After conceding the presidency to Donald Trump early on the morning of Nov. 9, Hillary Clinton passionately appealed to her supporters: “Let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary, let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come. And there is more work to do.”
If our country is to heal from this most bitter and divisive of campaign seasons, it is urgent that both sides of the political aisle take her words to heart.
In the days following the election, many Americans have felt deep and legitimate grief and disappointment. The sting of Clinton’s loss has been felt particularly acutely by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, non-Christians and other groups that Trump’s rhetoric has attacked. It is essential that as a community we recognize the sorrow and fear of our neighbors as legitimate and that we give each other time to adjust to shifting ground under our feet.
Trump’s victory does not strip the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly from his dissenters, and Clinton supporters, who, in fact, outnumber those who voted for Trump, should never be characterized as “sore losers” for exercising their rights.
Disturbingly, in the days since Trump’s victory, the country has seen a spike in hatred directed towards minority populations. Black students at University of Pennsylvania were added to a GroupMe chat that contained racist, threatening, violent and repugnant texts and images. Multiple transgender youth have committed suicide in the past week and calls to suicide hotlines have skyrocketed.
Sadly, racial slurs have been uttered on this very campus. As a community, we must unequivocally reject all bigotry and hatred regardless of the example presented by our elected leaders. Trump may be the president-elect, but he cannot single-handedly make America hate again. We must now actively choose love over hate; repudiating the divisive rhetoric of the past year will start with day-to-day interactions between all of us.
Trump’s victory has also caused anguish and heartbreak among many women, most of whom have collided against a glass ceiling or two. The hopes and dreams of many young women were fueled by the possibility of the first female presidency and the promise of a more just and equal world. It is painful, therefore, for this long-anticipated breakthrough to be snatched away when it was within such close reach.
However, male and female feminists alike should interpret Trump’s victory as a much louder call to action than ever to fight against sexism and for equal pay and women’s reproductive rights.
As Clinton remarked, “We have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling but someday, someone will.” Patriarchy will not have the last word.
Finally, we must have faith that our Constitution will continue to serve in the manner that the founding fathers intended; the majority still do not have total autonomy over the minority. It is more important than ever to vote in state and local elections and for members of Congress.
Our elected representatives will be responsible for checking President-elect Trump and holding him accountable, and governors and state legislatures will create legislation that will affect our lives more directly than that at the federal level. Even through our discouragement, we must not allow our voices to be silenced.
For far too long, cooperation across party lines has been absent from policymaking. With the Republican Party poised to assume control of all three branches of government, there is no reason to believe that this will change.
But it is imperative upon elected Democrats to continue to fight for progressive values, from common-sense gun laws to climate change remedies to anti-discrimination measures for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Citizens — starting with those of us on this campus — and legislators alike must engage in productive discussion and listen to each other in spite of our differences.