Jessica Reino

Jessica Reino

Editor

As a writer, I have a running tally in my head about topics that I can develop and comment on. However, I think the only appropriate thing to talk about at the moment is the recent U.S. Presidential Election that will probably go down in history books as simply “2016”.

As a writer, part of my job is to be an observer and as a result of these observations I am left with one conclusion: Despite being connected via mainstream media, the internet, and social media with smartphones taking on the appearance of an extra appendage at times, we could not be more disconnected. We have forgotten what it means to communicate and this is what I believe to be the root of the problem.

We have a President-Elect who has made lewd, racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments, to name a few, during his campaign. This is indisputable, yet he still got elected to office. This type of rhetoric and disrespect has allowed those wishing to carry-out hate crimes the fuel to do so and these actions have created a tone of fear and sadness throughout the nation.

Photograph via Trent Yarnell

For those Trump supporters who cannot fathom why people have such profound reactions calling these same people “crybabies” for losing, then those supporters have never been marginalized and persecuted based on appearances, race, gender, or a disability. If they did, they would understand the “why” behind the tears and cries.

With that being said, however, it is also indisputable that Hillary Clinton called some Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” and that violence was carried out by Hillary Clinton supporters in protest of President-Elect Trump. Those that burned the American Flag committed the very acts of hate that they are protesting against. America is made up of people with many beliefs and sadly some of those beliefs are racist and sexist, but that is not the majority. Most people who voted for Hillary Clinton are not violent, left-wing liberals, just like most people who voted for Trump are not all racist and sexist. In fact, Trump had quite a few women voters.

When I was watching and listening to the discussions between panelists on mainstream media news outlets asking questions of themselves as to “How did this happen?”

“How could we have gotten this so wrong in the polling numbers?”, it was like listening to parents of teenagers who came home to see their teens had thrown a house party without their knowledge or consent and just did not want to believe their kids are capable of such a thing.

What does this mean that some women have voted for a person who has made clear statements that he may not have their best interests in mind? Maybe this speaks to a larger issue of the gender inequality in this country- that women are used to this kind of language and can brush it off or dismiss it as “locker room talk”. This is a problem that needs to be communicated and addressed.

Some of these women were vocal of their support for Trump while others did not reveal they voted for Trump until after he won. The fact that some people did not come out and declare who they were voting for could also be why the polling information was faulty. However, another reason could be due to the fact that a large majority of those that were eligible to vote didn’t even do so.

This is what I have a hard time wrapping my head around. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, I don’t understand how someone could not vote. Voting is a right and duty as a citizen of this country and should not be taken lightly. A Presidential Election is not the time to decide to withhold a vote to make a statement. If, as a citizen of the United States, those that did not vote feel so strongly that they do not want to do so, then this opposition should have been addressed a long time before the actual election. If there are resentments or concerns, voice those opinions in a productive way. Isn’t that the essence of a democracy?

Photograph via Anthony Delanoix

So why is it so hard to voice our opinions productively? We should be aware of what is going on around us. “We the people” make up this country and we have control over our immediate environment and ourselves. People are more complex than who they voted for. We can choose to communicate with each other and respect each other knowing that what we do has an effect on us and the larger world.

We are citizens of the United States, but also global citizens and we need to be mindful of that. We are taught at a young age to never discuss religion or politics, but on further contemplation, maybe we should start.

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More About Jessica Reino: Kidlit writer, editor for @pandamoonpub, foodallergy advocate, wife and mom to two amazing boys who keep me on my toes. Find out more at www.jessicareino.me.