Election season rages on, and at times it seems there will be no end. Tensions are rising, and drama that was once entertaining is becoming worrisome. Advocates for each of the leading candidates are becoming more and more fervent in their support, and people with opposing viewpoints find themselves constantly under fire. In this stressful and difficult time, it is crucial to remember that every individual has the right to support the candidate he or she prefers—and that nobody has the right to degrade or attack another for doing so.
Throughout this race, each presidential candidate and his or her respective fans have faced a varying level of degradation from supporters of other candidates. Hillary Clinton has received a large amount of condemnation stemming from her email controversy, accompanied and fermented by both subtle and overt sexism. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders supporters have combatted claims of their choice candidate being a socialist or a communist whose ideas are both radical and unable to be accomplished. Without a doubt, though, the most targeted and attacked presidential candidate has been Donald Trump. Each time Trump’s name is brought into a conversation, people actively show their disdain. Recently, to try to defend Trump is to be ignorant, and to support Trump is to be a monster. Liberals and conservatives alike have condemned Trump as unpresidential and unworthy of any support—yet he still leads far ahead of his Republican colleagues in the presidential race.
Here at Concordia, the issues of groupthink and intolerance are far more prevalent than one might think. A predominantly liberal campus, Concordia is basically a large bubble in which Bernie Sanders is respected as the only valid option, and to think otherwise is to be incorrect and inferior. The select few students at Concordia who do not support Sanders or Clinton, but instead a Republican candidate like Trump, are paradoxically those with the quietest voices. Republicans are stereotypically regarded as the ones who are rude and unaccepting of others’ beliefs, but on this campus, the opposite is true. At Concordia, the most severe social justice crime is not to use derogatory slurs or be unaccepting of one’s lifestyle choices—it is to support Donald Trump.
A large reason why supporters of Trump are ridiculed is because people often assume any Trump supporter must agree with everything the candidate has said. Many believe the only reason Trump leads is due to the dark side of Americans being unveiled—that now, racists and homophobes have a refuge incarnate—but there are countless reasons why a sane, non-hateful person might support Trump. Imagine your parents have immense farmland worth millions of dollars, and soon that land will be your inheritance. Currently, there is an estate tax with a maximum of 40% on inheritance in the United States, meaning if the land were worth ten million dollars, four million of that would go to the government. According to the Tax Foundation, Clinton plans to increase estate tax to 45%, and Sanders plans to increase said tax to 65%—a potentially staggering amount of money for someone receiving a large inheritance. Meanwhile, both Trump and Cruz plan to eliminate estate tax entirely. Thus, for a person who expects to receive a ten million dollar inheritance, it would essentially cost 6.5 million dollars to vote for Bernie Sanders over either Republican candidate. Placed in this position, it would be difficult to vote for anybody other than the GOP frontrunner. Along with this situation are countless other scenarios in which the only clear choice is to vote Republican, regardless of what type of person one might be.
Right now, there is an abundance of factors that divide and polarize people outside the realm of politics. Instead of adding more conflict and separation among fellow Cobbers and human beings in general, Americans should work together now to eliminate the division caused by politics. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with a person’s views, but people must find respectful ways to do so. Instead of telling a person he or she is stupid and wrong for supporting Trump, have an amiable debate of policies and beliefs. There’s no reason to unfriend a person on Facebook merely due to his or her political beliefs, and the same goes for friends in real life. If Concordia can bridge the gap between the political parties and eliminate the mistreatment of those with unpopular beliefs, then the entire country can do the same.