Togetherness In The Wake Of The Election

Togetherness In The Wake Of The Election

A beacon of hope after waking up in Trump’s America.
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On the morning of November 9th, I woke up with feeling that something wasn’t right. I hadn’t stayed up to watch the election results, but I knew before even opening my laptop that it was over, that he had won. I didn’t know what to feel, I don’t think I really felt anything. I laid there in bed and caught up on YouTube videos, the results of the election not fully sinking in yet. By noon I went on Facebook, and that is when I realized I had woken up to Trump’s America. The examples of hate crimes and bigotry were everywhere, as well as the fear each and every one of my friends shared. My stomach turned, I cried, knowing his victory was inspiring those previously silent to come out of the woodwork and spread their hate.

Eventually, I went to our student-run coffee shop and a friend made me a chai latte complete with words of concern and love. We sat together for awhile, talking about the election, our feelings, our lives at present, while leaving long gaps of silent filled with our pain and fear. Everyone in the coffee shop looked like they had just come back from battle, bruised and abused from watching Trump’s electoral votes accumulating during the night. I hadn’t eaten all day, my anxiety had me so nauseous I couldn’t think of food. Eventually we drifted up to the diversity center, and there we laid on bean bag chairs like soldiers nursing their battle wounds. It did feel like the end of a war -- or the beginning of one -- but one that we hadn’t really fought. Sure we had voted for candidates other than Trump, maybe we wore election garb, phone-banked, wrote articles voicing our concerns about the election and our pride for our candidate, but all of that was in optimism, it was all happy work that never left us scarred. Everyone in the room felt like they were at fault, somehow. Maybe if we had just done more, this wouldn’t have happened.

Later that evening, I finally ate dinner. The college president was, surprisingly, still on campus, walking from table to table asking how each of us were, and inviting us to his office should we need to talk. His words of kindness and concern were like that of a parent, despite the fact that he knows few of us by name. His gesture nearly made me cry there, knowing that someone rather distant from the individual student was genuinely worried about each and every one of us.

I went to a dialogue to discuss the current political climate after dinner. This dialogue was announced before the election; I expected to be talking about the bright future we had, how I hoped my candidate would keep her promises, how proud I was to be a part of such a historic election, but this is not what we discussed. Instead, we talked about our fears. The fear of being a Latina woman, the fear of getting no support from parents, the fear of leaving one conservative neighborhood only to go home to another, the fear that we as Americans failed each other. These discussions were not strictly filled with Democrats: Republicans who voted for Trump also participated in discussions, and showed true shock and surprise for the seemingly dramatic reactions from the majority of people on campus. The discussions were heavy, trying to explain why we might be in danger to people who feel nothing but safe in Trump’s America, but they were open dialogues where people from opposing sides were able to listen to each other and try to understand.

These talks were filled with tears, hugs from friends, words of support from strangers, and promises to take action from professors. Not all of us were agreed on beliefs, nor on how to take the election’s results, but we were united then. Through our grief we tried to understand each other. On our small liberal arts college campus, you see the same faces every day. You probably end up meeting just about everyone at some point. This dialogue reaffirmed our sense of community, our sense of family. That’s what family does, we promise to support each other even if we disagree with each other, and that’s what happened that night. We promised to try to understand, and be mindful of the pain all of us were in.

November 9th, 2016 is a date I will never forget for two reasons. First, because it is the first day in my life that I have been afraid for myself because I am a woman, because I am disabled, and because I am bisexual. I know millions of people around the world have lived in fear their entire lives because of the minorities they are in, but this is the first time in my life that I’ve experienced such fear. I am both frightened by what is to come and humbled by the fact that I’ve lived for twenty years before feeling something like this. Secondly, I will remember this day because of the way it brought people together. It’s one of those “restoring my faith in humanity” moments. When people you don’t even know can cry with you and offer comfort to you, that’s when a small community becomes even stronger.

In the days that followed, we wore safety pins, we continued the conversation, we marched in a protest, and we stood by each other. I don’t know what will happen over the next four years, but there is one thing I know for certain: if we stay together, we will survive this. Somehow. Someway.
Cover Image Credit: Savannah Lorenc

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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