This Isn’t The End
November 11, 2016
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I woke up on November 8th, and for a moment it felt like any ordinary day; the sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and there was homework begging for my attention. But then I remembered what day it was: election day. The day our country would vote for the next president. I felt nervous, and jittery, but what I mainly felt was excitement. Some of that excitement came from a place of relief as the anticipation itself was worse than not knowing what the future held; but what excited me the most was the prospect of Hillary Clinton breaking that glass ceiling. Throughout the day I was brimming with joy, as I saw women, who were born before the 19th amendment , vote for Clinton; as I heard women, with proud tears in their eyes, say they were able to vote for another woman. Yet the day went on, and the night rolled in, and my excitement slowly started to dwindle until it disappeared from me completely as if it were a wraith. When my mother finally forced me to shut off the news, Donald Trump had not yet been declared the winner, but I knew that he had already won; Clinton had lost.
When I walked into school the next day, I could feel a change in the air. It felt heavier on my shoulders and it did not carry its usual noise. The emotion that day felt almost oppressive; there was shock, and anger, and sadness, and panic. One could see it on the faces of students and teachers, sense it in the classroom. There was happiness at Haverford as well, but I would be lying if I said that that happiness was not muted to me. I was feeling a maelstrom of emotions, that seemed to be constantly raging inside of me. I was scared, furious, and terribly sad, and by the end of the school day I felt as though I would combust from it all. That maelstrom has now abated and replaced it with resolution. I have seen so much pain and fear in the last few days, and I want to fix it for those people. All I have is a couple of words and a keyboard, but if I can at least make one person have more hope than they did before, I will be satisfied.
I understand that many of you are terrified, because you do not know what the next four years will bring. I certainly do not know, but I do know this: you are not alone. You will never be alone. This was not the expected situation but now that we have taken the time to process what has happened, we must continue the fight for progress. If the Electoral College votes Donald Trump in December, hopefully he will prove to be a better president than he was candidate; hopefully over the next four years the country will come together. I have hope for the future. Hillary Clinton may not be our next president, but there were plenty of people who made history on Tuesday night. Up until Tuesday the only woman of color on the Senate was Mazie Hirono, a Japanese American who represents Hawaii. Not only was Hirono re-elected, the number of women of color on the Senate has now quadrupled. There is California Attorney General Kamala Harris; Catherine Cortez Masto who has said she will be “one hell of a check and balance” for Drumpf; Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs serving in the military, has a seat representing Illinois. Oregon has just elected the first open LGBT governor, Kate Brown. Minnesota elected Ilhan Omar, a refugee from Somalia, as the first Somali-American legislator. Adriano Espaillat, who used to be an undocumented immigrant, is now the first Dominican-American serving in Congress. While things may seem bleak to many of you, I implore you to look towards these people and see yourself. It does not matter whether you are American-born, an immigrant, or a refugee; it does not matter whether you are white, black, Latino, Native American, or Asian; it does not matter whether you are LGBT; it does not matter if you are able-bodied or disabled; it does not matter if you are a man or a woman. All that matters is that you matter. Your life is yours to live. If anyone were to try and take that away from you, remember that there is a country waiting to defend you. The next four years may be more than alright; they may be hard. Either way, progress will be demanded and will be fought for until it is given. We just have to keep our heads held high and keep fighting the good fight.