The Hate We Give: A Defense of the Misguided

by Hassaan Qaiser, April 17, 2021

Trumps’ presidency has finally come to an end. As we look forward to the new policies Biden will introduce in 2021, it’s important to reflect on the state of the country as it is. Trump was very open during his term and never held back on his beliefs. Ever since the capital attack on January 6th, the hate for Trump supporters has only grown and enraged other liberal-leaning parties. However, it’s important to answer the question as to whether or not the hate some of these Trump supporters receive is justified?

In 2016, Trump had just under 63 million votes (“2016 Election Results”). While in 2020, he had increased his voter base to  over 74 million (Lindsay). Thirteen million more people had decided that Trump was worth their vote and should continue his presidency into a second term, but were these people always conservative? Conservative groups have been on the rise ever since 2016, and more people find themselves lost in conspiracy theories (Page). Groups such as QAnon continue to mislead countless Americans as to what liberals and the Democratic Party actually do.

There have been many stories about family members reading articles online, becoming infatuated with and lost in conspiracy theories. When they try to reach out to their family members, they are ultimately cast out, because what they believe is unrealistic. An uncle, a distant cousin, a grandmother can fall victim to many of these ideas and find themselves voting for Trump based on the “legitimate” articles they read. Ultimately, I believe that many Trump supporters are just unsatisfied with the position that their life is in. These conspiracy theory blogs and articles give hope to people struggling with their lives that they matter and they have a greater purpose. This is especially prevalent among Trump supporters because they are very passionate about their beliefs. Despite this, these people have only been inspired with false passion because they want to believe they can actually control something in their lives. It’s almost a form of acceptable brainwashing.

Asides from the shame and humility, the people exposed to these groups are in greater danger than they think. The first step to getting indoctrinated into these ideas is social media, but eventually they evolve into protests. It won’t be surprising if these misguided Americans get together to host another capital attack for the sake of another conspiracy posted online. The worst case for these supporters is when they encounter something they cannot get back from, as is the case of Rosanne Boyland, a Trump supporter in the capitol riots that was trampled to death. Many liberal-leaning parties are quick to make jokes about the sign “Don’t Tread On Me” she was carrying, while the conservatives hold her up as a martyr, but that’s not who she was (“Woman Trampled in Capitol Riots Had ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ Flag”). Ms. Boyland was a wife, a sister in law, a daughter, and a sibling. Her family “begged her not to go”, but the conspiracy she found online was enough to grip her soul (Thanawala). What she thought was right, was merely misinformation: an idea that she needed to hear to make sense of the world. As the new generation of parents, teachers, and academics, we need to make sure people like Ms.Boyland are not alone, spending time with them, making sure they don’t find themselves looking for meaning on the dark corners of the internet. If we don’t, it’s only a matter of time before they fall even deeper into the sea of lies.


Works Cited

“2016 Election Results: President Live Map by State, Real-Time Voting Updates.” Election Hub, POLITICO, 13 Dec. 2016, 1:57 PM, www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president/.

Lindsay, James M. “The 2020 Election by the Numbers.” Council on Foreign Relations, 15 Dec. 2020, 5:00 PM, www.cfr.org/blog/2020-election-numbers.

Page, Clarence. “Column: The Rise of QAnon Isn’t Surprising. Americans Have Long Been Sucked into Conspiracy Theories.” Chicago Tribune, 20 Oct. 2020, www.chicagotribune.com/columns/clarence-page/ct-column-qanon-trump-pizzagate-page-20201020-vsthh5uotfdyno2x44t5otvvgq-story.html.

Thanawala, Sudhin, et al. “Rosanne Boyland, Trump Supporter Who Died, Followed QAnon Conspiracy, Family Says.” USA Today, 13 Jan. 2021, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/01/09/rosanne-boyland-trump-supporter-who-died-followed-qanon-family/6608289002/.

“Woman Trampled in Capitol Riots Had ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ Flag.” Opera News, www.dailyadvent.com/news/08e870a26375c58cdebe405a58e917d5-Woman-trampled-in-Capitol-riots-had-dont-tread-on-me-flag.