Do you know what’s horrifying? Hatred. Do you know what’s even more horrifying? The magnitude at which it can be spread in 2016. Whether you support Trump, Hillary, or any other candidate…this should alarm you.
Warning: This article contains images portraying posts of vicious language and negativity, hate language, sexist language, nudity, etc. If this makes you uncomfortable please do not read this post.
First and foremost: This is not a blog on politics. It is a blog on morality. 2016 is going to go down, I am certain, as the most controversial and ridiculous election in the history of the United States. From the abundance of candidates to the accomplishments (and fallbacks) of nominees, all eyes have been turned towards North America as each day passes by.
Today I saw two topics trending on Facebook: the appearance of several statues portraying a nude Donald Trump having been placed throughout several cities, and the treatment of Ivanka Trump by Lady Grey, a jewelry company whom she purchased from and then responded with a post on social media: Dear Ivanka Trump… #thanksbutnothanks
It was while reading these stories that I felt myself physically cringe, not only at the actual articles but people’s reactions to them in the comments below each post. Supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump essentially at war, bickering and cursing and belittling each other for their beliefs, threatening each other in a variety of ways.
Is this what we have become? Is this what the 2016 election has done to us? No, it is not. This is not a newfound disease spreading throughout the nation — it is a darker side to all of us that we have always known, but never had a reason to highlight until now. It is a truth we like to overlook out of guilt or shame or fear of judgment: a problem we cannot solve.
Let’s tackle the first story: The Donald Trump statues.
If Donald Trump was a woman say, if he were Hillary in fact! — and nude, unflattering statues were to appear across the country as a form of protest, people would be upset. It would be a disgusting violation of someone’s body. It’s like photoshopping your ex’s head onto another woman’s nudes and sharing it on Facebook to watch her squirm. People would be upset! And people are upset. But not everyone.
Morally, this is wrong. But there are people laughing and pointing at the statue’s genitals, taking selfies with it, articles and photos being taken and posted online that will never be completely erased. Why? Because people disagree with him.
Now, the next story: Lady Grey jewelry vs. Ivanka Trump.
Ivanka purchased a piece of jewelry from Lady Grey, who responded immediately with a passive-aggressive handwritten note that said money from her purchase would go on to fund campaigns her father was generally against: Everytown, American Immigration Council, and Hillary Clinton. Then they posted it on Instagram.
As you can imagine, the viral post brought a ton of attention to the company — and its owners. In the comments below the post, many people expressed their disgust. Even those who did not support Trump argued that this was no way to treat a paying customer and that it was unprofessional.
Personally? I agree with that statement. Rather than publicizing the fact, I (if I were in the owners’ places) would have sat back and smiled, proud of my silent victory. But because they chose to flaunt it, they would legally have to give Ivanka her money back if she so demanded it. And then what? Their causes would go without the money they had just been given, so it shouldn’t be worth the risk, right?
It’s for this reason that people are calling it more of a publicity stunt than anything. I don’t think that’s true, though. I think they’re just oversharing their pride in what they consider to be a ‘win’ against Trump’s campaign. They feel a lot of people are on their side, and there are! But they’ve also left themselves vulnerable to criticism.
Now I wish I could leave that story there and move on, but I can’t. Because in response to the Lady Grey post, even more hate has bubbled up. People are aggressively giving the business 1 star, there are people sharing links to the owners’ personal facebooks, posting negative comments on EVERY post on the Facebook account. People are aggressively calling for the entire company to go out of business!
In addition to that, another company by the name of Madyha Farooqui Jewelry made a post praising Grey Lady — and now they’re facing the same backlash!
So, what should have been done instead? Many people have many opinions, and it all roughly goes back to the idea of ‘free speech.’ These companies made public, easily-accessible and shareable posts on sensitive topics and as a result, will face all of the consequences — good and bad. That is the double-edged sword of free speech!
My problem with this debacle — and with all similar situations, politically related are not, is the fact that this sort of ‘free speech’ is even thought of in the first place.
Why do we so viciously hate what we do not agree with or do not understand? It’s really distressing to me to think that a large group of people would rally together to try and ruin the lives of others who share a differing opinion. Part of it is due to the fact that there’s a level of anonyminity online, I’m sure, as well as the encouragement of â€˜mob mentality.’ But why, why do we waste time hating others when there is so much more in the world to worry about?
We all have debts. We all have social circles. Financial responsibilities. Illnesses. Anxieties. Hopes and dreams and fears and tears to shed and friends to gain and lose — why must we add to that hefty burden the inclination to hate others? What is the point? Who has hurt you so deeply that you must go out of your way to write cruel comments or find personal phone numbers to harass or leave untrue reviews for on Yelp in order to feel like you’ve regained control of a situation that isn’t yours?
I want to say this to everyone: whether you support Hillary or Trump or Jill Stein or Harambe or whatever, it doesn’t matter! We are all human. We are all the same species, no matter how different we look. We all deserve to be treated with respect and to be tolerated if not agreed with. Hate will only breed hate, and then there’s no room for anyone to claim they have the moral high ground — or even boast you have it solely for the attention you secretly desire.
You don’t need to actively ruin someone’s life to make your point. I understand that people are upset and angry and frightened, but that doesn’t mean we need to act like this — especially when the whole world is watching. Please aim to set a better example for those around you and do not engage in such destructive behavior. Channel this song instead.