As a registered Independent and as a student of Political Science, I have always tried to play an observatory role in the political scene. I have always tried to understand both sides of every argument and understand elections as reflections of society.
Donald Trump tapped into my fears as a woman and I, without a doubt, understand how his rhetoric has been both threatening and alarming. Hillary played into my fears as well- specifically my fears of politicians that seem to do anything and say anything to get into the next highest office. I could expand on why each of these candidates were flawed but in order to sustain democracy, we need to focus on the next step.
It is incredibly important to understand how and why this happened. There is deep pain in this country and this pain led people to the polls.
The aftermath of this election was not going to be pretty, regardless of the winner. Nobody likes to lose and with passion and tensions as high as they are in this country, lash-out was inevitable. Angry people are angry people and there have always been, and always will be people who don’t truly emulate the ideals on which this country was founded upon, and sadly that is a reality we must face.
I am not saying to accept people who are using any specific candidate to validate their racist and homophobic views. Instead take this election and this outcome as an opportunity to keep fighting for your ideals and America’s core values.
Take this moment to educate our peers on the current situation of all people in this country, regardless of political affiliation. Learn about the people who are nothing like you if you truly want to understand how this election happened. Learn about the people of rural West Virginia who haven’t had jobs in decades and simply believed that Trump was the person who as going to fix that.
These are not people who hate anyone, they are just people who are trying to survive a country that has let them down. Learn about the teenagers suffering racial discrimination in their high schools, who also do not hate anyone, but just want to feel accepted as the normal American teens they are. And listen to why they supported Hillary. Understanding the why and how are so important if we want to move forward.
I cannot fathom a world in which a reality TV star is the President of the United States, however the people have spoken and we cannot be ignorant to this. Democracy won here in 2016. It may not have been the Democracy you wished to see but advocating against Democracy and the President- Elect will only make this transition more painful. Share your views with your peers, listen to them, understand them. Volunteer for an organization you believe in and never stop fighting for your ideals.
Americans have spoken out against a corrupt establishment and in true American fashion it was in an extreme and dramatic way.
Personal feelings aside, a house divided against itself cannot stand.