On the election and how we follow

McCabe sounds as it usually does just around midnight. Conversations bounce around—something about the Wi-Fi, essay due dates—but the only thing that I can think of is the New York Times’s gauge of the who will win the presidency.
States are still reporting, and the electoral college is to come. That ticker slowly moves redder, closer to 100 percent. I don’t want to admit to myself what I know is coming, but dread is what I feel.
What I fear now is how we respond. Of course, there must be time to heal; we can’t and shouldn’t be strong all the time. Nevertheless, there is much to fear with what seems to be headed to D.C., and our responsibility now lies in organizing ourselves and others to combat what might come out of Congress and the White House. Complacency has no place in our futures.
To address some concerns, I’d like to say that now is not the time for division. No matter whom we voted for in our primaries, no matter how we worked over the past few months, no matter what our travel plans are in the next few weeks, we need to recognize this as our present reality. This isn’t to say the work we have done has gone to waste; it’s to say our work isn’t done.
Yes, I’m spouting pessimism, and yes, we must investigate issues of legislative and active voter suppression, the sources of nativism and fear, and how this fucker was allowed off that golden escalator last June by Republican lawmakers and leaders, but what I want to make clear is that, as sad as it is to say, this result happened through democratic—although even this is questionable because of voter suppression and gerrymandering—means. In response, what we must begin is a direct and constant action to work to prevent discriminatory and detrimental actions by the administration-elect, and we must work as much as possible with the government because, like it or not, disengagement is not how we can make change.
American institutions will be tested over the coming years more so than they have been. The young ones, like the Affordable Care Act and the Paris Climate Agreement, may just have been stamped with an expiration date. The old ones, like those framed in the Constitution’s first and 14th amendments, might be chained or limited at each level of government. They are fragile because we are a democracy, and our democracy has lifted up men that find no integrity in those institutions.
There’s a poster in Trotter begging, “Are we Rome?”
Where this hollowing stops is with us. As members of this democracy, we didn’t “check the box on our civic duty” yesterday. These institutions are here because we are here. We must now step up.
Ben Franklin said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
On Wednesday, stirrings of our action start. Socialist Alternative, a Trotskyist political party, is protesting Trump in various U.S. cities. Answer, an organization founded to end war and racism, also has an “emergency protest” in Chicago and has organized picketing at the Trump Hotel in D.C.
These actions are not enough. We need to act closer to home and beyond. At Haverford, there is a Tri-Co sit out in Founders’ to protest what’s to come. It’s actions like these that need to be sustained. Although we are slightly removed, Swarthmore’s student groups should align themselves here and reach out to other campuses—not only like those on the Main Line and our fellow liberal arts colleges, but state schools, and trade schools, and anywhere else we can find support and camaraderie—to decry our federal government if and when it attempts to curb civil liberties, to accelerate the environment’s ruin, and to deny the dignity of each person around the world.
Further, to build up a coalition beyond that of college campuses will be essential. Founding groups that work through municipalities and counties to mobilize essential local work will be necessary, and building up a national organization to oppose the new federal reality should be a priority following this local push.
I’ll admit that my organizing experience is limited, so these assertions all sounds a little esoteric and maybe a little empty themselves. One person doesn’t have the knowledge to begin a movement. Collectively, we do. Members of clubs like Mountain Justice have attended workshops and retreats to prepare for organizing. Students across campuses and people beyond have been a part of movements before. We must now find those people, educate ourselves, and move forward together as one.
I recently wrote elsewhere that Swarthmore is where I want to be because our campus solidarity cements in me an understanding that we can push forward despite friction, stress, heartbreak. We learned tonight—or were reminded—that too much of our country has been forgotten. The country, in turn, has forgotten what it means to be American, or my idea of it. That name holds so much volatility and darkness, but fundamentally, American liberalism is what we must hold faith in. It is the strongest institution that must be reworked and worked through if we want to ensure these next four years are not lost.
The black voters disenfranchised in North Carolina and the Latinx workers questioned on nationality without reason besides ethnicity can’t take it. The women and queer and trans people assaulted can’t take it. The people facing drought and war around the world can’t take it. The planet can’t take it.
I just got off the phone with my grandmother. “God help America,” is all we could get out. Let’s sure as hell hope we get some help as a nation, but in the meantime, let’s help ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Phoenix