As with the majority of young people and other Democrats across America, the US Presidential Election yielded highly disappointing and distressing results, with the imminent rise of a shameless demagogue. Those like me expected the election to result in a logical conclusion (of course, logical to me and the majority of Americans), although logic was not a theme or priority for nearly half of Americans. Rather, people were victim to Trump's bait and were fed what they wanted to hear.
For millennials who voted for the first time, or for those who would experience an America under Republican leadership for the first time, this will be a new and an uncomfortable experience. My close friends who are immigrants, LGBTQ, women, and black have already experienced stress and anxiety, and are genuinely afraid for their future livelihoods. But above all, they are looking for guidance on how to move forward.To expand on Hillary Clinton's call to "never stop believing that fighting got what's right is worth it", here are some thoughts about how to move forward:
- Mourn and/or be angry! Your emotions reveal a truth that you need to embrace and come to terms with--being angry or sad means that something is wrong, and it is clear that something is wrong given the result of this election.
- Reflect on the election results and recognize the severity of our American crises. We have to understand that race does not entirely explain the outcome of the election; after all, President Obama won twice. This was about the vast number of Americans who are disenchanted, disillusioned and distrustful of the political institution. This was an anti-vote.
- Lend a helping hand to your those in your family, your neighbor, and your friends who may need your contemplative ear.
- Organize dialogues with those in your networks, formally or informally online, to learn, share knowledge, and sympathize.
- Protest! Exercise your freedom to voice your dissent and never remain hopeless in face of power. Our historical social movements did not succeed because people remained complacent.
- Join networks, such as ACLU, to support efforts that will protect the rights of all Americans.
President Obama recently called for a peaceful transition of power, which makes sense given his position. However, is this also a call for complacency and idleness as millions of Americans fear for their lives and as the global community are concerned with the fate of the Paris Climate Agreement? As Americans are raising their voices around the United States, I offer a historical narrative that can inform their actions: the defiant nature of the Boston Tea Party. How can we ever hope to bring change without disrupting the oppressive forces that chain us? Such forces of neoliberalism and globalization resulted in the economic and political conditions that mobilized Trump voters, not just unfounded and misguided racism and sexism. So if there can be unity in beliefs between the Democrats and Republicans, it would be our rejection of these two forces. President Obama's urge for unity seems like a tall order for marginalized communities, who continue to be victim to the oppressive rhetoric that has been a hallmark of Trump's campaign and his supporters. It is also difficult to do when millions of Americans are fearful of losing health insurance and as Native Americans are fighting their battle against corporate elites to protect their land.
Instead, let's continue to voice our dissent and exhaust all possible solutions, including signing this quickly growing petition to have the Electoral College reconsider its loyalty to Trump. Those who are on the ground rallying against Trump: Remember that as agents of change, we have an entire history and tradition of social movements to draw from. In times like this, we should hold onto the belief that when there's a will, there's a way.