Geneva Students React To The 2016 Election
Politics and Activism

Geneva Students React To The 2016 Election

Suburban teenagers react to one of the most historical- and shocking- elections of all time.

Geneva Students React To The 2016 Election
the New York Times

November 9th, 2016.

Walking into Geneva High School, the tension is tangible in the air.

The night before, on November 8th, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. It was a shock to everyone; election analysists and news anchors scrambled to figure out how they went wrong and what the heck happened?

In the hallways and classrooms of GHS, students in "Make America Great Again" hats and shirts are either ignored, glared at, or congratulated with handshakes and high fives.

In total, I see one female student in a "Love Trumps Hate" T-shirt.

I ask some fellow students in my US History class their thoughts about what happened.

"It was a surprise to a lot of people because nobody, like, flaunted their views if they were a Trump fan because he's so hated."

There are nods and murmurs in agreement.

"It was so shocking and unexpected, and a lot of people are questioning it."

A teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, tells me she's very worried.

"Personally, I think that our country is in jeopardy; I think that we are going to repeal Obamacare, I think gay marriage is at risk, I think all these things that we've progressed over the last several years are at risk of being gone. And it scares me."

Later, I see a group of girls looking worried and talking about what I can only assume to be the election. I ask, and sure enough, they are voicing their concerns.

Anna Hickey, a junior, is more than willing to express her views:

"It terrifies me that Mike Pence wants to take money going into HIV research and put it into conversion therapy camps... It terrifies me that Russia and ISIS are happy that Donald Trump won. It terrifies me that Donald Trump is a flaming racist who is under investigation for a rape trial. I'm terrified."

Another junior, Marie Duke, chimes in.

"I saw on a map, if it was just millennials voting, Hillary would have won by a landslide."

Anna jumps back in.

"I saw a map like that too, it said that if only people of color-- if no white people-- voted, the entire map was blue. Hillary would have won no matter how you broke it down."

I realize I had only heard the opinions of female students, so I approach a group of guys in my French IV Honors class. I ask them what they think about the election.

"Well, I thought it was interesting. I didn't think Trump was gonna win, that's for sure," says Teegan Ebel.

Jack Cottrell nods and adds, "Both candidates I'm definitely not a fan of... and I mean I'm more Republican, but I don't know. I'm just waiting to see what's going to happen."

Teegan continues, "I'm really worried about foreign relations."

Jack goes on, "Yeah, and we were just talking about how the stock market, you know, absolutely plunged yesterday... We're worried about how the face of America might be changed.

Luke Migliazzo speaks up, "Trump hates foreigners, which is a problem, because most people in the world are not American. But as far as business and the economy, that should go up, because he knows business. I personally wanted Hillary to win, because I saw her as the lesser of two evils, but some of her policies were just not right... Trump, though, seems to run on hate, which is not necessarily a good thing to do if you're running a country."

And then of course, there are those who feel caught in the middle of two bitter sides. Gabrielle Brainard expresses exasperation when I ask her about the election.

"I don't really have a stance, but I was very surprised that he won, especially considering everyone at the beginning kind of took it as a joke. I'm interested to see if he is all talk."

There are nods and agreement.

"I'm just glad it's over."

A sophomore girl in my geometry class was happy about Trump's victory.

"If Hillary didn't win the election, she's going straight to prison. I feel like people say she's the lesser of two evils, but I think he is. Even though he's racist and all that, I don't think he'd do much, compared to what she would do."

At lunch, amid the chatter and bustle, you can pick out different conversations, all about the election, although some are a bit more heated than others.

I ask Katerina Schneider, a girl with a large "Trump 2016" sticker on her water bottle, her thoughts about what happened.

"I was surprised, but within the last two weeks he's really calmed himself down, and he was being more respectful. I think because of the Hillary scandals with the emails, he kind of stepped back and let her screw up... I had a feeling he was going to win because the polls started to shift as soon as the FBI stuff began, so I wasn't too surprised, but at the same time it was like, holy smokes, he actually won."

I ask her if she thinks anything is going to drastically change.

"He doesn't have that much power; Congress will step in, and they're going to deny this and deny that... He's surrounded himself with good people, who are going to hopefully guide him in the right direction. I'm hoping that those people will help him get on the right track of how to make the country better for what he believes in and what he thinks is good for America. Sure, we're going to see some surprises here and there, I'm not sure what they're going to be, but it's going to happen. But he's surrounded himself with good people, and he has to get stuff passed through Congress."

Lucy Mickus, wearing a "Bernie 2016" T-shirt, thinks change is inevitable.

"Obviously there is going to be change, 'cause it's a new president! I think it's going to be run differently in a negative way, because Republicans have the Senate, they have the House. Also, he doesn't have any political experience, and that's not a good thing. I think foreigners, outsiders from our country, are going to look at us in a more negative light than they already do... for a while, it's going to be America who elected a racist and a sexist, with no experience, as their President."

At the end of it all, Katherine Steely, a history and sociology teacher, has an important point to make.

"It's important to remember that this is our process, and clearly this sends a message that the country was dissatisfied with the establishment and that they want something different."

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