The era of instant emotional dismissal has damaged a lot of human interaction in fear of appearing too sensitive, or un-masculine.
Pundits and the righteously opinionated may critisize my job as much as they wish, but I know that no matter what my political views are, what they were or will be, it is my job to mentor and listen to any student who comes to see me. It does not matter for what either, because it is my job year-round anyway. And we all need to practice listening no matter what our job is.