The morning after the election, I woke up feeling dejected. I had a pit lodged in my stomach, and all it seemed to do was grow. As I walked around campus that morning, I noticed what an eerie day it was.
I couldn’t help but remark to my friend that it seemed as if Mother Nature was mourning. And why wouldn’t she? A Republican House, Senate and president do not bode well for her.
That morning, I could not shake the shame and disheartenment I felt because a man with such seeming lack of class would be our president. I was weighed down by the sorrow I felt for the many communities that will feel left behind and terrified by the choice of our president-elect. I pitied the liberal movement as a whole and questioned where to go from here.
But as the day went on, my feelings of dejection and fear turned into reflection and conviction. I realized that this election should not discourage Democrats, liberals and minorities alike but rather embolden us in our beliefs.
If we falter or concede, then truly we will have been defeated. Instead, we must persevere in the eye of the storm and prepare to fight for what we believe in.
For the last 80 years, there’s been a slow but steady stream of progress. While it has not come easily, we have become accustomed to inching forward ever so slowly.
The easy response to this election would be to raise our arms in despair and declare the death of Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage — Trump has actually said he doesn’t oppose gay marriage), our climate and voting rights. Dejected liberals like me could abandon ship and write an obituary for the cause.
We cannot afford to do this, and we cannot afford to retreat. Instead of looking back, we must look forward.
For those of you with a vision of change and progress, of tolerance and equality, you must not abandon your posts. And for those of you who feel marginalized, remember that most Americans — Johnson, Clinton and even Trump supporters alike — are in your corner. Remember that the American tower of progress was not built in one day, and it will not tumble in one day. The fight for equality has been waged for centuries, and it will not be lost overnight.
Now, more than ever, is the time to remain steadfast in our beliefs. We must defend our country, our rights and our environment. It is a near reality that along with Republican control of the presidency, Congress and state legislatures and governorships, there will be a Republican Supreme Court. I am hoping that this administration will shock me.
Our president-elect has already backtracked on a few pronouncements he made during the campaign, and this does not surprise me. There is always the possibility that one of this administration’s missions becomes the protection of the rights of all humans, regardless of race, gender or religion. We cannot lose hope.
But if things go awry and the rights of Americans are stripped, don’t throw your hands up in despair. Don’t move to Canada. Instead, stay determined and resilient. If there is oppression, fight. If there is a movement, join. “American” claims no race or creed. Stand strong and stand together.