This morning, I woke up to two texts on my phone. One read, “Yay! Trump!” and the other read, “We’re doomed.” I didn’t have to look any further than that to know who had won the presidential election.
If you know me at all, you know that I am not a fan of Donald Trump. I have not supported him through one step of this election, and he may have won the presidency, but he has not won my respect.
Today, my school seemed divided. Hillary supporters were licking their wounds, Trump supporters were resting on their laurels, but no one seemed able to approach the other. Even among friend groups I found it hard to look people in the eye that I knew were not as upset as I am. I am not proud, but I am not ashamed either.
And I’ll get over it. I’ll accept it, sooner or later; I have to, if I still have faith left in the democratic system. But right now, “President Trump” just can’t really roll off my tongue.
As the day went on, I searched for ways to soothe my anger. I went to Writing Club, where our creative minds remain untouched by the sticky mess of politics. I attended a luncheon with my Women’s Leadership group, where I found inspiration in all of the strong female leaders in my community. There is still good in this world.
I watched President Obama give a gracious and beautiful speech, which both gave me hope and sadness. Hope that maybe the next four years won’t be that bad, but sadness at the fact that a great man is leaving the office. I know he couldn’t have stayed, but I still wish he didn’t have to go.
I even went to go see Doctor Strange with my dad, which made things feel… almost normal. (The movie was amazing, by the way, I completely recommend it.)
But then I came home. And I saw how the rest of the country was handling the news.
Seven cities are upheaved with protests, thousands of people are flooding the streets of Chicago, #NotMyPresident is trending on Twitter. This is the kind of thing that I have read about in history books, and now it is happening in my lifetime–I can watch it unfold in my living room! My emotions have reverted back to where they were.
The country seems to be in a civil war.
And that is a dangerous thought.
We have to trust our democratic process, we have to believe that we will be alright. I don’t think Trump is the right choice for our country–the worst, actually. But I have to hope that he will prove me wrong. We have to give him the chance to do right by us, and if he doesn’t, then you exercise your right to protest. I know I will. As long as we have the ability to critique our government and refuse to be led by corrupt leaders, there is hope for our country.
The American process is great because it gives us the freedom to reject a leader that we deem unfit. But we need to have grounds. We cannot impeach someone who hasn’t even been sworn in yet!
He may not be my president, but myself, and the rest of the country must accept that he is our president. He knows that we are watching. If he steps out of line, we will be there. If he acts unjustly, we will be there. And if he starts to turn this country from the democracy that it was founded upon, I will march the streets of Capital Hill myself.
But for now, we must have hope.