On November 9th, I woke up at 4 a.m with my eyes wide open. Today, everyone would see. The day prior, it was announced that the presidential election would be out by this time tomorrow morning, and the American people will have made a decision. By the time the sun came up here in Austria, the world was still on the edges of their seats. I turned on the live coverage and saw the very thing none of us thought we would ever see. The very high probability of a President Trump. My mum told me he’s going to win, but I just shook my head. I said that’s impossible, they’ll vote for Clinton, you’ll see. I hoped we’d all see.
By the time first period ended, the people have chosen. Donald J. Trump was to be the next president. It seems they did not see. I cast a glance around the classroom in my international school as we listened to his victory speech. I could not tell you any of the reactions were different from mine. Shock. Anger. Disbelief. Surprise. Even fear. Fear of the unknown. These were the reactions of a group of teenagers from different corners of the world living together in a tiny nation in Europe, that hardly has any impact on the global political sphere. I could only image what the people in America felt like.
My school teacher us to embody the aspects of an international student. A global citizen. Open-minded. Principled. Caring. Knowledgeable. All of these ideals have been shaping my education since I can remember. They have shaped my thought process. They have made me a liberal, and I am proud of that. I thought if I explain why I think the way I do to someone they would understand. That they would see.
Earlier on this year following the Brexit vote, and now with the Trump vote, my eyes have been opened wider than they have in my whole time on this Earth. People won’t change the way they think because you tell them their views are wrong. In fact, people hardly change the way they think at all. My whole life I grew up thinking the world was good, and so were the people in it, without exception. At seventeen, I still think the world is good. But I think it is the good people that are the exception. They are the brace.
On November 9th, the nation that is supposed to embody the ideals of these good people, of the brave, choose the opposite. Almost half of the country cast their votes for Trump. Electoral or popular. A vote for Trump is a vote for racism. For someone who built their entire political career, which started a little under a year ago mind you, on bullying those he thinks are lesser. Someone who thinks Mexicans are rapists who can be hidden away behind a wall they paid for. Someone who refused to let people rent from his company, simply because they were black. Somebody that wants to ban an entire religion and those who follow it from his country, because he thinks they’re terrorists. Somebody that stands by all these things, but whose knowledge extends to all the false facts his non-existent political knowledge can manage to supply him with. He blurs racial and ethnic groups into monolithic units that he uses as a basis for the policies that make up his political platform. And yet there are people who identify with these racial or ethnic groups and yet still cast their votes for him. I just don’t see.
It is a vote for misogyny, for homophobia, for discrimination, for xenophobia, for violence, for cowardice, for hate. It is one for reversing all the accomplishments the United States has made throughout their history as a nation; from granting women their right to vote, to legalizing homosexual marriage, through allowing each individual the freedom to follow their religion, and all the ones for which the fight must still carry on. All ideals which I proudly believe to be fundamental.
To all those who chose to give the man who represents all that their ancestors have at times given their lives to eradicate their vote, I hope you will still believe you made the right decision tomorrow, in a month, in a year. The right decision for you, for your family, for your children, for your neighbours; for everyone. I sincerely hope it is a choice you can live with, because as of November 9th, we, America and the world, are going to have.And to those who cast their vote for freedom, for equality, for acceptance, for the better alternative, for love; all I can say is I’m sorry, but please do not give up. Tomorrow is another day when you can stand up for what is right, and represent all those who still believe in freedom and equality. And with enough work, one day, they might just see.