I remember Election Day distinctly. I remember students gathered in the main quad staring intently at a Jumbotron live streaming the election results. I remember not knowing how to react - a viscous mixture of anger, frustration, and helplessness clinging to me in a way I had not previously known could be felt. I remember seeing the devastation painted lugubriously on everyone’s faces, a cloud of mourning ubiquitously shrouding the crowd as if the Grim Reaper had paid a visit to each and every person. I remember the echoes of “Starboy,” played during advertisements, ringing in my ears as it began setting in that in fact, Donald Trump would soon become President Donald Trump. Still, as I’m sitting here typing two months later, I am trembling at the mere visual of the word “president” and Donald Trump in such proximity with such gravity.
The day after Trump won, I showed up to my 8 AM discussion. My professor walked in twenty minutes late and immediately began bawling. I skipped class that day and went to the city to sit in Dolores Park with a friend. That Bart ride back to Berkeley was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences I have ever had. I can still recall the city, a conglomerate of diverse people, shoved into tiny boxes of Bart cars, everyone bowing their heads in dejection. As we headed back to Berkeley, the Bart was temporarily delayed because someone had been in front of the tracks. I cried the whole way back. Everything that had been manifesting itself in a paralysis of emotion unleashed.
I have purposely been avoiding writing about Election Day because it was truly one of the, if not the most, devastating experience of my life. Throughout this piece, I use superlatives generously, because indeed, having lived almost half my life under the Obama administration, Trump’s election and what that entails is incomparable to anything that has occurred during my conscientious life.
But in the face of frustration and horror and despondency and despair, I saw people rise. People protesting in Sproul Plaza and at Sather Gate and on Memorial Glade. Berkeley High students marching to the Campanile. Cal students raising their fists and holding up signs to show support for their peers. I saw, from the cloud of mourning, rise the sunshine of resilience: the powerful, beaming anchor that reminds us that in adversity, we must march on; we must be resilient.
In the two months since Election Day, resilience has been eminent. Student resource notifications inundating my email inbox. People giving out flowers and hugs and whatever support they may, to make everyone feel a little safer, a little better. Politicians, leaders, businessmen, educators, people of all vocations making public statements in dismay at the election result and in support of all others who feel similarly. Conversation, conversation, conversation. People writing about the election, talking about the election, poeticizing feelings about the election. Increased awareness. People educating others and ourselves about political affairs on the parochial, district, state, federal, international level. Resilience.
In the most recent and perhaps most prominent instance of resilience, The women’s marches. Across not only America but throughout the world, people have come to the streets in unity to protest Trump’s election. Never in history, at least to my knowledge, has such a phenomenon ever occurred. Instead of submitting ourselves to the Trump administration, we are fighting back. One in every 100 Americans attended a women's march within this weekend. People, in their respective communities and abroad, are standing together in support of one another, valuing their lives and livelihoods to be just as important as the person to their left and right. This fight is not over.
I conclude with the following. When I was in the fifth grade, I was taught to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution:
“We the People, of the United States. In order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity. Do ordain, and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”
We the People are speaking up. We the People are fighting for what We the People are ensured by the Supreme Law of the Land. We the People are strong and powerful and wonderful and beautiful in all of our differences and talents and idiosyncrasies. We the People are, and will always, be resilient.