It was November 9th and it seemed like everyone was in mourning. The sky never quite allowed the sun to peak through the clouds. The freeway, which only a day before had been congested with traffic, was sparsely populated with cars. It was as if everyone called in sick that day and I wished I had too.
Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the run for the Presidency.
Like most, I didn’t think Trump had a shot. He insulted even the most respectable among us. He used coded racist, sexist, and xenophobic language to incite outrage across the nation. For almost a year, I watched his rallies and I feared what his presidency could be. But I convinced myself that this could never happen in the America I knew. That we would never take the worst of us and elevate him to the highest position in the world.
And yet, we did.
When I arrived at work, you could see the fear and sadness on everyone’s face, even mine. When one of my new hires walked into my class, he asked me if I needed a hug. He had only met me the day before, but I said yeah. Usually, I know how to navigate things, but on that day I was just as lost as everyone else. My coworkers grieved or leveled their anger in our Community Space. One of my new hires cried, overwhelmed with it all. She had just moved to Ohio, a state that went for Trump. I held back tears while trying to help her cope.
But the question remained… Where do we go from here?
The answer came from another coworker. By the time I saw him, he had already shed his tears. When he saw me, he embraced me and like so many others said, “I’m so sorry.” But when he let me go, he said something that stuck with me and it still does…
“Today, we mourn. But tomorrow, we fight back.”
Donald Trump has used the easiest of our emotions to manipulate: fear. He used fear to make us paint each other as the enemy. And with that fear, he painted himself as the savior who just wants to “Make America Great Again.” And although the majority of the United States voted for Hillary Clinton, Trump won the Electoral College. With him, the Republican Party took both the House and Senate.
But that doesn’t mean that we have to fall in line. Conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Donald Trump has only won the fight, but we don’t have to let him win the war.
I’ve told friends, family, and coworkers that we need to vote when they least expect it. Mid-term elections are notorious for bringing low crowds. 2018 is where we make our first stand. Then, in 2020 we’ll show Donald Trump what fear is. But we won’t use fear to divide us. We need each other more than ever. As a country, we face so many daunting challenges that we can only overcome with unity. From climate change to poverty, from education gaps to wage gaps, we need the best of us to tackle these issues.
Unity will defeat Donald Trump. So if you’re still mourning more today. Tomorrow, start fighting back.
Written by Chase EuJene McCants