The last year has been a whirlwind for the United States. So much so that the very name United States seems slightly oxymoronic. However, of the many things that I have found perplexing about our country and its decisions, there is one thing that really “grinds my gears” (read: pisses me off).
It is a new adjective that has swept our nation.
“Snowflake”, a very simple, non-assuming word that once described frozen ice that falls from the sky to bring joy to adults and children alike. To many it meant snow days, snow men, or even entire cities being shut down. Now it is an adjective utilized by conservatives, far-right advocates and republicans alike. The most easily understandable definition I could find came from Urban Dictionary which basically described “snowflakes” as “overly sensitive people that don’t take criticism well”. Many people have used it, but my personal favorite is Tomi Lahren’s usage of it as a form of insult towards those who protested after Trump’s inauguration.
After hearing this word everywhere, I eventually caved on looking it up and found so many people use it to describe protestors, equality advocates, and anyone in general who reject Trump’s racist, xenophobic and unconstitutional lawmaking. They were insulted with adjectives such as “crybabies”, “privileged millennials”, and “un-American”. To be entirely serious I was absolutely appalled and furious at their words, and like many others I wondered how they couldn’t see the irony in what they were saying.
I mean they insulted these people calling them crybabies for not being able to take what was happening around them when the President they were lauding was and is being the biggest “snowflake” of them all.
He was having hissy fits over the media, the people who attended his inauguration, the people that didn’t attend his inauguration, the supporters of the Women’s March, and basically anyone that didn’t entirely agree with him. The leader of the strongest economy in the world—the strongest Democracy in the world—was worried more about Twitter than the country he was leading.
Is the situation not noxiously ironic?
I know it is, you know it is, but if you tried to explain this to a Trump supporter or anyone who utilized this insult you were fiercely smacked down and in turn called a “snowflake” for once again having a problem with something. Around this time I realized that I was a proud snowflake and here is why.
First, standing up to injustice is absolutely ok. It isn’t because your feelings are easily hurt or you are just a whiny millennial.
It is because you know the difference between right and wrong, and you are willing to stand up for it.
A couple decades from now when my children/grandchildren are studying this point in our history I want to be able to tell them that I stood for something. I want to be able to tell them that I learned the lessons from our ancestors and didn’t stand idle as injustice and unconstitutional actions were happening in the name of America.
I want to be able to stand proud as an advocate for equality and not be haunted by the things I “could’ve done”. So protest on “snowflakes,” show them that they may think that they have the legitimate power, but a democracy is made up of the people, and there is no electoral college in play after the elections.
History repeats itself and even if a majority of Americans haven’t learned the lesson yet—you have a right to epitomize that you have.
Second, there seems to be this stigma around protestors or “snowflakes”. It is one that insinuates that they don’t have responsibilities or they are all hippies who sit around blindly following the mainstream with no real work ethic or experience. I mean Tomi Lahren even insinuated that the protestors of the inauguration and the Women’s March participants were “afforded time in the middle of the work week to congregate and throw a fit”. But it is that exact ignorance that disqualifies her non-factual claims.
There were people from all walks of life lining up in front of Trump towers, marching through large cities and showing their discontent with the outcome of our elections.
There were immigrants who work seven days a week holding bilingual signs and chanting.
There were celebrities who are afforded flexibility.
There were teachers and nurses who voluntarily took time off to stand up for what they believe in.
They all took the initiative and sacrificed time and money. They had responsibilities and obligations just like the Trump supporters and advocates, but that doesn’t mean that they neglected to realize that upholding our obligations as citizens of the United States means standing up for our Constitution and OUR right to want the leader of our free world to lead judiciously and with the beliefs of the country’s majority. It was a responsibility for them. Personally this assumption is one that I feel most insulted with because as a student I work multiple jobs and still find the time to speak out about these issues. Just because you protest doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibilities. It just means you prioritized and your responsibility to your country took precedence.
Finally, the idea of “snowflakes” being “crybabies” or “throwing fits” is derogatory and a completely obsolete way of those who utilize the word as an insult to look down their noses at you for not believing in what they believe and for that I will always have a rebuttal.
Would you call Martin Luther King Jr. a “snowflake”?
What about Harriet Tubman?
Kasturba and Mahatma Gandhi?
Would you call anyone who speaks out for what they believe in a “snowflake”?
I’d call them heroes.
I’d call them brave.
And even if the beliefs they were holding strong to and demonstrating for weren’t what I believe I would never justify my feelings by insulting them.
Granted, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t oppose them both silently and vocally. It simply means that I am not going to antagonize them. I am not going to demonize them. I am going to stand up for what I believe in because that is my right as an American. If they choose to stand up for their beliefs then do it, but don’t insult those who chose to when you didn’t.
This all leads to one simple thing, embracing their insults. That is why I am a “snowflake” and I am proud. If the past two week is any indication, a lot of people are “snowflakes” and I predict a blizzard is coming.