The Fight Starts Now

By Lauren Froehlich (Scripps College Undergraduate)

In wake of the election I felt shock and fear. Shocked at how a man with no experience, no qualification, and a knack for bringing out the ugliest side of America could have been given the opportunity to lead this country. I grew up being fed the truth about how awful we as Americans can be to each other. My history classes didn’t try to sugar coat American colonization, nor did it spare me the details of how this great nation was built on slavery, abduction, and the debasement of fellow human beings. During this election cycle I cringed at the atrocities that have emblazoned America with a scarlet letter, but never did I imagine that the past could come so close to the future. Never could I have seen the outcomes of Tuesday as more than a bad joke.

On Tuesday November 9th I felt a range of emotions. I felt sick that America could let this happen. I felt disgust at my fellow Americans who voted for the president-elect. I felt disappointment because I truly believed that in the end, common sense, dignity, decency, and progress would win out. I felt shame to bear the title of “America” because a white, racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, violent, intolerant country is not something I want any part of. The only phobia I have is a fear for the future of America and of the world. I’m scared to see how low we as humans can stoop in our treatment of others. And I’m terrified of how American’s hate fuelled actions will hurt the rest of the world. 

Interestingly enough my fears are not for my own well-being. There’s a reason for that and it’s called privilege. Yes, the very same thing that has landed Trump in office, but those with privilege can do more than just apologize. We can be allies. In more ways than not I have privileges. I have access to a college education, my parents both hold college degrees, I come from economic stability, and I am an un-targeted minority from a big, predominantly liberal, city. I have never had to face the scrutiny of my rights just because of my looks. I have not faced sneers and insults because people feel that my presence threatens their jobs or their security. I have not faced discrimination because of my sexual orientation and the sexism I have faced has been limited thanks to the feminists that surround me. But just because I have privilege does not mean I do not have stake in this country. If anything, it means I have more stake because I have more power to help create positive or negative change. As an American I am ready to stand as an ally with those less privileged. I am ready to support my Black, Latino, mixed race, female, LGBTQ+, and Muslim friends in any way that they want me to. 

Although people may want to blame Republicans, people who didn’t vote, or people who voted for 3rd parties I feel that it’s really not productive. Yes, it may make you feel better to shift the blame and for a while it’s okay lash out and blame others, but eventually we all need to take some responsibility because we live here too. It’s our America just as much as theirs. The fight starts now. This is not the end, but the beginning. I believe America can be great. We can never make America great again, because that implies that it used to be great in the past and that is a blatant lie. “Again” implies regression to a more primitive America. It implies a more racist, hateful, and prejudice America. However, when we the diverse, American people join together and support each other, we alone have the power to make America greater than it ever was.