Opinions Editor Meredith Hood writes about her emotions following the 2016 presidential election and how to move forward from this event.
Nobody likes losing. Crying sports fans get turned into memes every year. In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton spoke with dignity and honesty. After losing big games, coaches often admit mistakes were made, but fans are quick to point fingers at refs or biases against their team. How should Clinton supporters respond? What is the appropriate response when your candidate loses, whether it be a local election or a national election?
Some Clinton supporters have taken to the streets to protest. Others have posted their thoughts on social media. Democrats in Congress have stated that they will try to work with Donald Trump on some issues. Many supporters have banded together to find support and love from one another. All of these responses are appropriate.
However, we must accept the results of the election. Donald Trump won in the current democratic system of America. However, accepting that Trump won the election does not mean Clinton supporters have to accept Donald Trump’s positions. In this democratic system, we have every right to protest any statements he’s made or policies he’s proposed. If anything, this election has shown that we must fight for our beliefs with more energy and determination than we originally thought.
It will be difficult for America to unite after this election. The country appears to be more divided than anyone realized. While Trump won, over half of the country did not vote for him. With votes still being counted, Clinton currently has over one million more votes than Trump in the popular vote, meaning that Donald Trump will enter the office with an even higher level of scrutiny than most presidents. I personally do not have to like him or his associates, nor do I have to support his policies, but I do not hope for his complete failure as a president. I hope Trump makes choices that keep our fragile democracy from unraveling and make our world more peaceful. Although his recent cabinet choices have left me worried for our future, I hope he steps up to his promise in his victory speech to be a president for all Americans – which includes people of color, Muslims and other religious minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and women.
Finding common ground between Clinton and Trump supporters is possible. To do so, each side will have to try to listen each other, because both sides voted to protect their own vulnerabilities. While it is as crucial as ever to fight for what you believe in, it’s equally crucial that we truly listen to the other side. That does not mean we all have to agree, and it does not mean we have to trade in our values, but it does mean we must try to understand where the other side is coming from. The world holds its breath as we see if we are capable of compromise and understanding. But in this moment, I am confident that the St. Mary’s community will be leaders as we choose to “go high” when others “go low.”