The most divisive election in recent history concluded Nov. 9 with a result that few people expected, leaving many students in shock, anger and unnerving uncertainty about what the future holds.
Across the country, in major cities and on college campuses, protests and near-riots have broken out. Threats have been made by both sides and the divide between parties is larger than we’ve seen in a long time. A lot of people are asking how we can possibly move on as a country.
It’s possible for liberals to condemn Donald Trump’s victory as the result of a racist, sexist, bigoted population’s vote. It’s easy to get angry and attempt to make your voice louder than the opposition’s. It’s easy to protest the outcome and exclaim that Trump will never be your president.
But these protests undermine the very democracy we claim to hold sacred and neglect to address our nation’s social divide.
You can say whatever you want about the results of this election, but Trump will still be the President of the United States come Jan. 20. How we choose to move forward with that reality will dictate the direction of the nation over the next four years, and beyond. Will we be divided and angry, or will we come together?
Turning this election outcome into an “us vs. them” situation will never allow for the country to achieve unity.
Calling your friends and neighbors who voted for Trump a “basket of deplorables” certainly isn’t going to help anything either. The most important thing right now, regardless of who you voted for, is to listen to and consider differing opinions without immediately shutting them down or silencing them like many on both sides have done during this entire election.
Of course, it’s easy to say we should listen to others, but how can you get your voice to be heard in a constructive manner?
Get involved in and donate to organizations that stand by the causes you support. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged just because the party you belong to doesn’t currently hold the majority in the federal government. Don’t get swept up in the thought that the federal government is the end-all be-all; a huge amount of decision-making power lies at the state level and it’s important to get involved with decisions there. And vote! Vote in the midterm elections to make your voice heard in government as often as possible.
A house divided against itself cannot stand — and neither can a country. With the enormous amount of uncertainty going on right now, it’s important to remember that Trump’s election is not the end of the world, and that this is not some sort of legitimate reason to further widen the gap between your fellow Americans. Either we will move forward together and work to build a country that’s united, or we will continue to increase the divide until our nation is irreparable.