On November 8th, most people of America stayed up late into the night, forgoing sleep as they waited for the result of the election to reveal the next President of the United States of America.
Then, some were like me, who went to bed early because I had to get up early the next day to go to school. My house was quiet as I slowly woke. Going to my laptop, I searched ‘2017 election results.’
It took a few seconds to load, then the results were before in stark clarity. I stood frozen, was overcome with confusion as to how Donald Trump could win the presidency when so many people were against him. Closing my laptop, I went about getting ready for school.
The atmosphere at school changed overnight, it felt akin to grieving someone’s death. The emotions of more than half the students and staff heightened to a palpable despondency throughout the halls. Each class I went to had something to say about Trump becoming America’s next president, and it wasn’t positive.
Something I found extremely interesting was the students in my class who were adamant supporters of Trump had nothing to say in response to the election’s result or how upset the majority of the school felt. They were silent.
My school saw how distraught most students were about the outcome of the election, and they decided to take action to try to make us feel safe in their environment. There was a grade 9-12 open discussion held in the library on the election of President Trump.
The library was packed as everyone tried to listen to each other’s fears and thoughts about the situation. Comments were expressed and responses were made.
One student stood up to explain the reason he was wearing a safety pin on his jacket. He explained how the safety pin invites people to talk to him about the election and how they are feeling about the results.
However, before he said that, he started out by saying he doesn’t care that Donald Trump is a racist, and I couldn’t help translating it as he doesn’t care because the issue doesn’t affect his life.
How can I feel safe talking about my problems about the President with a person who doesn’t get the fact that racism is a terrible thing? Racism is a deep-rooted hate, stemming from years of injustice done unto blacks by white oppressors, and make no mistake, racism is still happening today.
We can’t stay on the sidelines or let things slide. Desmond Tutu, a South African social rights activist said it best when he said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressors”
Along with the open discussion in the library, my school also decided to make a board for anyone interested in voicing their opinion, the categories were:
I will… “stand for and defend the Constitution”
I fear… “that anger and hate will prevail, and that horrifying promises are kept”
I hope… “we will ll come together and work for a better future”
We share… “the responsibility to stand up for for what is right”
The board has an anonymity to it, and when people’s identity is protected, it gives them the freedom to be truthful about their fears without being judged, along with making a personal promise themselves to keep for the future years.
This felt comforting to me, but in the end, I wondered what good it really did. How do we move forward into the light from the shadows of our anonymously voiced fears?
Presidents have always been role models for children, and children are essentially the future of the world. They look up to people in positions of power so they can aspire to be like them. The message Donald Trump puts out to the media is going to be the example kids follow.
The tragedy here is that in his role as a role model, Trump has repeatedly disrespected women, and insulted people who he feels have him disrespected him.
Trump has been able to get away with a lot of questionable activities because of his birthright, as a white male born into vast wealth. Trump’s weapon is his money, people are scared as to what it is he can do with his wealth and power that can affect them in a negative way.
Trump has never known the struggle for money; minorities have difficulty relating to him as to what it is he can possibly do to help them since they share not one speck of common ground.
Along with those disadvantaged minorities in America are the even more disadvantaged immigrants. America has always been a melting pot for people from different countries to put down roots in order to create a better life, but what happens now?
There is a quote on my wall by Jimi Hendrix that says “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” We seem to be walking further away from life in a world that will know peace with every step we, as a nation, take.
It is one more day into Trump’s presidency, and where are we now? It feels like a very long way from home.