By the time you read this, I hope we have determined a winner of the 2020 presidential election. What a crazy time to be a 21-year-old college student voting in a presidential election for the first time. Whether you are involved in politics or not, you are surely feeling tension from how the events of the election unfolded.
For me, the effects of the election linger far beyond the moment the winner of the presidential race is announced. With all that is happening, we are all understandably focused on the outcome of the election and overlook what might become of the country aftwards. I have not stopped thinking about what may follow the long awaited announcement of the 2020 elect for president of the United States.
You see, some of us will be angered by the results of the election, and some of us will be filled with relief. No matter which way the votes turn out, someone will be angry and feel the need to act on those feelings in some way. Do you see where I am going with this yet?
That's right, I am talking about the anticipated riots that may follow the results of the election. Whatever your political opinion is, you can’t deny both sides are capable of participating in violent protesting. You may even be considering participating in such protests yourself. Trust me, I get it, but you need to hear me out.
I have experienced watching my boyfriend flinch every time he gets a phone call over the past few days. He knows exactly what is coming, and unfortunately, so do I. He is a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and spent several weeks between Boston and Brockton last time riots broke out just a few months ago. He knows he will be called to return in the coming days after the election. Now, before you stop reading and tell me how it is his choice to be in the Air National Guard and how he is a bad person for being on the other side of the protestors, hear this:
Being in the National Guard does not display one’s political opinions, and they are not against what the protestors stand for.
In fact, many of those serving in the National Guard most likely support the beliefs of protestors despite their desire to take out their anger and become violent with them. In most cases, they are not the bad guys. They are just doing their jobs and trying to keep away the violence. I know some Guardsmen step over the line and there is no excuse for that. However, I’m asking you to believe me when I say that most of them just want to keep peace and even be on the other side with the protestors, standing up for what they believe in without violence.
There is no reason for us to take out anger on the National Guard when most often they are offering support to law enforcement and have no desire to cause harm or fear to anyone. They are people just like you and their loved ones are worried sick about them. They did not decide the results of the election and they just want to return home to their loved ones. My whole perspective on protesting changed when I met my boyfriend and had to experience the fear associated with him being at violent riots. So, all I ask of you is to think about those trying to keep the peace that aren’t permitted to display their political opinions during protests.