This is a runner-up in our Teens Against Trump essay contest. Read more essays from the series here.
Donald Trump has built his campaign on little more than hatred and fear. Whether against Muslims, people of color, immigrants, women, or others, his lies, deception, and mockery of entire groups of people do nothing for this country except to divide it along lines that need not exist.
At times when many are struggling, or when it seems like nothing good is ever occurring, it's common for people to look for a scapegoat -- people want a clear answer, a definitive plan to fix their situation, and because of this they are willing to put their faith in near anything. There's a lack of jobs? It's the immigrants' fault for taking them all, so they shouldn't be allowed in. There are acts of terror being committed by radical jihadists? Muslims are evil, so they should be kept away from us.
These are conclusions that those with lesser education come to, and attitudes that those ridden with fear and prejudice hold. As a leader relied upon to help this country grow and prosper, it is a politician's duty to sway people from these beliefs; it is their job to bring us together, to show every American that by fighting between ourselves we are doing little else but encouraging and helping those that want us to be brought down. It is a politician's responsibility to say, "No. Every person in this country is equal. Every person in this country deserves respect, deserves freedom, deserves what our founding fathers promised. We cannot turn against one another."
When unrest is abounding and a rapidly increasing number of people are looking to those in charge for answers to some of the hardest questions of our time, it is most definitely not a time when a politician should be agreeing to conspiracy theories or encouraging tension between people who have no reason to hate each other -- yet that is precisely what candidate Donald Trump is doing. He is getting up on stage, broadcasting his voice to millions of scared, unsure, easily swayed Americans, and he's telling them to alienate one another; he's teaching them to hate, to blame, to disrespect.
The support Trump has received makes me horrified for the future of this country, because it means that not only does Trump himself have these horrible, backward views, but millions of people have joined in his bigotry and agreed with him. A man who labels immigrant populations "rapists," who mocks the disabled, who wants to ban everyone who follows a certain religion from our supposedly "free" country, regardless of who they are -- how can he have genuine support in a nation built on the concepts of liberty and justice? And yet he does, and it terrifies me.