If you’re like me, you were shocked and possibly terrified when you saw Donald Trump win the presidency. It felt like a crushing blow to see that my country elected a candidate whose whole campaign seemed to stem from insults and hatred. For a few days, I questioned my faith in our political system. I even considered participating in movements to deny the legitimacy of the new administration. Then I realized that would get me nowhere. Jason Kander put it best in an email that his campaign sent out after losing the Missouri senate race. He said, “America needs you now more than ever…My campaign might no longer be the vehicle for your activism, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from standing up and making your voice heard,” and I took those words to heart. The results of this election have hit me hard, but I’ve realized that the best way of coping with this disappointment has been to put myself out there and stand up for the ideals that I believe in.
One of the beautiful things about our country is that all of us have the fundamental right to express whatever opinions and beliefs that we may have, regardless of whether we agree with our leaders or not. I’ve always found something gratifying about putting my opinions out there, and these feelings have only increased after the election. There are many channels through which we can express our opinions, and I’ve found my favorite to be my Odyssey articles. I’ve written about issues such ranging from climate change to voting rights to the devastating increase of hate in our country, and I won’t stop there.
Another great thing about our system is that it gives citizens the ability to get themselves involved in the process of making change. Our representatives in the government work for us, and they want to hear what we have to say. Their offices are always open to suggestions from constituents. Furthermore, the internet can be a powerful tool to call for action. Change.org petitions can have great success, and starting one is a great way to get involved. I personally wrote a petition to make election day a national holiday, because I believe that everybody should have the opportunity to get to the polls and make their voices heard.
If you want to get over your post-election depression, then get involved in politics. The feeling of making a difference truly is powerful, and it helps alleviate the hopelessness that many of us feel when the government takes actions that we don’t necessarily agree with. So, if there’s an issue that matters to you, write about it, express your opinion. Call your congressman and senators and tell them what you would like to see happen. Sign the online petitions that you agree with. And most importantly, when the next election rolls around, go to the polls and vote! As President Bartlet said on "The West Wing," “decisions are made by those who show up.” So if you want to see change, then show up and help make the decisions that will shape this country’s future.