Humanity trumps cruelty

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I don’t talk politics, but I do talk decency and respect.

I, an 18-year-old student journalist, was spat on yesterday at a Donald Trump rally in my hometown.

What happened didn’t register immediately.

The republican frontrunner had drawn out an overwhelming crowd, and I was interviewing as many students as I could find.

While the crowd chattered, my mind was preoccupied with live-tweeting and checking my recordings. Things seemed normal as I stood close to the crowd with my phone.

All of a sudden, droplets hit my arms and face. Engrossed in tweeting, I didn’t look up for a few seconds as the moisture seeped in.

When I lifted my head, several people donning red, white and blue were glaring at me.

The proximity was too close for comfort.
 It may have been more than 70 degrees outside, but a chill traveled down my spine.

In everything I do, I try to assume the best in people. I looked around to see if there was a water bottle or anything that could have splashed me accidentally.

I couldn’t find one, and they stared at me until I darted away.

After talking it out with coworkers and my adviser, I find no other explanation to what happened than an attack on human dignity.

I am a journalist, and I am not a liar like Trump often brands “the media” to be.

I am an Asian-American, and I have as much right to be there as the next citizen.

But more importantly, I am a human, just like Trump, his supporters or his protestors.

I’ll never know what exactly the motive of this incident was, but my job or race shouldn’t even be a factor. As a human, I shouldn’t have to consider these things in why I’m treated the way I am.

Yet hundreds, thousands and millions of minorities have worry in the back of their mind. For the first time, I’m finding myself extremely self-conscious in a town where I’ve lived comfortably for eight years.

Standing off to the side like a fly on the wall, I soaked in my surroundings like a sponge.

Democrat Bernie Sanders’ supporters on the side of the street yelled, “Uneducated queer!” and expletives until they turned red in the face. Mothers held their children with one hand while flipping off Trump supporters with the other.

It’s always been clear to me that there are mean people in our country, because I see them on television.

However, it never occurred to me they could be my neighbors, my classmates or the people behind me at the McDonald’s drive-thru ordering a happy meal.

There was a coldness and cruelty so condensed in one place yesterday that it was almost suffocating.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t hurt by the spit. Right after I tweeted and let my adviser know what happened, an influx of comments and shares overwhelmed me.

Last night I was whisked to a TV station to talk about my experience, but I really didn’t have time to actually reflect.

When you’re individually violated, it hurts. On a much greater scale, what pains me is that I am but a small victim of a national problem.

Don’t get me wrong. There were many respectful Trump supporters and protesters at the rally.

But the undignified behavior exists and cannot be ignored. No amount of this assault on humanity is acceptable, because it inflicts pain without solving anything.

We are all humans, capable of empathy and understanding. To communicate, we don’t need to curse and insult and spit to show disagreement.

I am equal to the person standing next to me, and after my experience, I will always take caution to be kind, no matter the issue.

I plead with you — don’t be part of the hostility.

You’re better than that.

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