President-elect Donald Trump earned 290 electoral college votes to win the 2016 presidential election Tuesday night. (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
On the morning of November 7th, I began to write my thoughts about the 2016 presidential election. Throughout the day, I completed my article for The Connector. I wrote about how exciting this election was throughout the primaries. I campaigned for, donated to, and truly believed in Bernie Sanders. After Hillary Clinton was awarded the nomination, I supported her. Although I was unable to vote for my candidate of choice, this was the first time that I was able to cast a ballot for the president of the United States of America. I was excited to be a part of the nation’s future.
However, after the results of the election on November 8th, I erased my entire article. My view on my first presidential election had changed drastically. This reality was not exciting. Knowing the words “president” and “Donald Trump” would finally go together complimentary, stunned me.
It had never occurred to me that Donald Trump could actually become president. I did not even consider a Trump presidency actually possible until roughly 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. All of my worries seemed to sit aside based off of the notion that America would elect Hillary Clinton because Trump was too racist and bigoted. The polls showed that Clinton was winning, and many websites predicted that a Clinton presidency was guaranteed. Throughout the evening, I recall panic amongst my peers.
My friends and I, all residing in different parts of the state, began messaging each other while watching the results come in at around 7 p.m. Tuesday night. We watched as Clinton gained ground in most of New England, and Trump gain ground in the Midwest. As the evening pressed on, and Trump’s presidency was becoming more and more likely, we asked ourselves, “What is happening?” Trump voters were over performing. He was winning more states than predicted. Phone calls were made to friends and loved ones who were afraid, distressed, and hopeless.
No longer was I excited. Hillary Clinton had lost the presidency to a man who amplified the racism, sexism, islamophobia, and bigotry in this country. I felt a diverse range of emotions throughout the night, but anger and sadness were the two I felt the most deeply. I had friends affected by Trump’s rhetoric, in tears asking “What am I going to do?” I told them we will be strong, even when I was not feeling this way myself. I began to ask myself the same question.
I allowed myself a mental health day on the following Wednesday. I needed time to be alone, to be upset, and to think. I was worried for my friends that were not straight white males. I thought about how I could fight for them. I thought about my family that would be affected by Trump’s policies. I thought about how a presidential election should not make a massive part of the American population afraid to live in their country.
So this is where we are now, as a nation. The Democratic National Committee angered Democrats and backstabbed a candidate that was beloved by millions. The GOP created Donald Trump. Both parties had failed, and now the American people will suffer because of their mistakes. The House of Representatives and the Senate have a republican majority. We have a fear mongering, climate change denying bully stepping into the White House in January. Hope, for many, is lost.
I had lost hope for the good of this nation momentarily after the initial shock that this election had brought. However, now is not the time to live in despair. Now is the time we must be more loving and accepting than ever. Together, as Americans, we must shut down any sight of racism and sexism. We must be smart, well organized, patient, calm, and most of all we must be together. There will be hard days ahead of us. In these hard times, we must take the words that Michelle Obama has given to us. “When they go low, we go high.” Even though many Americans, including myself, are afraid of what could come, we must exercise our rights to prevent what we are afraid of.
I am a 19-year-old college student. This was my first presidential election. I learned some incredibly important things about how our nation operates over the past year and a half. Although some of us fear the “Trumpocalypse,” I believe there are good people in this country that will band together to take care of one another.