The world I live in just got scarier, and I don’t know what to do.
I am the Opinion Editor of The Triton, and a few days before the election, I said I would write a piece in response to whoever won. I even started drafting two pieces – one for Clinton, one for Trump. You’re not reading either of them right now, because the piece I wrote for Trump was garbage. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever have to write this. I didn’t truly believe, in my soul, I would ever be living in a world with a Trump presidency.
But Donald J. Trump is the president-elect for these United States of America, and on January 20, 2017, he will become the 45th president in our nation’s history. That’s the solid reality of the world we live in.
Many of the students of UCSD are like me, I think. We grew up in a blue state. We go to a liberal college. Most of the people we interact with have similar positions on things. And maybe we did everything we were supposed to! I talked to people, I thought about it a lot, I registered to vote, I showed up at the correct polling place, and I voted in my first presidential election.
In spite of everything, Donald Trump won the presidency. There is so much work to do. I am worried about people I care about surviving, and worried about other people being seriously hurt. Trump wants to cut all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities, which are places that don’t allow deportations within their limits, and thus serve as safe havens for the undocumented. He’s considering appointing a Supreme Court justice who wanted sodomy laws, which would make it illegal for gay people to ever have sex. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which will cause some people to lose their health insurance entirely. My aunt depends on the insurance she obtained through Obamacare for her chemotherapy treatments – what’s going to happen to her under President Trump? Every new thing gets worse.
Some people are more vulnerable, and that’s always been true, but under a Trump presidency that will only get worse. Certain lives will be undervalued by this administration: black people, Latinx people, the undocumented, any person of color, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans, the disabled, the queer community (especially queer kids and transgender folks), poor people, and people at various intersections of these identities.
There were protests on campus the other night. We’re angry. I hope we hold on to that anger – I think we’re going to need it. People keep telling me they want open dialogue, that we need to just calmly accept the results of this election and come together as a nation. They want me to let go of my rage.
I don’t want to let go of my anger. I don’t want to let go my real concerns, and I hope that fire keeps us going through this difficult time. No one should be told to swallow their emotions of fear or sadness or fury, all sensible responses to something horrible. I ask you not to minimize.
Yes, there will be a time where we have to figure out how we’re all going to live in this country together. Somehow, we’re going to need to build a future where there is enough work across party lines that we don’t lose everything when the presidency switches hands. Somehow, we’re going to find a way to work with people who are willing to throw us away. Somehow, we’re going to need to find a way to change the culture.
I know, intellectually, we’ll have to do all that. I know California can’t be its own country, like some people have said. I know that even if it could, we would be abandoning thousands of vulnerable people in the middle of the country.
But first, I invite you to grieve with me. We need to be able to cope with this in order to keep moving forward, and we need to survive this. None of us are expendable. Several suicide hotlines experienced call spikes in the wake of the presidential election results.
All we have is each other. Look out for one another. The world is alarming right now and we’re going to need our friends. Let’s offer what we can. We need to keep working towards a kinder and more just world – we need to channel all that hurt and rage. This is about helping people; let’s take care of the most vulnerable among us. If you have causes you care about that are going to be at risk, donate if you can. Consider offering people assistance if there’s anything they need. And sometimes, all we can meaningfully offer is a hug. Sometimes, that’s enough for a moment.
Jaz Twersky is the Opinion Editor for The Triton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.