Shell-shocked by the election, finger-pointing and despair abound on social media. Instances of anti-minority harassment have skyrocketed, anti-Trump protesters have grown violent, and every viewpoint seems convinced that it is the one both most correct and most victimized. I ask you to listen to one another.
None of us is right about everything.
First, a plea to conservatives: please do not single out as uniquely problematic or sinful any group of people, whether by race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, nationality or otherwise. For example, suggestions that Christians are victims of a gay ‘agenda’ is to incite fear and hate, which has risen even at our own Hope College since Tuesday’s election. Instead, use your role in this community to once and for all condemn discrimination, and to advocate for the legal protection of minorities — such as housing and job protection for LGBT people.
Next, a plea to fellow liberals: many of us have done a horrible job of listening to opposing views, too often immediately labeling conservatives as racist, sexist, bigoted or uninformed. This may sometimes be the case. But we can be bigoted, too. To generalize conservatives commits the same fallacy that we decry; to define all Republicans given the extremism of one representative individual (say, Donald Trump) is the same logical error as defining all Muslims given one terrorist. Trump supporters might genuinely fear, for example, cars being damaged if they display a campaign sticker, or their views being unfairly ridiculed.
Finally, a plea to fellow holders of privilege to use their power for good. If you do not fear violent racial slurs when you walk in public, you wield white privilege. If you do not fear being daily demeaned based on your gender, you wield male privilege. If you do not fear being shoved or called ‘f***t’ when holding hands with a loved one, you wield straight privilege. If you do not fear being registered with the government because of your religion, you wield Christian privilege. People in other groups have not had life so easy, often for generations. I ask for a real, prayerful, meditative consideration of the realities others face, and the consequences of Trump’s words and likely policies. For example, numerous precious children of immigrants are terrified they will be separated from their families.
A truly mature and American mentality will listen to opposing views and practice what it preaches with grace and humility.
Chase W. Nelson
Originally published in The Holland Sentinel.