I know most of you are probably thinking to yourselves, “Another election article?” while simultaneously rolling your eyes. And, yes, these are my thoughts on the election, but, no, they are not about the results. There have been so many negative articles posted in the past week since Donald Trump became our president-elect and so much negativity circulating around the country that I decided I should share my thoughts on why I actually appreciated this past election.
I am not going to explicitly state whether or not I support the decision our country made (although you will probably be able to figure it out by the end) because this is not about the results. This is about my experience.
This was the very first election I got to vote in and I could not have been in a better place to experience history write itself. Being at UC Berkeley, one of the most politically active schools in the country, I could not have asked for a more remarkable place to watch the election and experience the aftermath. Sitting in Sproul Plaza with the Campanile lights shining in the background, I watched the results filter in with hundreds of my peers while experiencing losses and gains with them – truly exemplifying what it means to be with one another. I could not have felt more part of a community anywhere else that night. Whether it was simply discussing our situation with the Political Science major standing next to me, trying to figure out what was happening with the other first-time voters, or cheering/booing at whatever results came in, that night was one of the most memorable I have had at Cal. I am never ever going to forget who I was with and where I was when Donald Trump was elected president.
More than just election day itself, the movements that happened afterwards simply left me speechless. Being an extremely liberal school, I knew Berkeley would not take this loss easily. However, what I did not know was just how far Cal students would go to stand up for what they believe in. The morning after the election as I walked to my morning class, I had to push my way through hundreds of people gathered on campus to stand up for the ideals that they believed had been pushed aside by the president-elect. I was surrounded by people who believed in diversity and equality so strongly that they would not take the results of the election sitting down. They would not let anyone or anything dictate their beliefs. They would not let anyone or anything suppress them, and they would not let anyone or anything tell them that they are wrong. For the next few days, these protests continued and still continue to today. Every class I had, the professors allowed us to share our feelings on the election and offered support if anyone felt they needed it. Honestly, this time of struggle that our community is going through makes me feel so proud to be a Golden Bear. It makes me proud that this community, my community, will continue to stand up and fight for what it believes in, regardless of what happens.
Instead of hating this election or gloating over it, use it as a means to voice your beliefs. Use it as a means to spark a change or make a difference. Moments like this are what define us as a country and as a community. I am not just talking about the Berkeley community; I am talking about the American community. I urge you to use this one defining moment as a springboard to stand up for what you believe in.