In the early hours of November 9th, San Francisco was quiet. In a stunning turn of events, the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, became the next president of the United States. For weeks, it was expected that Hillary Clinton, Democratic nominee, was going to win and become the first female president of our country. But he defied the polls, the odds, and the expectations of Americans around the world. It is terrifying how one man managed such a feat.
How this could’ve happened has been analyzed over and over again in the past days. So, in what seems like a dark time, we pause for reflection. How do we move on? What needs to be done and felt to live during a Trump presidency? What should we hold onto as we proceed forward?
Unity is crucial for America’s future. The confounding presidential loss of Hillary Clinton is an example of the division in our country that wasn’t fully evident until election day. The silent majority was silent, indeed. Pollsters and citizens alike simply underestimated the white working class voters who most likely felt under-represented and unheard. It is this lack of understanding that we have to eliminate if we want unity. We need to reach out to one another, especially those who disagree with us, to lessen the divide that cultivates hostility. At this time, it’s more important than ever to work together because we are a united nation.
For all of us who feel deeply troubled and angry about Trump’s win, it’s understandable to feel that way. The initial polls were extremely misleading and it is difficult to look past the threats that have come with his presidency. But, it’s important to remind ourselves of our moral core, of our stance and live it out. As Michelle Obama once said: “When they go low, we go high.” When protesters roared in all the major cities, they protested out of concern for our loved ones and for those vulnerable to the possible decisions by a Trump presidency. We must have our voices be heard and our cry for basic civil rights be acknowledged. It is understandable to be angry that Clinton lost, that the lives of so many people could be thwarted with a wiggle of a pen. But now is not the time to become hateful. Now is the time to be compassionate.
Finally, there is hope. It is said that hope is a dangerous and powerful thing. From the depths of hope, people find guidance and clarity of how to move forward. It is with hope that people find the ability to love one another more effortlessly. And it is thanks to hope that we can see beyond whatever obstacles lie ahead of us. In Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, she impressed on the young girls watching, “Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” We may not have our first female president now, but the drive for women to become president and leaders is stronger. Despite the dangers that Trump’s presidency might impose upon thousands of people, the vision of a welcoming future has not faded. Hope makes us powerful and this is just the beginning.