“A house divided against itself cannot stand” ~ Abraham Lincoln
It is the afternoon of Wednesday November 9th and I am sitting in Periodic Table trying to put to paper my thoughts after this election. Periodic table is not empty but it is far too quiet, and the entire campus seems quieter than usual today. I can’t tell whether this is the calm before the storm or if this is just a nice day.
I’ve scrolled through my Facebook feed, my YouTube subscriptions and thought about the conversations I’ve had with people today. What I hear from people around me is that people are disappointed in America, people are scared and people believe we made a mistake.
However, that is just one side of the story because there are 48% of Americans who did vote for Donald Trump. I can as much fathom their vote for Trump as much as they can fathom my vote for Clinton. This is not right and it makes me deeply uncomfortable that I have become so politically polarized that I cannot find a redeeming quality in the candidate I do not support.
We choose to surround ourselves with ideas we agree with and this allows us to avoid critically thinking about our points of view. With the internet it is so easy to search for information to confirm personal bias and to surround ourselves with voices saying exactly what we think. I choose who appears in my Facebook feed, who I subscribe to on YouTube and what news channels I follow. I created an echo chamber for myself, and that echo chamber we all create is where bipartisanship goes to die.
And I don’t want to leave my echo chamber, I want to believe that because Trump won because his voters are ignorant or uneducated. But this isn’t true and I know it isn’t true. This is just how deep the division in the country runs. I’m willing to overlook what I know to confirm I have some sort of moral high ground for the next four years. The losing side is bitter and the winning side wants to gloat. So, the division grows but this is not what America needs.
We need to bring people together again. So I say, go and write someone a letter by hand, especially if they have a view you disagree with. Go talk to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Tell someone you appreciate them. Make an effort to connect with people because we need a reason to be one nation, e pluribus unum, now more than ever.