Disagreements over ideals are normal, but a presidential-elect with a history of over 4,000 lawsuits, 11 sexual assault claims and one Ku Klux Klan endorsement is not.

This country is as bitterly divided as ever following the recent election win of Donald Trump, despite losing the popular vote by two million.

The fact still bitterly remains that Trump is positioned to take office in two months. Between now and then, the holidays will push students away from universities and into hometowns where their political power may feel lessened.

In the wake of Trump’s unprecedented victory, politicians and journalists have called for the nation to stay united and passive. While unity in this divided time is key, it is equally important to have challenging and often uncomfortable conversations with peers.

Citizens owe it to themselves to monitor the president’s actions. An uninformed public will be susceptible to injustice and can create only reactionary responses as opposed to an organized effort before. Along those lines, pay close attention to the news you consume. A balanced diet of news that’s not directly micro-targeted to your Facebook will give readers a broader image of the news. A Buzzfeed study found that “partly or completely false news on Facebook” amount to between 19 and 38 percent of an average user’s newsfeed.

Since winning, Trump has shown himself to be the dangerously uninformed president many predicted. Steve Bannon has been appointed Trump’s chief strategist despite overwhelming criticisms about Bannon’s ties to white nationalist groups. Similarly, the white nationalist group called the Alt-right has met in Washington D.C. to heil Trump’s victory. However, this doesn’t imply that all Trump’s supporters are racist or blind to what Trump’s doing.

Respecting opposing ideas is not easy, but it must be done if we expect the country to move forward. By speaking with Trump supporters, you might learn that their support came from a notion that the candidate will bring back jobs or won’t be as monetarily influenced as the opposition. You’ll learn that Trump campaigned the hardest in rural towns that were often losing jobs to foreign competition or limited by the Clean Water, Safe Air Act. You could learn that they, like us, are scared about the future.

To better understand Trump supporters, if you don’t know any, try to see them as individuals while being prepared with information. Ask them how they came to their decision, what they hope he can accomplish. Bring up the many contradictions the president-elect has raised, in a calm and tempered manner.

As citizens of the United States our power has always been in numbers. As students in a sea of students, we can better educate one another and hear things we may otherwise just catch on the news. As Abraham Lincoln said in 1858 when our country was similarly parted: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Email at Taylor Richardson at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/taylor-richardson/" rel="tag">Taylor Richardson</a>