this blog post is not directly related to my exchange; it’s a raw attempt to organize my own thoughts on what happened Tuesday night.
i woke up early on wednesday and, heart beating, checked my phone. i was surprised. this was when pennsylvania wasn’t called yet, but when various news outlets had already projected a >95% trump victory. both my home state and florida had already turned red. the governor’s race in NC still hadn’t been (and still isn’t certified, on sunday the 13th) finalized.
me wednesday morning: holy…….. shit
that morning, i drank my first coffee from the school’s coffee vending machine, actually my first coffee in a few months because i never really drink coffee (it was strong af and i was jittery all through physics class, 10/10 wouldn’t do again)
i spent the entire afternoon on the computer, reading political news. i obsessed over the stats. the polls were… all! wrong! i poured over all the maps that showed the way each county voted, all the predictions for a trump presidency, and so on. i read commentary from both the right and the left (thanks so much, RealClearPolitics)
i also read a lot of social media.
i am moderately liberal, dislike donald trump, and would have voted for hillary clinton if i were old enough. however, even though i wished the election could have turned out differently, i was so, so surprised and even disgusted at some of what i saw on facebook, instagram, and twitter that day shared/posted by people who were also upset at the election results. among the probably 200 (estimate) political posts i scrolled through, i saw…
- a post telling people who didn’t vote or voted third party to “go die”
- a picture of the US shaded with the territory that was part of the Louisiana Purchase saying something about “if only Jefferson hadn’t made this decision” (hinting to the fact that whoever drew/shared that picture probably wished that the midwest never existed since it went all red)
- a post reducing everyone who voted for trump to someone who is racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic
- a picture hoping that the whole (blue) west coast would secede from the US
- a post telling people who supported Trump that they can’t be friends anymore (i saw many, many, many of these posts)
this is not cool.
based on all these posts from my Facebook friend circle, I got the feeling that you couldn’t even express that you were content about the outcome of the election without people automatically labeling you as a racist, xenophobe, or gun-happy redneck and then using that label to invalidate all other arguments that you may make. it’s real
when I tell certain friends that some people I know voted for Trump, they reply to me by asking if there’s anything fundamentally wrong with these people who voted for them. They don’t know why anyone would vote for Trump if they’re not a racist bigot. They imagine that every Trump voter is a terrible person.
issues are more complicated than that.
Willy Pell summed it up well:
So rather than hitting refresh on Huffpo / Vox / NYT / Slate to make sense of the election, why not go check out the National Review or the Weekly Standard? There is no rule that you have to agree w/ what you read. If you can’t figure out why a person would think that “universal healthcare” is a bad idea without attributing malicious intent to them, then you have some work to do.
While you may not change your mind, hopefully you’ll realize that these issues are more complicated than “people who think those things are dumb and evil.”
I’d like to admit that I, as a member of the urban, minority, soon-to-be college-educated “elite,” read lots of Slate and Vox and the New York Times (you should see my bookmarks bar), grew up with NPR, and come from a bubble of people with liberal views where my only real exposure to conservative media and ideas is something that I have to make an effort to do—such as following Mollie Hemingway on Twitter, or listening to The Federalist Radio Hour on my runs, turning on the radio to 106.1 FM in my car (hi rush and glenn and sean), or occasionally browsing National Review.
without making a visible effort to do otherwise, I would be surrounded mostly by people who share the same perspectives as me.
here’s a test: how many people are you friends with who don’t share your…
- socioeconomic status
- political leanings
- extracurricular interests
- interests in general
- geographical region
- parents’ educational backgrounds
i’ve struggled with this question a lot over the last few months. i’ve definitely clustered around people who are similar to me through high school, and this is actually something that i’ve been unconscious of until gov school + morocco. this clustering is totally not on purpose but instead because it’s so! much! easier! and just happens automatically (e.g. you’re friends with people you spend lots of time at school with, with people in your extracurricular activities, neighbors, etc…..)
many of my friends at home are… 17, liberal, STEM oriented, from quiz bowl or scioly, north carolina raised, etc………… i guess it’s not surprising that i’m surrounded by views that validate my own views all the time; i guess that’s why there’s so much conflict when people, for the first time, hear other people say or do things that they don’t agree with. (read this for an example)
over the past week i’ve been thinking and rethinking this and i just really hope that i can find some way to end this inevitable clustering among youth, or at least make it a lot less common.
as a final (and unrelated) note, it’s so interesting how people forget so quickly. le monde (the newspaper) is my home page, so i was reminded that today marks a year since the november 13th paris attacks. i have not seen this anywhere except for french media.
it’s late. :’) good night!