Differing opinions: Don’t trump the Trump supporters

A few days before traveling north for college, my uncle teased me about the imminent radicalization I was about to experience at a liberal arts institution in Maine. Although this was merely a jest, it has a speck of substance, seeing as colleges in the Northeast are drifting further and further to the left. Whenever students discuss the two candidates, they do not shy away from expressing criticism of either. Indeed, Colby is teaching us to question and challenge our own beliefs as well as others’–but they do judge Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in very different ways.

While the main fault students point out about Clinton is in her character, with Trump the trepidation is far more obtuse, as it questions not only his persona but also his policy, or lack thereof. The general consensus is that even though Hillary’s credibility is tenuous, her ability and experience is unparalleled. Meanwhile, Trump continues to approach the political stage as if it were a set of The Apprentice; he fails to embrace the mindfulness and sobriety the title, “President,” demands. His heedless discourse is telling that he either fails to see or simply does not care about the consequences, for he continues to make racist, sexist, and denigrating remarks. As a result, his unapologetic remarks transfer into his political goals, which is disturbing and terrifying, especially to those who chose a school where the values of tolerance and poise are so embedded in the academic and extracurricular foundations.

Support of a candidate such as Trump seems to oppose the affirmation Colby is cemented on. Trump is remarkable for his lack of charisma and blatant disrespect for other people’s beliefs, traditions, and cultures. He looks to ostracize anyone who does not seem American enough, even though America itself began as a community of immigrants. He rests all of his ethos on his large sums of money and numerous foundations which have proven to be only fractionally as altruistic as they are portrayed. Thus, this begs the question: how could a Colby student simultaneously uphold the Affirmation and Mr. Trump’s campaign?

Moreover, an institution of such high caliber as Colby is supposed to harbor young intellectuals who finely dissect arguments and identify fallacies and inconsistencies in logic, even when the topic is emotionally taxing. Donald Trump’s rhetoric instills fear, anger, and zeal. His words are structured in such a way that followers are drawn more emotionally than rationally, and it is difficult to see how a student from such a reputable school can be vulnerable to  such appeals.

Yet, does this incredulousness permit that we vilify Trump supporters on the Hill? Democracy is rooted in people’s right to their own opinion and everyone’s responsibility to respect others’ opinions. Perhaps the most upsetting of Mr. Trump’s qualities is his bigotry, and I agree that the neglect of other’s feelings and beliefs is unacceptable, especially for a person of such stature as the possible next President of the United States. But, being unwelcoming to students of a more conservative political standing on campus would make Trump-opposers equally bigoted as the man himself. Being kind to someone and listening to their point of view does not mean one must agree with them.

To say it simply: if a Colby student was not only accepted into this school, but also chose to come to an extremely liberal part of the country and remains resolute with their support of the Republican nominee, it is likely they have given their position quite a bit of thought.

Being able to stand on Mayflower Hill and acknowledge the fact that their candidate of choice does not coincide with the majority of campus takes courage, and likely the reasons Colby Trump-supporters have for voting red are founded on very valid reasons of which non-supporters must be mindful. Perhaps Donald Trump does not stand for respect, but that does not entitle Colby students to treat his supporters with contempt. We are trying to stop the bigotry, end the hostility, and eradicate the hatred; being offensive to Trump supporters is not only hypocritical, but, more
severely, counterproductive.