I fully support protesting the election of Donald Trump as President. I support taking to the streets with signs and megaphones, shouting for his immediate dismissal. I fully support burning the American flag, defacing Trump’s image for all to see, and even wishing death upon him. Each of these things are forms of speech that are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Yes, even casting death hexes on Trump by burning, chopping, or sticking pins into effigies counts as free speech, and I fully endorse doing this if you believe it will help you and your loved ones somehow.
But the one thing I won’t stand for is physical violence.
To those who are smashing windows, starting dumpster fires, or vandalizing cars with Trump bumper stickers…Pull your fucking heads out of your asses RIGHT NOW. I know you’re scared, I know you’re afraid; but this isn’t the answer. For one thing, many of the people you’re hurting have nothing to do with the cause you’re trying to support. How do you know the shop owner down your street actually voted for Trump? And even if he or she did, that does not entitle you to harm them or their property. This is fucking America, and all American citizens of legal age have the right to vote as they please. By attempting to punish other citizens for their votes with physical harm, you become the tyrant. You become the oppressor. The only way we can win this culture war is by working hard to change people’s hearts and minds through intelligent discourse. It cannot and will not be won by further contributing to the terror that’s engulfed our country.
Worse still, you are giving the opposition exactly what it wants. People like Donald Trump are laughing at you, for you are acting as pawns in their long game for conquest. By vandalizing property and physically harming other people, you are only helping the Republicans gain more sympathy and support. “Look at these monsters,” they and their supporters are saying even now. “We have a fair election, we win fair and square, and they resort to violence. These people are a threat; they must all be dealt with.” Of course, we know well and good that if Clinton had won, Trump supporters would be taking to the streets and terrorizing their neighborhoods right now instead. But as things are right now, this will give the Republicans all the ammunition they need to pass new laws that could put innocent protesters on government watchlists. The next thing you know, anyone who still has an Obama or Clinton sticker on their car in 2017 will get pulled over and taken in for questioning. And if you are so blinded by your outrage that you can’t see what will come after that, then you are no comrade of mine.
I believe in America. I believe it can still be saved. I believe it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better, but I believe it can be saved. It takes a certain kind of magic to make miracles happen; it requires us to stand strong when we’re afraid, to maintain order in the midst of chaos, and to treat people who are different from us with dignity – even when we hate their guts. Yes, we have the right to take to the streets and shout to the heavens and make the world understand our fear and our pain. But as soon as we resort to using fear and pain to manipulate people who think differently than ourselves, we become no better than our opposition.
Exercise your rights responsibly. It’s time for America to grow up, and it’s not just the other side that needs to do this. We have a lot of growing to do, ourselves.