Late Tuesday night, Donald Trump won the election to become the 45th president of the United States. In doing so, panic cascaded throughout many voters. They’re afraid of the consequences of the Trump presidency. Will my friends or family be deported? Will hate against racial and religious minorities become more accepted? Will Trump and Republicans repeal legislation that has provided health insurance for millions of Americans? People are scared. I’m scared too.
Walking across campus Wednesday morning, I saw many with their heads hung low. Sometimes in politics, we lose. We become discouraged. We become cynical. Undoubtedly, these are all common feelings for depressed voters. But today I urge you: do not become disillusioned. Hold your head high and remember how much of an impact we made. Be proud that one day, you will be counted with those who stood for what is right. Remember that we will refuse to accept hate. Remind yourself that we have a responsibility to future generations. Take this moment and remember it, and use it as your motivation to make a difference.
The truth is that you only win when you fight. Moving forward, involve yourself. Reach out to your friends, canvass for your candidates, make calls to your local legislators, and most importantly, organize. Arm yourself with information. Hold your candidates responsible for their positions. Politics is not a battle to be fought once every four years – it’s constantly a part of your communities, your social media, and even your friends. Let it be an important part of your life. Don’t be afraid to engage with your colleagues, your friends, or your family. Make sure that your voice is heard in more than just the form of a ballot.
The best way to let conservatives roll back minimum wage increases, universal health care, LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights, and more progressive issues is to let them feel no resistance. So make them feel your resistance. If you’re disheartened by the results, take action. Find an organization that advocates for your beliefs and promote your ideas, and if you can’t, found one.
Most importantly, comfort and stand with those who are in danger. And there are many people in danger. Hispanic families are frightened they will be ripped apart. LGBTQ+ individuals are afraid of the extremely homophobic history of Trump’s vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence. Islamic families fear a rise in hate crimes. Many women are worried about the acceptance of Trump’s statements toward women. The normalization of the insulting, hate-filled language of Trump, and the behavior of some Trump supporters, is something we must work together to end.
The beauty of the democracy is that we can lose. The demand of democracy is that we never quit. The responsibility of voters is to threaten politicians at the ballot box, and although that opportunity may seem long from now, it is always the right time to mobilize. Stop threatening to move away. Don’t dwell on defeat. Get up, get involved, and fight back.