Facing the Facts Post-Election: How Do We Move Forward with a President Pushing Us Back?

Written by Morgan Jenkins; Photo Courtesy of Pete Linforth

I wish there was an easy way for us to be positive about the future of America. After Tuesday’s election results, though, I’m not completely sure what the next step really is. I’m convinced that no one really saw this coming. No one thought it was actually possible. 

Some have taken to the streets, some have been led to tears and some have gathered in support of one another through these trying times. There has to be something we can do to move forward, right? We know what we face now, but how do we face it?

Well, we can start with the facts to ensure that we are all on the same page.

TRUMP DID NOT WIN POPULAR VOTE

You may hear prideful Trump supporters attempt to belittle opposition of the results by stating that, “the people have spoken.”

We definitely spoke; we didn’t, however, speak for him.

Trump is the fifth president in American history to have lost the popular vote and still win the election through the electoral college. He now follows in George W. Bush’s footsteps in being yet another president-elect that slipped right through the cracks of the system. While Clinton only gained a popular lead by 233,404 votes according to NPR (which, in the grand scheme of things, is nearly a tie), it would be foolish to say that the people elected Donald Trump.

Traveling back in time to the primary elections, 29 states incorporate closed primaries into their election policies, according to BallotPedia. This means that if you are not registered as a Democrat or Republican, you are barred from voting for a candidate in either primary. Additionally, if you are, say, a registered Democrat, you are only permitted to vote in the Democratic primaries. If you aren’t aware of this, you may miss the deadline to register as one or the other in order to take part.

This means that there is a significant amount of people unable to even participate in this decision of the election, leaving many independents reliant on registered two-party affiliates to choose who the two nominees will be.

The general election results reflect the independent voters’ defiance against the two-party system. Over 6 million people voted for candidates other than Clinton or Trump, according to Google’s aggregated election results. This is an important number to consider, especially when combatting the go-to claim that “the people have spoken.”

The fact of the matter is this: the majority of Americans did not vote for Trump.

THE GOP HAS CONTROL OF BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE

To make matters worse, there is now a Republican majority within Congress, meaning that Trump may not be facing as much opposition as President Obama has in his legislation. Progressive legislation may have come to a screeching halt, especially now that Trump has vowed to undo every executive order Obama ever signed into law “with just a signature.”

We have listened to his promises (or, to most of us, threats) time and time again about how he will abolish Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, deport any and all illegal immigrants and much more. Now, we have to prepare for the worst.

The next time someone tells you, “Oh, he’ll never get that past Congress,” you look them in the eye and tell them they are dead wrong.

TRUMP’S RHETORIC IS DANGEROUSLY INFLUENTIAL

The “Trump Effect” is a real thing. People can deny that hate crimes have escalated all they want. Some even go so far as to say that Hillary supporters are staging fake tweets and reports of hate crimes to make Trump look bad.

Sorry, social climate change deniers: just because it doesn’t affect you does not mean it isn’t affecting everyone around you.

Groups most blatantly affected include Hispanic and Muslim Americans, as well as the black community. Muslim women are being advised by family members not to wear their hijabs for fear of public persecution, racist graffiti is popping up in high school halls and children are crying to teachers fearful that their family members will get deported.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the horrifying and surreal revival of the KKK. They have just announced on their website that they will be holding a Trump victory parade in North Carolina on Dec. 3.

If someone is flat-out refusing to believe that the KKK or racism as a whole has been reignited, show them this. I was conflicted about linking to their website, but at this time, I don’t think there is any other way to depict the severity of the situation quite like their blatant and now-validated racism. At first, I was skeptical about the seemingly thrown together website, but upon further research, I found that the domain name is owned by a Klan member’s wife in North Carolina, Amanda Barker. Trust me, I didn’t want to believe it was real either.

Of course, racism and other forms of bigotry have been with us all throughout our history as a country. Trump just gave it a national platform.

THIS IS NOT ABOUT A CANDIDATE

Many Trump supporters have made the accusation that we are all just mad that Hillary didn’t win, and they’ve got a long list of names they will be ready to call you if they see you lament over the election. If the results of this election have made you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, don’t let them invalidate your fears. We know the reality we must face, and it does not make you a “crybaby” to worry about your immediate future and the future of America as a whole.

This is not about a single candidate. We are not overreacting because our candidate lost; in fact, many Americans only voted for Clinton as a means to defeat Trump and his vicious race to the White House. According to the Pew Research Center, 46 percent claimed to be voting against Trump rather than in support of Clinton. I personally am aware that Clinton was never the ideal candidate (I voted for Bernie in the primaries!), but to act as though they were equally as detrimental to our society is absurd.

THE ROAD AHEAD

I will not pretend like I have all the answers. Honestly, I don’t really know where to go from here. I wanted so badly to have faith in the American people to do what’s right. Unfortunately, so many Americans are either engaging in racism, sexism, transphobia (the list goes on and on), or they are denying that these things are taking place at all. Neither of these groups are doing anything to move us forward as one people.

Now, Hey Marlene doesn’t condone violence against anyone, and so I feel that the anti-Trump protesters attacking Trump supporters are stooping to their level. However, if a Trump supporter comes to you with a video of a protester attacking a supporter, calmly remind them of the atrocities now happening on a daily basis to minorities. It doesn’t justify the violence, but it sure as hell explains where these violent outbursts came from.

If you feel you are in danger, whether it be on Rowan’s campus or elsewhere, try to reach out to a loved one or even others who may feel the same as you. If you know of someone who may be in danger, reach out to them and offer them support; chances are, you reminded them that someone does really care about their well-being, despite the hate being tossed back and forth in this country like a volleyball.

I personally am going to make myself as available as possible for people to speak to in an attempt to form a support group. If we band together and unite, we can get through this. Just remember, no matter your race, religion, social status, disability, preferred gender or sexual orientation, you are absolutely loved and valued as a human being.

No president can ever change that.

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