Emmett Ferguson is a freshman journalism major at MU. He is an opinion columnist who writes about student life for The Maneater.
If you don’t get what you want, work to make what you have better or work to make the change you want. There are ways to do this and ways to show your disdain. Peaceful protests, petitions, public demonstrations or writing an angry article on The Odyssey are all OK ways of doing so and have the potential to improve your situation. But, turning to violence is never the answer. Doing so will only delegitimize the cause.
Since the election of Donald Trump, there have been several instances of blatant racism from those elated by the election. It seems that racists have become emboldened, misinterpreting that the election results mean their bigotry will be accepted. From graffiti of a swastika accompanied by “Make America White Again” to letters sent to mosques addressed to “the children of Satan,” there have been over 200 displays of hatred since the election.
The true hypocrisy of the situation is that these hateful acts are being mirrored on the left. People are trying to fight fire with fire.
In Oregon, a protest effectively turned into a senseless riot as people began breaking store windows, damaging cars, starting fires and hurling projectiles at police when told to disperse.
There was a sign held up in a protest in Washington, D.C., with bold letters that read “RAPE MELANIA.”
In California, a high school girl was hit, thrown to the ground and had both her earrings and hair pulled out for posting that she hoped Trump would win on Instagram.
A 24-year-old Bronx man was choked on the subway for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
In Connecticut, a man holding an American flag and a Trump sign was attacked by two men in the middle of the street.
A man driving in Chicago had his car scraped by another car and was then brutally beaten by a group when he pulled over. The man did say after the attack that he doesn’t believe the beating itself had to do with politics, however the bystanders and the woman that captured it on video did nothing to help the man under the reasoning that, “He voted Trump.”
I support free speech and the right to protest, but committing the same type of hateful acts that they demonize the other side for helps no one and severely delegitimizes those who are peacefully working for change. If you are against hateful ideologies, it does no good to subscribe to one yourself.
Obviously, this election is scary for a lot of people. Some people may have attacked others because they are scared and don’t know what else to do. However, people who have resorted to violence are cowards. Feigning under the guise of fighting others’ bigotry, they refuse to recognize their own. True bravery is accepting what happened and working to make it better without sinking down to the level of what you oppose. If taking an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, then America is fumbling in the dark.
I’m sure that most Trump supporters don’t agree with the belligerent racism and hate crimes happening right now, just like I’m sure most of those against Trump don’t agree with the violent attacks happening on their side of the political spectrum. If you want change, then work for it. As soon as violence becomes a part of the equation, you lose all credibility, respectability and influence. A group of like-minded people with a shared goal can make a lot happen and bring about a lot of good, but no one can bring good by doing bad.