I had trouble sleeping last night. My dreams were plagued with visions of the dystopia that the world would potentially become if Trump became president.
Of course, I didn’t really believe it would happen. I had more faith in the human race than that, and I (possibly naively) stand by the old belief that love and reason will always find a way to win out over hatred and fear.
Still, as soon as I woke up, I rushed to my laptop, flung it open, and swallowed down the news with greedy eyes.
Trump had won.
I was stunned. I didn’t understand. Right up until the last moment, I hadn’t even entertained it as a possibility. I mean, yes, there were always people who supported his hate-filled speech, his lack of understanding of the world and the people in it, his outright cruelty at times, but still, I figured that they were a minority. I couldn’t imagine that an entire country would succumb to him. I couldn’t imagine that hatred would win out.
So that left me with one burning, terrible question in mind: how was there so much hate in the world?
Because, no, Hilary wasn’t a perfect solution. She was a flawed candidate, and I understand that, but you cannot tell me that she was ever as bad as Trump. She never outwardly mocked people with disabilities. She never joked about and normalized the sexual harassment and objectification of women. She never promoted the intentional harm of people of colour to the point that she received support from the KKK. A vote for her would not have been a vote for hatred – it would have been a vote for the protection of marginalized people. People who are now in danger. People who now have to worry about their president robbing them of their rights.
So why wouldn’t she receive the majority vote? Why did so many American people hate their fellow man (and woman)?
The question threatened to crush my optimistic view of humanity for a good hour or so, until I took some time to think (and, admittedly, a yoga break), and I came to a conclusion: what emotion accompanies hatred more than fear?
I’ve heard a lot of people compare Donald Trump to Hitler, but it truly is much more apt than I ever realized before. After all, the German people turned to Hitler because they were impoverished and afraid, and that is exactly what the American people are doing now with Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter if what he says is logical. It doesn’t matter if what he says is good or kind. All that matters is that he’s promising change, and so long as that’s the case, then what does it matter what kind of change it is?
But the thing is, Hitler didn’t make things any better for the German people. He only made things worse.
So as much as I can’t agree with America’s decision to elect Trump, I can’t hate people for being afraid. I can’t tell them that their fear is wrong either, because fear is an emotion, and all emotions come from somewhere. But I can say that what the American people need right now is not more fear, handed down through the fat, greedy mouth of Donald Trump. What they need right now is to confront their fear. They need education, because “the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” (H.P. Lovecraft). They need love and compassion. Because, yesterday, fear won. Yesterday, fear took good people and made them do a stupid thing. But fear doesn’t have to keep winning. Regardless of the results of this election, I still believe that people are essentially good, and that we are all just trying to do our best in a really confusing world. And sometimes, along the way, we make mistakes, but we can learn from them. We can do better. We can overcome fear.
So instead of asking why is there so much hate in this world, I say that we ask why is there so much fear? We come up with an answer and we try to fight that fear, because with love, compassion, and education, it is possible.