Yes, I voted for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the April Democratic New York primary and Secretary Clinton in the general election, and yes, I am opposed to President Trump‘s divisive rhetoric. Still, I attended the inauguration and am very proud of being a part of my country’s tradition. Witnessing the inaugural parade was an unforgettable moment and very historical, whether historically good or bad.
Fortunately, I encountered Trump supporters at the inauguration from South Carolina, Kansas, Oregon, New Jersey, Israel, etc., which allowed me to humanize them and not label them as “deplorables.” I’ve realized that you can’t understand why people vote a certain way without asking them, and certainly not generalize a certain group of people because they offend you at the voting booth.
While I still sense that some of his supporters believe in questionable things, these supporters with whom I spoke have shown that they are ordinary Americans who want a viable country. They and I just thought of different solutions to our national problems. These supporters even welcomed me amicably after I boasted about not voting for President Trump but that I was still excited to be at the inauguration.
Of course, running into a protestor at the inauguration was inevitable. While at the parade, a protestor held a “Not my President” sign and expressed disdain for the other attendees. While she has the right to show her opposition to our new president, the lesson learned from this encounter is that name calling won’t rectify our pressing issues.
Where does the country move towards from here? President Trump has immense uniting among many Americans to pursue if he wants to be supported and re-elected in four years. People must welcome a diversity of opinions and listen to both sides of the political spectrum, in order to perceive the two different Americas that coexist. People must organize, improve their own communities, and participate in elections at the local levels. People must continue to exercise their right to protest, but refrain from engaging in anarchy and destroying private property, which are counterproductive to achieving a greater good and a more equitable society. We are stronger together.
The writer is a Hospitality and Tourism Management major at SJC Brooklyn.