Election Post-Mortem [Op-Ed]

Mary Zech, Arts Editor 

A man who has never held a political position is ready to be sworn in come January, and now I have to wonder: where do we go from here? Although I was hopeful that we would see the first woman president, I have not lost faith in the progress that we as a country have made. Clinton, having won the popular vote despite her coming up short in the electoral college, has made history as the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. Instead of focusing on how close she was to becoming president, let us hone in on the cracks in the glass ceiling that have been made. I am hopeful for a future where a woman will become president, and although it did not happen this time, Clinton’s tenacity and strong campaign are to be admired.

Clinton was not the only politician up for making history this week. Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American legislator in American history when she was elected Minnesota State Representative. She spent years in a Kenyan refugee camp as a child and then came to the United States. In the wake of a refugee crisis, this feat shows that hope is alive and well. Another beacon of hope in the recent election was Kate Brown in Oregon, who is the first openly LGBT governor. Moreover, the first Latina Senator Catherine Cortez was elected as Senator in Nevada. One of her key issues is building a comprehensive immigration reform to help advocate for immigrant rights. This progression for women and people of color, regardless of sexual orientation personifies my hope.

Having both a Republican president and a Republican majority in Congress, hope for Democrats is left to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, it will be up to Mr. Trump to fill the vacant seat of former judge Antonin Scalia, who passed away earlier this year, and potentially others in Mr. Trump’s four to eight-year term. Other worrying facets of this election include members of Mr. Trump’s own team, specifically Mike Pence. Despite many referring to Mr. Trump as an opportunist rather than a true conservative, his vice president Pence is historically Republican. Moreover, since the Vice President can break ties in the Congress, this leaves little wiggle room to get more Democrat supported legislation passed.

Being endorsed by the KKK and making many derogatory remarks towards women, Mr. Trump was at times connected with racism, xenophobia and misogyny. Moreover, having a president whose coarse actions and words reflect on the country, raises some questions on how we view women, Muslims, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. Despite this, it is too large a generalization and a pessimistic view to assume that Trump’s electoral votes were won from a place of hate. His favor among the white middle class was supposedly based on their dissatisfaction with Washington and Mr. Trump’s promise to return outsourced job through immigration and economic reforms. However, these white middle class voters have the least to lose from a Trump presidency.

More than anything, I am disappointed. The first woman president seemed so close, but now it feels farther than ever. Moreover, I can recognize Trump supporters feel authentic emotions, even feelings strong enough to will them to vote in the first place. But, we can’t think like this. As a nation, as a community, even just for yourself, it is toxic to play into the negativity and polarization that is so easy to feel. We will strive to be informed and optimistic even in the face of the immense negativity that has clung to this election season. We are lucky to be in a country with fair and frequent elections, because even if it’s not my voice, I see the will of the American people reflected in the candidates they chose. As President Obama said on November 9th in his speech in the Rose Garden, “sometimes we may move in ways that some people think is forward, and others think is moving back, and that’s okay.”

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  • Thank you for your thoughtful words

  • Well Said…I hear You…BUT Maybe just being lucky we live in a democracy won’t be enough. I Just Donated to planned parenthood, the southern Pverty law center, And the sierra Club.