Some supporters of President Donald Trump seem to assume that we protesters are sore losers. They tell us to “get over it.”

They miss the point, however, of my protest.

I am not protesting the “ends.” The president was elected in accordance with our rules and procedures. I am protesting the “means” to this end.

This campaign season has legitimized disrespect, marginalization, and so many other behaviors that have no place in civil discourse. This is not a matter of political correctness; rather it reflects my disapproval of a manner of communication that actually destroys the possibility of real communication and understanding. We all have freedom of speech, but how we choose to use it reveals our character, both as individuals and as a nation.

These disrespectful behaviors perpetuate a narrative where the ends justify the means, and divisiveness becomes an accepted political tool. Well after the election is over, this same disrespectful rhetoric is now extended to our independent federal judiciary, one of our safeguards against executive or legislative tyranny.

I want a different narrative — one where we stop yelling slogans at each other, where we make a good-faith effort to agree on the facts, where we have a rigorous debate about policy decisions, and where we try our best to agree on the most workable solutions.

In my narrative, we are a nation of tolerant, inclusive, respectful, and thoughtful citizens. We don’t deserve to be treated as anything less.

June D. Zellers

West Gardiner

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