Opinion: Stop waiting until the last minute to have important conversations

People flooded social media the week of the election, cutting ties with people who voted for the opposing side. (@salty_ashley on Twitter)

Ciara Pate

On Election Day and the four days before the announcement of the new President-Elect Joe Biden and his counterpart Kamala Harris, social media was abuzz with discussions of the vote. 

Despite people taking advantage of early voting and mail-in ballots in October, this feud didn’t seem to begin until the official election day, Nov. 3. Statements such as “if you voted for Trump, unfollow me,” or “if you voted for Biden, unfollow me,” filled my social media feeds for a five-day span. 

Being part of a liberal community, I saw plenty of people shaming those who voted for Trump all over their social media feeds. Nearly all these people were justifying their actions of cutting these people off by saying that a vote for Trump and what he stands for is a vote against people of color, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, etc. As a Black, queer woman I can absolutely see where they are coming from. The way Trump feels about all these groups of people is obvious. 

In response to many Biden voters cutting off those who voted for Trump, many Trump supporters retaliated in a similar way. Some of them said that “to be civil” and to “maintain relationships and friendships,” they would part ways with aggravated Biden voters. They claimed Biden voters were being unreasonable, overreacting, and could not understand opposing beliefs. 

Some posts online veered into the violent and extreme. Someone had made a post on Facebook that stated, “The idiots that voted for Biden hated Trump enough to throw the country away. Thank the lying liberals and democrat’s news media.” Scott Walden, police captain for Alabama’s Flomaton Police Department, responded in a comment that, “they need to line up every one of them and put a bullet in their skull for treason.” (WKRG)

His extreme comment made national news because of his strong language. Walden has since resigned from his position, but his words are still concerning. If he is so willing to be open and use such strong language on Facebook, who knows what else he might think or what those around him think. Over 70 million people voted for Trump this election, surpassing the 63 million who voted for him in 2016. This shows that there are many people that support him and his policies enough to look past the numerous offenses against minorities he has committed. 

Just as it is important to understand that people think and feel differently, it is also important to address that, as a person, Trump isn’t good. Those who voted for him are looking past his questionable morals and purely focusing on what they believe will affect them more directly. So, those who may not feel or experience discrimination based on their skin tone, sex, sexuality or religion may not see or completely understand where anti-Trump voters are coming from. 

What I cannot wrap my mind around is why people waited until Election Day to address this directly. From what I saw, many of the people who posted this kind of content on their social media had not really addressed this idea as strongly, if at all, beforehand. Having this conversation with the people around you and the people that you associate with is important, but when it is Election Day or afterwards, it is too late. This is something that should have been addressed months prior. When the conversation is happening this late, there is no chance to reason with or change people’s minds. 

With so many people still in such strong support of Trump, it’s vital to have conversations about people’s values not just during the week of the election, but throughout the year. 

For me, I don’t cut off many Trump supporters from my social media simply because they voted for him. Rather, I cut off those who may be against minority groups, whether they voted for Trump or not. 

I am open about what I support, who I support and who I am. If anyone continues to follow my social media, they must not mind seeing what I have to say and how I feel. I know there are not many people I associate with who support Trump, but those who are still in my life that do support some of his policies are willing to have a conversation about their opinions. 

These are conversations I try to have frequently because it is important to know that the people in my life who support him see that Trump is against my livelihood. I am more concerned that they are willing to have a conversation and keep an open mind. I can see that Trump’s ideology and actions show that he is against me and many that I love. It is crucial that anyone who supports him can see it as well.

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