It’s been over a week since Trump was announced as the 45th President of the United States of America. The nation is violently divided between those who are reeling from the news and those who are celebrating. This election represents three unique groups of citizens: those who voted passionately for Trump, those who voted with conviction for Clinton, and those who stood resolutely for neither. Now that Trump has been elected president, can shaming those in support of either party be justified?

What is “Vote Shaming”?

Vote shaming: we’ve all seen it, done it, or been on the receiving end. A Trump supporter sees a pro-Clinton post on FaceBook and tears the argument to pieces; a fan of Clinton spends an hour yelling at a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, saying how despicable his choice of candidate is. Vote shaming is extremely prevalent on social media, as supporters for either party respond to posts that differ from their own opinion. Vote shaming attacks a person’s convictions in a desperate act to convey a differing opinion. The three distinct groups that define American voters are separated by this form of hostile feuding.

Passionate supporters of either Clinton or Trump make up two of the groups that greatly affected the election’s outcome. Amid all the drama of the election, there were also a staggering number of citizens who resolved to not vote. New Hampshire was the state with the greatest percentage of citizens who voted in the election, 52.4% of residents submitting ballots. Hawaii had the lowest percentage of votes, 4.6% of inhabitants represented in their votes. Some were shocked that Trump won so enormously; the real shocker is the miniscule number of participating U.S. voters.

Encouragement To Vote

The push to encourage citizens to vote was massive: Barack Obama himself, 44th President of the United States, took to social media to encourage voters to send in ballots and get to the polls. “…Get out there and make your voice heard. It’s incredibly important,” Obamerican-flagama urges viewers. “Millions of people are doing it.” Despite such attempts, the lack of enthusiasm for casting ballots was extremely evident. Some were so conflicted between which candidate would be the lesser of two evils that they decided to simply not register an opinion.

It is alarming to realize the number of U.S. voters that did not participate in electing a new president. As a citizen of the Unites States, why is it important to vote? We’ve all been reminded over and over of those who fought and died for our ability to express our opinions freely. Yet despite this well-known fact, it is shocking that when Obama was elected, the U.S. had the ninth-lowest voting rate out of 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. By choosing to not vote, Americans blatantly disrespect a right we should never take for granted.

Respecting Others and Their Vote

No one should be shamed for their political views and decisions. Respecting our fellow U.S. citizens and their decisions on election day is far more important than slamming another’s sacred political right. One person voted for Trump while another voted for Clinton: both have recognized their constitutional privilege in having a say about the leadership of this country. The right to vote is an amazing gift that each citizen has been given. Ultimately, encouraging those around us to cast a vote acknowledges the incredible freedom of speech and opinion we have as citizens of this nation. While healthy disagreements can promote deeper thought about political stances, respecting the opinions of others and their right to vote is far more imperative.