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The 2016 Presidential Election: Where Do We Go From Here?

November 9, 2016

Editor's note: I by no means speak for Louisville Collegiate School when I write this piece. I speak for myself, but I feel that my opinion warrants an audience. I have followed this election closely since before the primaries, and I have waited my entire life to vote in 2016. I feel qualified speaking on this subject.

 

 

It is 1 AM on November 9th, just minutes after the Presidency of Donald J. Trump is a foregone conclusion. I have my computer open to Twitter, and I am watching the results come in on the television. I cannot say that I feel like I am in a dream. My senses are too heightened. No, I feel like I just watched a gripping movie, and I am struggling to bring myself back to reality. Except, the reality I expect exists in a parallel universe. I keep telling myself that I will not turn it off until the results are official. I give up shorty, turn the television off, and I am left alone in the dark.

 

The media environment we have today is far different from that of eight years ago. Everything is instant. The waiting we go through to find out who will be the most powerful person in the world seems almost comical. I am accustomed to receiving responses immediately, so in the feedback delay, I convinced myself that Hillary would be our next president. She led in all the polls, and I doubted the type of polling error some were suggesting. I have many objections to Hillary Clinton, but she is not the next president, so I will not divulge them here. That being said, I felt comfortable with her presidency. She signified the status quo, and I can live with that. Trump’s message is very different.

 

Trump wants to restore the romanticized America of the past. He is the hope and change candidate of this election cycle, but he wants to go back to what he thinks were the “great times.” I feel that change connotes exclusion, bigotry, and racism. No matter what I think of Trump, I am stuck with him for the next four years, and the country is stuck with the question of what to do next. Where do we go from here?

 

No one knows. This election has left our country more divided than at any point in my life. And nothing will save us. No one can swoop in and change the results. Donald Trump is our president. I still cannot wrap my head around that. Our robust democracy can only do so much. We have to live with our decision, and we must move forward. Violence will solve nothing. Blaming each other for his rise solves nothing. Trump won more than 269 electoral votes, and it’s not rigged. People voted for him. We now need to repair the damage from the massive political divide in our country.

 

First of all, if you are unhappy with the results, stop threatening to leave the country. Unless you are actually leaving, stop being dramatic. Secondly, we as citizens must come together to have productive conversations about the state and the direction of our country. We cannot accomplish any goals if we don’t trust each other. Lincoln’s message feels especially important in a time like this: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We have to come together as a nation; our problems are too daunting to face without unity. Lastly, if you feel alienated by the political process this year, make your voice heard. Trump tapped into this feeling of disenfranchisement, and now, after his victory, we all feel this same way. Stand up for what you believe in and make a conscious effort to follow through with actions. The government is for the people, and no one person can ignore our collective voices.

 

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