If you have any sort of social media platform, it is likely that you have come across a post which expresses something along the lines of “regardless of who wins, the sun will rise again” or “regardless of politics, let’s all agree to be kind” or maybe even straight up, “your politics do not define you.”
It has been my observation that most of these posts have come from people who are pretty open about their right-wing political identities. Many of which had been sharing plenty of pro-Trump propaganda in the weeks leading up to the election, which somehow would end up on one of my timelines, regardless of how many unfollowing sprees I went on.
It got to the point where, by Nov. 3, the day of the election, I had seen so many of these posts I began to get angry but had a rather difficult time putting it into words.
I was eventually able to draw the conclusion that this sort of propaganda is very much an example of gaslighting.
It is manipulative.
The insinuation that people are intolerant for choosing to distance themselves from racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes or the like is absurd. That’s not intolerance; that is called safety.
Regardless of what others say, if you voted for Donald Trump, you contributed to the hate and violence that has been perpetuated by the Trump administration since day one. And people have every right to take issue with you because of that.
Being explicitly or implicitly dangerous in your behavior and then making posts which try to point fingers at “the other side” for deciding to remove themselves from your life is actual gaslighting.
Donald Trump has emanated hatred from his very being since before he even decided to insert himself into the realm of politics. His extremist behaviors aren’t new, nor are they isolated incidents.
When you filled in the bubble next to his name, you signed off and approved every abusive comment, action and decision he has ever made, or at the very least, you proved that it wasn’t an issue for you. You staked your claim that the human life, safety and the equality of every person is less valuable to you than whatever flamboyant and outrageous lie Trump successfully seduced you with.
As a consequence of your vote, there is a very real and extreme possibility that a large population of this country will be harmed. Those who identify with this population or understand and actively do the work to oppose this possibility are under no obligation to stroke your ego and make you feel better about your choices by maintaining a relationship with you.
If you didn’t want to feel uncomfortable, ostracize yourself from your friends or feel guilty about your decision later on, it is your responsibility to cast your votes for people who you know have the least amount of potential to do harm.
So I’m sorry if I have to be the one to break it to you, but your politics do define you. Any attempt to claim that they are not makes it clear that you are self-aware of the ways in which you contribute to an unjust society.
Either adjust your way of thinking or allow folks to remove themselves as they see fit.
Ali Kochik is a third-year English Writing major with minors in Journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies. AK908461@WCUPA.EDU