Reflections on a tough election

In what has been a tumultuous and unexpected week, I, along with many other students on this campus, have experienced a wide range of emotions. What was forecasted as a probable win for equality, humanity, social progress, and justice turned out to be a crushing blow in favor of a candidate whose entire presidential campaign championed sexual assault, misogyny, and the mistreatment of so many people who have learned to celebrate their differences and now feel as though they have to hide them. A lot of us are scared of the consequences. Hell, I’m making plans to get an IUD when I go home in preparation for a time when I can no longer make this decision for myself. I’m thinking about how I will be able to protect myself from a campaign that has spit in the faces of those whose skin color, religion, or cultural beliefs do not reflect their own, that was endorsed and celebrated publicly by the KKK and where graffitied swastikas appear on bathroom walls and store windows. I’m thinking about the rights that might be stripped from me because of who I am.

But we knew that this election was not a normal one. On one hand, we had someone who embodied Washington politics; on the other hand, a businessman and reality TV star with no prior political experience. This was an election that went beyond political views and became deeply personal. For some people, it quickly became an election of acceptance versus fear, and love versus hate. It became harder and harder to separate a candidate out from his or her character and specific policy-driven issues. So for many people, this election became personal as so many of these personal attacks made us question our identities and our places in this country.

However, we have the chance to change the story. Let’s take this crushing blow and turn it into opportunity and hope. We cannot stand divided, and must come together to try and make things right. Let’s not hate each other or silence one another for having opposing political views, but rather lift each other up together when we are feeling demoralized or discriminated against. As Colby students, let’s hold each other to the highest standard that we can by respecting one another and creating spaces for people to talk about their concerns openly and safely. We shouldn’t say that we do not feel proud to be an American—it is our country that has blessed us with the forums and the resources to speak out and create the change that we want to see. Be proud that we live in a country where not only can we have a say in our leadership, but also a country that provides us with the ability to publicly challenge the things that we disagree with, and where we can hold people accountable for their words and their actions. It may not always work, and we may not always be successful, but that is never a reason to stop trying.   

Colby: take this moment as an opportunity to show that we are an institution and a community that isn’t defined by hate or discrimination, regardless of political affiliation but for the sake of being a decent human being. The problems that were made visible to the American people have existed for much longer than the duration of the Trump campaign, and have been on this campus longer than the duration of the Trump campaign, so let’s continue to illuminate the ways in which we can challenge these issues. To the students who supported Trump in the election and claimed that it is unfair for others to label you as racists or bigots: prove us wrong. Put us in our place. Show us that on this campus, and in your lifetime, you are bigger than the hate rhetoric and the insults that your candidate thrives on. Don’t let the words and the actions that he condones, politics aside, define how you represent yourself. Show that you are a mule, and not an ass. 

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