DEMAREST: Self-harm, violent rhetoric is sweeping U.S. after election
Opinions Column: Tax and Turmoil
The events that took place this week following the election of Donald Trump are more than unsettling for any reasonable person to swallow. Americans with access to social media let loose in an all-out attack on their political rivals in a variety of fashions.
The most outraged supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have been taking to the pavement and into the streets of major cities and highways across the nation. This has been their attempt to draw attention to their fear and personal disdain for President-elect Donald Trump.On the other side of the political spectrum, Trumps supporters on the far right have been documented in some cities increasing their use and display of racial slurs along with hate speech.
Twitter has become an outlet for hate, violent treats and vulgarity for supporters of the candidates from both sides. The President-elect has received a tremendous amount of death threats from liberals. While alt-right supporters are eagerly attacking Hispanic and Muslim-Americans awaiting their hopeful deportation as a result of Trump facilitated policy. I’d like to state that I, personally, would have been equally as unsatisfied with the democratic nominee taking the Presidency, and against popular belief, I think similar protests and treats would be taking place, but with the emphasis being on different issues.
On a more personal note, about a month ago one of the most kind-spirited people I’ve ever met and — a girl I walked in my high school graduation with, Amanda Lundeen — took her life for reasons left unknown. This past week another alumni from Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, who I will keep anonymous, inflicted significant self-harm that could have resulted in their death. These are two people I knew for a large period of their lives, and were in supportive communities that have the resources to help them, but unfortunately never spoke out about the concerns they were overwhelmed with so they never received adequate help.
A lot of the concerns that arose were brought to light by those who are not happy with our President Elect including people of color, undocumented immigrants and the LBGTQ community. These factions of society are feeling hopeless, uncared for and feel as though their voices and opinions do not matter. This leaves me in this weird place, observing the harsh realities that are unfolding before me in America, without any pragmatic strategy to calm the water or comfort the hopeless.
My reasoning for bringing self-harm into this column about the divisiveness in our country is because of two major reasons that connect well for me. First and foremost, I want to speak out to any person that believes that there is no way out because of the election. Depression is real — and the last reason for anyone taking his or her life — should be a political regime or elected official. There are people in this country that legitimately feel unsafe and unprotected by the current leadership in our country. I am not saying I agree that people are actually unsafe, but I am stating it is a fact that depression in an ugly, hungry beast that has reached its Thanksgiving dinner in our country after this election.
I urge each and every person that reads this column to reach out to someone they think is negatively affected by the election, and do everything in your power to show them their value, how they are loved and what life has to offer beyond what policy makers say. To the liberals protesting in the streets, the last thing that will make the people you’re advocating for more comfortable is threatening violence against the President-elect. Constructive criticism by attending town halls, writing letters to your university newspaper editors and having conversations with those who think differently than you frequently is the path to comfort for all. I view this attack coming from each side of the aisle as America’s suicide. We are feeding our own self-hatred, bringing out the devil’s advocate in our opponents when gloating on victories and in turn, creating an actual threat to each other’s safety.
I cannot make it any clearer that my major concern in writing this is to get anyone who feels unsafe to voice it, seek help and spread awareness. I also have major concerns for our social atmosphere and how I believe it is not one politician committing American suicide but the die-hard supporters of the major candidates. We are going into what is going to be one of the most closely watched and well-documented presidencies of all time. Feel comfort in knowing that there are Americans that want America to function, but do not care who runs it. I do not want America or Americans to hurt themselves because of ideology or because of false threat promised during an election.
Nicholas Demarest is a Rutgers Business School senior majoring in accounting. His column, “Tax and Turmoil,” runs on alternating Mondays.
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