When the United States elected Donald Trump to be its next president, much of the nation collectively grieved as the bitter taste of reality set in. After eight years of hope and change, enough of the electorate chose fear and hate for a sweet victory. The truth about America was made clear on November 8. The U.S. is not a country of freedom and love, but a deeply divided nation struggling through an identity crisis.
Things will greatly change over the next four years, but the power of dissent will live on. And it is imperative that the new generation of progressive voters become actively involved in politics. College students and recent graduates across the nation may be dismayed at the Republican’s victory, but our power is in our knowledge and dedication to making the United States into a better country for all. And regardless of the field in which one establishes a career, there are options at every corner for change.
But yelling about what went wrong in 2016 will do next to nothing. Trump’s opponent in 2020 must not be from the Democratic establishment. In 2004, no one thought that a man named Barack Obama was the answer to defeat the incumbent Republican party. But then the fresh newcomer burst onto the scene and changed the world. Eight years later, it is clear that the Democrats failed to produce a nominee that aroused great enthusiasm.
It’s time to get to work and find someone who will win. And young progressives- particularly young women and people of color- would do the world of government and politics a tremendous service by participating in politics for the foreseeable future.
But voting against Trump is not the only way to help ensure he’s run out of office in four years. Our work in creating a liberal government truly only ends at the voting poll where months of hard work cumulate in a victory. Casting a ballot is certainly key, but there’s so much more all progressives can do to make this movement surge for years to come. Whether it is volunteering for your favorite candidate’s campaign, joining organizations you are passionate about, or something else entirely it is quite possible to make a difference.
A common misconception is that you have to work in politics to change the world with your voice and ideas. But, anyone can do so in their jobs. Change doesn’t start at government. It starts with us, the everyday people. And today’s millennials are better poised to accomplish this more so than anyone else.
As we all go into our careers, our personal identities and opinions come with us. The future teachers of the world can help their students by teaching them proper ways to treat one another. We can also teach them a more thorough explanation of the way government works so that they can make informed decisions on who should lead. Our generation’s lawyers can defend our rights and advocate for a more just legal system. We can personally advocate for extended rights for LGBTQ groups, minorities and more. And it is also imperative we continue to combat climate change, even if our executive branch refuses to recognize its existence.
Many pushed for Trump to be given a fair shot at being Commander-in-Chief once he was elected, and the peaceful transfer of power is indeed necessary to sustain a democracy.
However, it is clear that no good will come from this next administration. Trump’s cabinet nominations are concerning.
Jeff Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General, was deemed too racist to be a judge. Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos has been against public schools for her entire career in education, and if implement nationally, her ideas will be detrimental to families everywhere.
And Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, only adds to concerns about the relationship the president-elect will establish with Russia as well. Tillerson was given the Russian Order of Friendship, and has multiple connections to the Kremlin in his past.
Every choice Trump has made for his cabinet from top to bottom has been troublesome. And the concerns about his impending presidency only begin there.
At best, we can hope for four years of traditional Republican policies that favor the rich and give little to common folk. At worst, our freedoms will be diminished to a point where we are no longer allowed to fairly criticize the government without fear of reparations at all levels. The erosion of our democracy may not be obvious, but that is why we must pay close attention to everything Trump’s administration does over the next four years. People may laugh at the popular #NotMyPresident campaign, but it is a way to express discontent with the country we live in. Trump may tweet about how anyone who slightly criticizes him is a loser, but he cannot take away the fact that we have a freedom in each of our unique voices.
We cannot let this opportunity to rise up go to waste and we must get started as soon as possible if we want his presidency to be one term.
Millennials are far too often pushed to the side, but as more of us graduate college and go out into the world with fresh minds and ideas we have the chance to change the world. Together, we can work to ensure that the United States becomes a better place for all to inhabit. Our progressive mission will take time to reach its full potential, but it all starts right now with every single one of us. Each voice in this journey is key and the time for refraining from discussing politics is long gone.
Our generation will prove what it is really made out of in the next four years. And when we win in the end the hard work will all be worth it.