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The election is far from over

in Op-Eds/Opinions by

We did it, Swatties. We made it to Election Day, and this means that we have finally escaped all of the election advertisements, the political phone calls, and the horrible Facebook memes about the terrible qualities of our presidential candidates. Despite the outcome of the election, we have made it past the overwhelming focus on how the country will vote, and can turn our attention back to other world issues that also impact our everyday lives, including COP22 or the attacks in Brussels or ISIS.

Except this isn’t entirely true. While we can stop attacking one another, and can focus on world issues once more, this election means we inherit a whole new set of problems that the United States has ignored for years. Obviously, based on how an astounding number of people voted for a candidate who has insulted minorities and mistreated women, there is a greater divide in America than we have ever acknowledged, and this poses a threat toward ever fostering real positive change within the country. We as a country are frustrated with politics, fail to realize the power and positive qualities that each person has to contribute to the empowerment of America, and remain ignorant of what is actually required to be united in truly “making America great again.” This election is far from ordinary and represents more than just the voice of America; it represents the divide and frustrations in the country that need to be overcome.

While Donald Trump as President of the United States terrifies many of us, it is far from the apocalypse and far from the end of America. If anything, it is the chance for us to recognize the divide within the country and to openly discuss what has caused the constituents of the United States to become so separated from one another and so frustrated with government in the first place. This election has exposed the hatred that exists in the country and its fear of differences. This exposure, however, allows us to confront this hatred and these fears to begin to abolish them from our country once and for all.

More than anything, though it is necessary to express and confront our emotions about the presidency, it is also important that we remember that our mission for creating a better America does not end here. We still make up the people of the United States, and we still have a voice. Even Donald Trump is not enough of an excuse to give up hope for our country because we are the country, and we have promise and compassion for those around us. If we hold these ideals, they are not extinct, and we hold the ability to spread them throughout the rest of the nation.  

Sure, we can choose to focus on how terrified we feel that Donald Trump has become president, and we can panic over how the majority of the country fails to view all people as important to this country, but what is that going to accomplish? This is only going to weaken our power by spending our energy on fear rather than power, which is just what the divide is hoping to create. Instead, we need to accept that the presidential results represent a bigger issue in America, and we will not accept this as an accurate model for how the United States should function.  In a democracy, complaints create tension while remaining active citizens and continuing to take action for our passions creates a movement.

I’m not saying that it is going to be an easy four years, and I’m not saying that people do not have every right to be upset about the outcome of this election. It is disappointing to realize the state of our country, and it is scary to consider what Donald Trump represents and what behaviors were deemed acceptable by the American people. Moreover, I must wholeheartedly confess that it is impossible for me to comprehend how groups are feeling and to understand how this outcome is going to affect individuals from different cultures and different backgrounds.

However, I am saying that these four years do not have to be the end of progress for America. As President Obama stated, “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.” No matter what, we still have our voice, we still have our drive, and we still have a community of other change-makers who will not rest until we achieve a country of support and unity. Regardless of volume, Donald Trump or any supporters who fear differences can not prevent us from moving forward with our future to strive toward fostering a better world.

Just because we exercised our right to vote does not mean that our civic duty ends here. We will be okay, but we must remain united, remember our passions and goals, and remember that we still possess a voice in this nation. We can not sacrifice hope because we all have too much power left to simply surrender.

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