It is the night of Nov. 8, 2016, and I am watching coverage of the finale what has been the most politically abnormal year of my life, and the weirdest election in perhaps all of American history. The majority of my time over the past year has been spent at Roosevelt, a political climate quite different from one that I have ever been a part of, especially regarding this election.
Looking back on my experience of the presidential race at Roosevelt, many things stand out to me, but none more significantly than the thing that I have heard usually more than once a day, every day for a year: that to heal our broken country, I need to respect the opinions of Trump supporters. As this election from hell draws to a close, I can say that yes, I respect someone’s right to have a certain opinion, but I will never respect an opinion that puts my family, friends, and marginalised groups across the country and world in danger.
There is a dangerous culture at Roosevelt where in effort to break out of the feigned “liberal bubble” that supposedly encloses our school, many self-proclaimed liberal students excessively and over zealously defend Trump supporters and their opinions. This creates the environment that I have experienced where I can not spend five seconds in a political discussion without someone blurting out that we all need to respect and support Trump supporters, or even sometimes admire them for not being swayed by the “liberal” climate of Roosevelt. I cannot see a time in the foreseeable future where it would be appropriate to congratulate someone for being bigoted just because not as many people around them are.
On multiple occasions, I have even had people tell me to “separate Trump supporters from Trump’s actions and opinions.” As if people choose what candidate they like based on anything other than their actions and opinions. This is perhaps the most obvious example of Roosevelt students going to great lengths to defend people who have aligned themselves with bigotry for the sake of popping an imagined “liberal bubble.”
When we have defended Trump supporters, we have defended Trump’s bigotry, we have defended his racist comments, his violent statements and actions towards women, his horrifying opinions about immigrants, his campaign’s support of conversion therapy, and his rape of a thirteen year old girl. When I have spent the last year absorbing this terror targeted towards members of my family and friends, endangering their existences, I am done listening to people defend them for the sake of breaking out of the Roosevelt climate. Whatever happens by the end of this night, I will never respect an opinion that endangers the people I care about, so please never ask me to again.