I remember the night it happened, I remember the day after too. I remember the consequences because I’m-we are living with them right now.
Election day. 11/9/2016. I went to go vote on my college campus, arrived late, and ended up waiting in line for 3 hours. I could have easily left but I didn’t because I knew that I would never forgive myself if I did not carry out my rightful duties.
Everyone was in disbelief, and in denial. My heart was heavy, there was an immense amount of tension in the air. I don’t know how to explain it but I could feel the heartbreak. It was almost tangible. I did not cry. I did not cry because I was not going to let the people who put forward this series of events get that satisfaction. Instead I was genuinely angry; a feeling I have not felt in a long time. Most of the time I refuse to be angry because without the gratitude and positive outlook I carry around I would fall apart. But for the first time in a long time, this new emotion came out of me; an emotion I despised. I was mad. Mad at those who voted him in, mad at those who voted third party, mad at those who did not vote, mad at those who made Hilary a joke and discredited her, mad at journalism, mad at anything I could tie to influencing the results. I just kept asking myself, how they could do it. How could they sleep at night? How can their conscious be clear after this? It was their fault.
I refused to talk to people I knew voted for him or voted third party. I kept my distance because I knew that it would just make me angrier. Luckily I found myself in a state where everyone was grieving together while showing nothing but love and support. I knew of people back home who could not even look their friends in the eye because of the way they voted. I did not have this misfortune.
In all honesty, I do not put the blame on those people because in the end it was all of us. It was me, for not voicing my beliefs when I knew they were just. It was those of us who were too scared to stand up and talk about politics when it was most important. It was the parts of society that could not envision a future with Trump, believed it would never happen, and therefore did not advocate enough. It was a collection of many things, things we did not have control over.
With time, I let my feelings of anger subside. I stopped keeping up with the news because it was pure noise. There was a glimmer of hope, hope that he would not carry out any of the garbage he spewed during his campaign. But then inauguration day came, and the days followed. Many people did not think he could have any serious power to ruin all the progress made in past years. But he did. Executive order after executive order. Each time his pen touched the paper it was one attack after another. Abortion ban, Women. Wall, Mexicans. Pipe-line order. Human rights. Stripping people of health care without any replacement? People will die. Censorship on climate change. Our planet. Our future. Muslim ban. My friends. The people I love. Humanity.
Just like that. 10 minutes of scrolling through news articles. It was no longer the feeling of anger that came back but it was a mix of many other emotions. Frustration, disbelief, helplessness. I felt helpless. People say it’s the worst feeling in the world and they’re right. There is nothing worse than watching innocent people get treated inhumanely or get stripped of their hope..their livelihood. My heart hurts. I just want to do something. I want to help. I want to save someone. I want to save myself; save this world but, I can’t think of how to right now.
Here is what I will do for now: I will forgive. I will forgive those I felt wronged this country, and hope they learn like every other human learns from their misjudgments. I will speak out when things are unjust; when things are wrong. I will not walk on eggshells. However, I will remind myself to be kind. I will show compassion towards those I genuinely care about. I will be grateful for anything I can. I will respect others who respect the sanctity of human life. I will not let my anger cloud my thoughts, but instead I will use it to drive myself to become a better person; to be a light in these awful times. These next four years of college will be used to empower myself and in turn enlighten others in my life. I will find ways to justify the progressive agenda, and learn how to defend my beliefs, my morals, and my values.
People will still be angry, and rightfully so. Who can blame them? Protesting may take time, it may take many years. It may change things tomorrow. It may not change things at all. But by letting the world know that what’s happening is wrong, we let everyone know that we condemn the injustice that is taking place.
This is a learning lesson not only for those who misjudged, but for our society as a whole. Sometimes it takes something catastrophic, something memorable, something like this. The only good that may come out of this is that we all gain some insight. We all played a role. Some people will be hit harder than most, but this will inevitably change all our lives. We will get through this together.