After decision night’s surprise, I assume that most people reading this feel shocked and upset. We all fear that this hate speech will become a reality. Let this be something of a moving on piece, a guide to those who feel angry and upset and scared and don’t know how to proceed.
But first, to those 50 percent of the nation who are happy:
Celebrate. You defied the odds calculated by almost every news station and political analysis. Now you get to sit and enjoy watching the future play out, knowing what you desire lives on the agenda. Hope that this man brings the nation together. “I’m gonna trust this system that our founding fathers made because it’s a good one. I trust in the Constitution,” said University of Virginia junior Sarah Nelson. It is your time to hope, trust and bring about change.
Now, for everyone else. Your world turned upside-down. Action rages in your bones yet you feel powerless as your voice got lost in this election. So, what do you do now?
“Tomorrow I’m gonna drink because I’m emotionally confused,” said Nelson. Despite her favor of the Republican Party, she still fears for her friends who feel so affected by Trump.
There was an appropriate gloom over my university’s campus on Wednesday. People just seemed sad. But while walking across the lawn, I saw a student, Ryan Hindle, blindfolded, with a sign, “Free Hugs. Because we could all use one today.” That’s another step you can take: support. “There is such a heavy air today, it is gloomy and rainy. I wanted to give free hugs to lighten the mood. We are all here to support each other,” said Hindle.
Support those you love, support those who may feel powerless against Trump’s harsh words, and know that 50 percent of the nation stands with you. Support your community, offer love to those who are afraid for their rights or their livelihood. Offer what you have and give love, for love will always trump hate.
Another option is to make sure you are okay. Many take this as a heavy loss. So you take time to feel hurt and work through it. It is easy to feel helpless and unable to function but time is helpful and hurting in this way. Time won’t stop and wait for you to catch up, but it also lessens the blow. “I hugged a lot of strangers today… Talking with complete strangers and knowing there is a community coming together in the face of how f–king horrible this is helping, but I’m still reeling,” said UVa junior Cameron Woodell.
Wednesday night, at UVa, I witnessed a most incredible display. The students who were afraid and angry gathered to hold a vigil to speak their concerns and provide support. Despite the somber occasion, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much love in a community.
Here lies another option, you can take action. Use this upset to inspire activity, make time to unite and put energy into what you believe in. Change has to stem from somewhere and though it is easy to feel lost in the sea of voices and votes, you live with purpose. “This has reignited my want to get into politics and to stand for what I believe. I want to hear what people saw and I want to look for answers.” said UVa junior Luke Nicholson.
On another note, it is important to remember that change takes time. Our political system has made sure that nothing too radical can destroy our country over four years. Some may believe it best to understand this, unite and look to the future. “It’s about what comes next, looking back at how isn’t helpful. We need to focus on what we can do for those who feel threatened directly,” said UVa freshman Matthew Steelberg. Even though many are unhappy, we have to accept this outcome and focus on maintaining what we feel is most important. As a country fiercely divided, fear is not sustainable.
Lastly, feel what you feel. Powerless, betrayed, ashamed, shocked and afraid seem to be themes for those haunted by Tuesday night.
But don’t let go.
Don’t let this blow over. If you were angry, hold on to it. Summon it because you are not alone, and combined, you are a force to create change. Years will pass, but hold fast to what ignited the flame in your belly to make you stand against what Trump stands for. When the date arrives, your voice will stand loud in numbers and change will come. Millennials have to fight to prove everyone wrong. We have to make that glass ceiling shatter and give a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.
So when you feel hopeless or ashamed, keep your chin up because your fight will come. Don’t swallow your passion. Let it sit dormant, waiting and resting for when the day breaks and the fight demands action once again.