It’s 12:39 a.m. on Nov. 9. I’m watching the election unfold on CNN. My chest is tight, my breath is short and my sadness runs so deep I cannot bring myself to cry. I am exhausted.
When I think about the hate that has divided our country, my heart breaks over and over again. Where is the “we” in “we the people”? Where is the “united” in the United States of America? Where is the “us” in U.S.A.? This division is much more than the result of a presidential election.
Yes, both major party candidates spewed a lot of hate, but I am most affected by the behavior of my peers, my friends, my family.
“All you white hoes who voted for Trump I hope you get gang raped by a bunch a n—as and force to keep the baby cause no more abortion,” read a screenshot from Snapchat on Twitter.
I am disgusted someone thought that and then published it.
I know people who stole campaign signs from people’s yards. My friends cut ties with people when they discovered their political preferences differed. My friend’s daughter learned in her elementary school’s mock election, “Hillary says moms should be able to kill their babies if they don’t want them” and “Trump hates Muslims like Hiba,” who is her school friend.
Riots erupted across the country as the Trump win became more and more clear.
Blame is being placed on every type of voter, and hate is coming from every side. We cannot accept hate, and we cannot place blame. We have to act as “we the people.” We have to be united. We have to love each other, even when the other is hard to love. The person in power does not dictate how we treat each other.
I am not a political person. I have successfully avoided most political talk among my family, friends and peers over the past year and a half. This is the first and only thing I will share regarding my thoughts on this election, and my message is hardly about the election.
It’s true that much of the hate we have seen recently has been sparked by corrupt candidates and hateful supporters, but brokenness existed long before the 2016 campaign and will continue to pervade our society long after.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Similarly, the Bible says in the book of John, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
This is the message I cling to. Oppression and animosity are not bigger than love. Loving those that you disagree with sends a much stronger message than that of hate. Love your roommates. Love your parents. Love your professors. Love the new president of the United States. I urge you to hold tightly to love. Do not fight hate with hate.
It sounds cliche, but it’s what we have.
This is a sad time for the United States. We are hurting, but not all is lost.
Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, is the first black senator elected in California and only the second black woman in the nation’s history.
Oregon elected the first openly LGBT governor in U.S. history, Kate Brown.
The first Latina senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, was elected in Nevada.
In Minnesota, Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to a state legislature. And she’s a former refugee.
These women represent incredible progress in our nation, and that should be celebrated. We will not ignore the inequality and oppression, but these results are hopeful.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and former star of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” said in his Tony acceptance speech in June, shortly after the devastating shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, “We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall and light from dying embers. Remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.”
I am hopeful. I am committed to love. I refuse to spread hate. I hope you do, too.
Emily Linderman, ’19, is an assistant lifestyle editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at the [email protected]