Land of the What?

A collection of pieces on how the election has changed our perspective

Photo by FDR Presidential Museum and Library

By Karrie Comfort Staff Writer

It’s difficult to capture what this election has felt like. Painful is the first word that comes to mind.

It hurts to watch Americans struggle between picking the lesser of two evils. The story tends to go, “I voted for so and so, but only because I didn’t like the other one.” Or perhaps, “I voted for so and so but I’m not proud of it.”

Never before have I seen such a distinct lack of pride in the American voter.

Although every four years everyone with a Facebook account comes out of the woodworks with some sort of political opinion, I have never before seen such a visible divide.

So many times I can recall seeing posts saying the famous “if you are voting for so and so candidate, unfriend me now” or “then you’re an idiot” or “you’re a bigot.”

Never have I seen an election where so many people didn’t vote for a candidate, but rather voted against another one. Never have I seen threats and plans for riots if such and such candidate was elected.

This election was unprecedented. When the final electoral votes were counted and the results were announced I was certain of one thing, which I had suspected the whole time.

America is tired of the devil it knows and is ready for the devil it doesn’t.

Even though around fifty percent of Americans voted for our current president, there’s another fifty percent who did not.

Truly, the biggest winner of the 2016 election is division and frustration in an election system, and an electorate, that left us with such poor choices.

By Natalee Coloman Contributor

Since Tuesday’s results, my body has felt numb. I am numb to the reality that I could strongly be affected from this outcome. I am numb from the thought that my neighbors, classmates, co-workers and so on potentially voted him into office.

The decision to elect this man as the United States President frightens me. The amount of followers that back up his decisions and views is even scarier.

This nation has moved forward since the 1960s to create a country filled with equal rights for anyone who lives in it, and the thought that the future president wants to take those rights away is awful.

Yes, I know he has checks and balances preventing these thoughts from becoming a reality for Americans.

However, he has clearly stated his hatred toward minorities and his followers supported that.

I am saddened that the friends I once had growing up who’re now acquaintances through social media are celebrating the win, not understanding the damages that have been done.

I understand that there is only one thing I can do to move forward after these initial thoughts and grief I endure. From today, and for the rest of my life, I will fight for what I believe in to the full potential. I will strive to keep the rights of any minority deeply affected by the chosen candidate.

And moreover, I will never consider this man to be my president.

By Isaura Aceves Contributor

From a very young age I was told that America is the land of opportunity, the land where dreams are made of. I grew up living in between Mexico and the United States, moving between them year after year. I look over to one side and saw poverty, but when I looked back to the US I saw potential for stability.

I was a child who dreamt of a future and safety, being together with my family.

I wasn’t the only one who has dreamt of this future. Thousands of immigrants, including my mom and family, have all come into the U.S. hoping of providing their families with opportunities they didn’t have back home. Well if this is the land of dreams, then why is it that I’m in fear? Why is it that thousands are worried about their family, about everyone they love?

How is this still the land of hope when many are living in nightmares filled with fear of deportation and separation from their family?

I was born an American citizen and given the chance to vote, so I did. I voted for the sake of my mom, for my uncle, my aunts, and friends. I want to keep my childish dream alive, but as I paced my room in circles I felt my fear growing. America has become my unstable reality.

I am disappointed that the land where thousands came to find a better future hundreds of years ago is now the land where fear has taken root.

By Selena Gonzalez Contributor

Election night was very stressful for me. I kept checking the polls, hoping for them to have good news. I was disappointed by the results.

Throughout this whole election process, Americans have shown just how easily persuaded they can be to commit acts of racism and homophobia. We targeted whatever groups we were told were the enemy and violence become more prominent.

We forgot about unity and equality. We have set the country 50 years back and everything that people like Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. did has literally gone out the window.

I am ashamed as an American for what has occurred. I’m terrified as both a female and Latina. Hillary Clinton put up quite the fight and many of us were sure that she would win. That’s why she was chosen over Bernie Sanders. Sanders decided to be a socialist in a corporate nation, and in the end, corporate America chose a businessman as their president.

It is sad to see that many of us are going to suffer for the choices others have made for us. But we need to know that our life doesn’t depend on a president because when we rely on a man, we are disappointed. Our life depends on whatever we decide to do with it.

The country has seen worse times and I hope that for the sake of many people, we do not return to those times.

Yet history does tend to repeat itself.

We just need to remember that a president cannot do whatever he wants. He has people behind and in front of him that will keep from doing whatever he wants to do.

By Samantha Neou Contributor

America, I had faith in you. But man, there was so much fucking red that night. One state after the other, all fucking red.

I remember I had an essay to do and some reading for class, but all I could do was numbly gape in overwhelming shock at the results of the election.

For a while I fell into myself — this dark, unforgiving space in my mind.

I was grieving over the death of America, or at least the idealized version I had of our country. I was living in this privileged bubble and expected the rest of America to feel the same way I did.

I was wrong.

There’s so much I don’t know.

I feel disillusioned, but I realize the world doesn’t stop spinning just because you need a moment to breath. And that’s okay.

Because at the end of the day, we will mourn, but we won’t let this deafening fear take over. This is the time to realize there’s something deeply wrong with our nation.

We need to collectively come together to discover why we’re so divided, raise awareness, and find solutions. Together. As one.

The government screwed us over, but nevertheless this shake up is what we need. We can’t lose sight of who we are and what we stand for in the face of adversity.

Let’s go, America. We’ve got work to do, and I’m listening now more than ever.

By Nancy Soriano Contributor

This was my first presidential election. I’ve lived through four election cycles and somehow the uncertainty of tomorrow was always just enough to create solidarity among Americans for change.

Ever since the DNC declared Hillary as the Democratic nominee, young people looked toward third party candidates as a means of protesting the situation which left Bernie out of the running.

I sincerely hope that your morals or your twenty minutes of Twitter fame — if you did write in (because how else would Harambe garner more than 15,000 votes) — were worth it.

You can complain all you want that the DNC started it by nominating a candidate that you deem unelectable or that you would never sacrifice your morals for a party that did that to its own.

I hope you found gratification in your decisions because I want you to look ahead.

Look to a future where one branch has a majority of one of America’s two dominant political parties during a time where ideological stances have never been more at the ends of the spectrum.

Look ahead to where these parties are more unwilling to compromise than ever before and where one branch is headed by a man who has his own trial within our courts systems for fraud.

He’s been elected. We’re all supposed to bow and consent to his presidency.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting college, it’s that young people are impressive as hell. In the immortal words of Cornel West, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

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