We are Better, and We are Stronger, Together
By Amalia Frohna (Harvard College Undergraduate)
Tuesday night in Harvard’s IOP eerily resembled the emotional pattern of the previous 18 months of campaigning. First came the impossibility of the situation. This had to be a prank or a meticulous marketing ploy by the Trump organization. Trump, possibly the most unqualified individual ever to run for office, wasn’t really going to obtain the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency. However, as each successive state adopted a bright shade of crimson, the mood began to shift. Denial soon ensued. Sure, Trump, had narrowly won Ohio and Florida, but the majority of the American population certainly couldn’t elect this deplorable individual to the highest political office in this country. As the night progressed and Trump’s electoral count slowly climbed toward 270 and Clinton’s path to victory appeared increasingly less likely, a palpable sense of disbelief hung in the air. Despite the somber silence, the glances exchanged between anxious friends and the distraught expressions on the faces of those surrounding me adequately expressed the sentiment of the room. How did we let this happen?
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a moment that I had anticipated would be celebratory, Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 election. After receiving a text message from my mother to my three sisters and me apologizing for the results of this election, I began to realize the reality of a Trump presidency. When my mother, the strongest and most optimistic woman I know, was unable to make sense of the situation and provide the comfort I so desperately craved, I knew this was real, and I knew that the repercussions would be devastating and lasting. For those who attempt to convince me that Trump is not as conservative as he claims, I argue that I am less concerned with his political ideology than I am with the harmful rhetoric and behavior that his campaign, and, now, his election have normalized. I fear for the next generation who, for the next four years, will be raised in an era of a Trump presidency that perpetuates regressive social attitudes.
Wednesday was a day to mourn the prevalence of misogyny, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia. It was a day to embrace those who fear for themselves, their friends, and their families. It was a day to lament the moment in which a woman, despite the extent of her qualification, was, once again, subjected to the oppression of a male-dominated society. It was a day to shudder with disgust, as a man who boasted about sexual assault became the leader of the free world. However, it was a day that, years from now, I will identify as the stimulus that prompted many in my generation, including myself, to assume an active role in combatting the injustices that will ensue as a result of a Trump administration.
Throughout this election cycle, the Clinton campaign has been associated with mediocrity and the monotony inherent in our political system. Hillary Clinton was perceived as the “lesser of two evils.” She was never credited with inspiring individuals, instead, apparently discouraging a wide portion of the population. However, over the past four days, I have witnessed the fallacy of such a narrative. Thursday morning, despite the prevalence of grief, was accompanied by a new sense of resilience. As the sun rose on November 10th , so too did a new generation of social activists. I witnessed a faction identified by their lack of enthusiasm unite in their resolve to fight, and fight passionately, for a future in which all individuals, despite gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation, have an equal opportunity to pursue their ambitions.
In my first election, I voted for the first female candidate of a major political party. I also voted for acceptance, tolerance, and justice. No matter who occupies the White House, I have faith in those individuals who share in my conviction that we are better, and we are stronger, together.