Don’t run from election results



Protestors gather at a massive anti-Donald Trump rally at Trump Tower in Manhattan Nov. 12. Columnist Heppeard urges those who are dissatisfied with election results to stand up for their beliefs.

ANDREW HEPPEARD, Opinion Columnist

This election has not gone the way that many had hoped — not even the way that the majority of voters had hoped — but this is not the time for running or for violence.

Many of us have friends who want to “Move to Canada,” or who support #Calexit, but we must think about what it would mean to run or rebel like this.

If everyone who disagreed with this election ran to another country, then those who fought against a discourse of racism, sexism and so much more bigotry will no longer be here to protect those who cannot leave.

I am speaking from the vantage of a person who is relatively safe. I am a white male, and I can pass as straight, and I can pass as middle class, and I can make myself invisible to those who are making this country dangerous again, but for how long?

I am a polyamorous, pansexual, impoverished socialist. I may be a white guy, but I am by no means safe if I am known as who I am. But this puts me in a position to help others like me who are also feeling unsafe in this dire time.

Whether or not Trump has outright supported any of the horrors which have been emboldened by his candidacy other than sexual assault, the fact still stands that others have been acting as if he had outright ordered it.

Even here on campus and in our surrounding community we have seen an increase in swastikas cropping up on our sidewalks and our streets, and even inside of our own union.

While it would be wrong to say that everyone who supported Trump has done more than tacitly accept these kinds of actions, the fact is that the acceptance has excused their actions and misguided beliefs.

In light of this, if you disagree with Trump, and are in a status of privilege to where leaving is an option, you should be fighting to protect those around you who will be in danger from people who wrongly believe that their race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. makes them better in some way than others.

This is not a call to arms. The fighting needs to be social, it needs to be political. We cannot allow bigotry and hate speech that wrongly asserts that someone is somehow worse than others to be protected by the First Amendment. Allowing these vocal actions is an acceptance of further action.

This defamation, these fighting words, are unprotected by the First Amendment. We must stand up and remind everyone that we cannot stand if one of us has fallen, and we must stop bigoted violence before it is too late.

We cannot do that if we are not here.

What we must do is band together in local and national elections, but more than that,  between them.

According to the Associated Press, Donald Trump won 92 percent of the counties in which less than 20 percent of adults have a bachelor’s degree. These uneducated masses voted by and large for change, because they were tired of career politicians — qualified or not.

Yes, there were those who voted against Clinton for being a woman, just like there were those who voted against Obama for being black. Yes, there were those who voted for Trump on single issues, or because they had their hate empowered by his campaign.

These are not the voters who can be saved, but that is not to say that there are none. Educate your peers, educate your families, educate your elders and educate those younger than you.

This election has been one of ignorance, and we cannot help those who are in a willful state of it. But we can fight.

The only way to fight ignorance is to educate it. Violence breeds violence, and it very often only makes things worse.

Give voice to what you believe to be right, and open respectful discourse. Remember that those who beget belligerency have lost reason, and if someone spouts hateful and hurtful words at you, then they have already begun to see the errors in their arguments. They are afraid.

Make them afraid. Make them fear that their old ways of hatred are not welcome in a democracy. Make them fear the land of the free, because freedom must come first and foremost from equality.

Do not run. We are all afraid right now, and we are not the ones who should be.

Protest, but do not raise arms. Break down barriers as they are built. Let them know that hate is not welcome here. And help them see that they do not have to hate.