Since we last met, the world has changed. The place we lived in seven days ago is very different then where we are today. When Donald Trump got elected, the nation went through three different reactions in the matter of three days.
First came surprise. Shock. The electoral college once again proved to be an imperfect system as Hillary Clinton received over two hundred thousand more votes than her opponent, making her the fifth presidential candidate in history to win the popular vote yet fail to be elected. In March, when Donald Trump was the center of a Comedy Central roast, the panel of comedians poked fun at Trump’s presidential aspirations calling them impossible, a joke, and nothing but a grab for media attention. When claims of sexual assault, tax fraud, and racists comments poured in, the world’s wisest pollsters and statisticians declared Clinton’s chances of winning to be all but guaranteed. His advisors left his team. Many Republicans denounced him. And the world’s most powerful leaders said he was the worst presidential candidate in history. And when he won, he stunned the world that looked at the last eight months and failed to give him a chance.
Second came the happiness – and sadness. Once people had had some time to breathe, take it in and accept the results, the emotions took over. If you wanted to “Make America Great Again” you celebrated. Theses celebrations were based off a feeling of hope. For many voters, a vote for Donald Trump was less a affirmation of Trump and his policies as it was a thumb to the nose towards the status quo in politics. People were tired of the lack of transparency that came with a Clinton administration and instead hoped an outsider would be able to shake up a government that had done them wrong. If you were with “Her”, there was sadness. Clinton’s voters voted for experience, an extensive resume and to “shatter a glass ceiling” while overlooking her dishonesty. When Trump won, Clinton’s voters took it personally, arguing that Trump was elected because women are undervalued and rape culture is rooted in the ideals of many people in this nation. This response led directly into the last stage of emotions.
Third came anger and denial. Anti-Trump protests broke out around the nation, with the slogan of “Not My President”. One of the largest of these protests were held in my neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. What started as a peaceful protest that was accepted by law enforcement around the city quickly turned into a riot. People were injured, police shot rubber bullets and flash bombs, citizens smashed buildings and tore down light posts and vandalised my family’s business when anti police slogans.
It is this last expression of emotions that I have a problem with and regardless of whether you are a rioter or a peaceful protester, the intention is flawed. I empathize and relate with the first two emotions. I was shocked myself. Friends and family around me were sad about the outcome and I for one was happy that the election was over so the front page of every newspaper in the world can turn their attention away from the pettiness of the campaign drama and towards the issues of today. But the anger that was being shown around the nation and in my hometown drew my disapproval.
It was a free and democratic election. The protests were not against a piece of policy that infringed on human rights. The protests were not against anything dishonorable or illegal. As is the case every four years, a president was chosen and some people did not like the outcome. Instead of doing what my mother is currently doing – creating plans and ways to make the nation a better place despite the failure to elect the right executive – they took the easy way out and yelled their dissatisfaction in the streets. Instead of working hard three months ago to get their candidate elected, they expressed their dissatisfaction by vandalizing the community and cursing out policemen which will not change the outcome of the election.
This anger is also hypocritical and misguided. The protesters – whose candidate ran off of the slogan of “stronger together” – are protesting because half the voters disagreed with them. The anger is also misguided. What the protesters don’t realize is that they are taking their anger out on the wrong people. 49% of eligible voters didn’t vote. Instead of directing their disapproval towards the millions of people who outright rejected their civic duty to choose the nation’s next leader, they are taking out their anger at people who disagree with them simply because they chose different person. In fact, if I had to bet, some of those protesters forgot to fill out their ballot.
Click here to read about the aftermath of the Portland protests.