I Tend to Be Fearful of the Unknown

By Caitlin Rulli

One of the things that shocked me most about this whole election season was how radical it was. From Trump on the way right to Bernie on the way left, this whole election upended a lot of assumptions about what could be achieved in politics. The American political system is stuck and broken, and unfortunately I think we’ve taken a huge step backwards. 

In my Global Politics class, we all went around the room and shared our feelings about the election. I spoke about Trump’s astonishing, willful ignorance. Not to be an armchair psychologist, but the man is a narcissist, any way you look at him. In a narcissist’s world, they are right and anyone that disagrees is wrong. To be an effective leader, I believe one should have introspection, the willingness to learn, and the willingness to say “I was wrong, but I’m trying to make things right now.” In my opinion, Trump is fundamentally unable to do that. Just listen to him talk about climate change or abortion or immigrants – he is flagrantly, flat-out wrong about so many crucial topics, and when presented with evidence to the contrary refuses to accept it. He consciously rejects anything that doesn’t fit within his rhetoric, rather than trying to grow as a person.

Will Trump be able to stand up at any point in these next four years and emphatically apologize about misguided actions? Will I believe him if a national tragedy strikes and he sends his condolences to those who have lost? Will he listen thoughtfully to those who are experts in their fields and have years of experience before making crucial decisions? I just don’t know.

Another girl in my class brought up the fact that now that we have elected a man with racist, homophobic, sexist, and ignorant ideals to be our leader, others who uphold these ideals will find it more acceptable to not only voice these opinions, but act on them, digging their heels in further. Impressionable young men and women will look at this man on TV, in the newspapers, on tabloid covers, and internalize everything he says. Having Trump ascend to the presidency with no experience and a repeated disrespect of so many American citizens is frightening, and the implications of his election are still widely unknown.

Ultimately, my peers and I tend to be fearful of the unknown. Trump has not given concrete answers on policy. He is seeking to fill his cabinet with his close friends and colleagues rather than experts in the fields, creating an echo chamber of his own opinions. Friends who never felt lesser than because of their race, now are afraid. Friends who were looking forward to getting married one day now wonder if they even can at the end of Trump’s presidency. Myself and others are now fearful that our reproductive rights and bodily autonomy will be violated. People who have insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act are now facing the possibility of that vanishing. There is so much we aren’t sure of.

My hope is that he proves us wrong. My hope is that he will truly be a President for all Americans, as he promised in his acceptance speech. My hope is that we do not let our fear cripple us. My hope is that my peers will join me in trying to fight for what we believe in. I don’t know how we will do it, but I have confidence that we will find a way. That is true of all Americans – we will fight for our principles. It is what our very nation was founded upon.