Different political opinions are “I like this tax plan, you like that one,” not voting for a misogynistic racist literally endorsed by the KKK.
Last fall, when I was still a college student writing for The Odyssey Online, I wrote an article called “Why We Need to Retire the ‘Every Opinion is Valid’ Argument.” In that article, I discussed how certain prejudiced or problematic views such as racism and homophobia needed to stop being treated as “opinions,” and start being treated as the horrid ideologies they were. In light of the recent presidential election, I can’t think of a more relevant time than to bring that article up again.
As I stated in my original piece (published September 2, 2015):
“I write to you today, dear readers, to officially call B.S. on the age-old ‘every opinion is valid’ argument. Yes, this is America, First Amendment rights and all that, and people should certainly respect each other on a variety of things, but the ‘every opinion is valid’ argument has evolved to defend views that are backwards, prejudiced, and outdated. It has become a get-out-of-jail free pass for conservatives… It has become our way of coddling people with problematic views, when what they really need is a reality check. On certain social issues, there is a difference between right and wrong, between acceptance and hatred, between tolerance and bigotry.
News flash: not all opinions ARE valid, nor are they all worthy of respect. There are people in the world that legitimately believe in white supremacy, or cutting off aid for the poor, or that all LGBTQ+ folk should burn in hell. There are people who don’t believe in political correctness, use racial slurs, misgender trans* individuals, and vote for Donald Trump. Those opinions are WRONG, and do not deserve any sort of respect.”
Ironically, I listed voting for Donald Trump as one of the inexcusable views in an article written 14 months before the presidential election even took place. I recall throwing that line in as a joke- at the time, Trump was still considered a national punchline, and the idea of anyone voting for him was ludicrous. I never imagined him actually being on the ballot, let alone sitting on my landlady’s couch in horror last Tuesday, watching him win the electoral vote.
Since then, the national outrage has been overwhelming, and rightfully so. This was not a normal election, and he is not a normal president. My fellow Hillary supporters are not taking to the streets because our candidate lost- we are speaking up against injustice of the highest malevolence. We are speaking up because this was an election in which there was a clear dividing line between right and wrong; and anyone who supported Trump is unquestionably in that wrong. Why? Because Donald Trump ran a campaign of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. He has openly announced his intentions to deport Mexican immigrants, require Muslims to register (where was the last time someone required a specific religion to register? Oh, right, THE THIRD REICH), punish women for abortions, and has openly bragged about sexual assault. He is endorsed by the KKK.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence isn’t much better. Among other things, Pence is an avid supporter of electroshock therapy for LGBTQ+ youth; or the belief that you can literally submit a non-heterosexual child to electric shock until they’re straight.
I could go on, but I think the tweets below say it better:
In other words, your vote for Donald Trump was more than just a vote, and your support for what he stands for isn’t just an “opinion,” let alone one that needs to respected. At worst, you voted for him BECAUSE of his racist, sexist, and xenophobic policies. At best, you decided that you were going to disregard them; in turn disregarding everyone who isn’t a straight white able-bodied male. That is not an opinion, that is a fact that you chose to ignore because you didn’t believe the lives of women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ folk, or the disabled community mattered.
Your “opinion” is not valid if you’re just being a bigot. I do not respect your opinion, because your opinion does not respect somebody else.