Last Tuesday, our lives were changed forever. No matter who you are or what you believe, our lives as Americans will never be the same. Wednesday, there was a cloud over OHS. Some students were distraught by the outcome; others were focused on the swift responses of protest to the country’s decision. A few upperclassmen shared their emotional reaction, ranging from fear to glee. Some students wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of this election.
We start with senior, Miranda Rodriguez, “Being Latina and watching as your country elects a man who is so outspoken about his absolute hatred for women and those of Latin American descent is absolutely terrifying. People don’t recognize how real it all is for the rest of us. Those who don’t have to experience that racism and sexism and overall hatred every day don’t realize how much something like this means. It isn’t “just an election.”” Rodriguez has spoken about the hatred and prejudice she has already experienced during the campaign while in NYC as well as walking home from school. She is not the only one to have such a strong emotional experience. A junior said “I forgot how to get ready this morning. I couldn’t even concentrate on what I deemed important before I heard.” The response to a man they deem unfit in office truly hit home for them. Justin Sguera, a member of the LGBT+ community is fearful and shook along with many others. Knowing that the vice president-elect has outwardly spoken against such a large community within this country is terrifying and to many, appalling. But Sguera, despite this all wants the country to know he will not change who he is, he can’t, just like the rest of his community.
Students who agree with the country’s decision had a lot to say as well. One anonymous senior shared “I am hopeful after hearing the results of the election. I believe people are able to express their opinions and be disappointed if their candidate did not win, however we need to be open minded and give Trump a chance.” This senior was very well spoken and really wanted to pin point that we need to be optimistic and not be divided. Another senior expressed “We’re all going to have our different views but right now we have to stay positive and stick together, holding hands with republicans and democrats on either side.” Most students who weren’t very upset with the election just wanted peace and unity. No harm was wished from these students onto others.
There are many good arguments for all angles. John Bologna spoke out strongly to one of his classes, “People are so angry because it shows that half of our country is willing to support rape culture and misogyny and racism.” He later clarified that he wasn’t calling every person who voted for Mr. Trump misogynists and racists and rapists, he was pointing out the fact that someone who very outwardly speaks against people of color and women was chosen by American people. Therefore no matter your personal views on those groups, you supported someone who is against them. The most visible initial response from the left has been anger, but after a closer look an even stronger emotion emerges; fear. “This instills a fear in me, especially being a young black woman.” Mikayla Aarons has a reason to be scared. Those who aren’t in her position don’t always understand how hard this can affect someone emotionally.
Aarons and Rodriguez both were extremely uncomfortable standing for the pledge. Aarons did not, along with many other students in the school. I spoke with a senior who was very upset with this, “don’t disrespect a whole nation by not standing and saluting the flag because of political or racial views. That’s not what it is for.” This student has every right to feel as they do, but Rodriguez made her voice loud and clear in this shaking statement, “That pledge isn’t true. It never has been. It isn’t liberty and justice for all so long as these ideals play such a huge role in our society.”
Despite our feelings, our fears and our future plans, we are one country and no matter who you speak to, everyone wants each side to lay their weapons down. Now is a time for peace and unity. Madeline Mecca was heartfelt when she said, “when it comes my time to vote, I pray that I can elect someone I genuinely think can run the country.” Us as students need to keep doing just that, being students. We need to continue our education, no matter where that is. We need to keep learning and try and make a change throughout our entire adult lives. It’s our future, let’s make sure we have what it takes to make it bright.