Closure and Clarity
By Mikko Biana (Nova High School Student in FL)
I have held myself back from writing this multiple times, but I feel it’s important to share, not only for others to listen, but also, to have some closure and clarity in regards to my own emotions.
I am a 17-year-old Filipino boy from one of the bluest counties in the country. My home of Broward County, Florida, is diverse in race, religion, and linguistics, and this has been reflected in the political process, as Broward has voted staunchly Democrat in the most recent elections. The former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is from my county, for crying out loud. As such, I live in a fairly liberal home in a Bernie Bro community.
When Hillary Clinton was chosen to be the Democratic nominee, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest. I, like many of my teenage, liberal-minded friends, had been a Bernie supporter, but I was more realistic in knowing that the DNC was a tad skewed in favor of the moderate, more centrist candidate. Nevertheless, I wasn’t a “Bernie or bust” person, and knew that I had to support Hillary in the upcoming election.
I had first seen my support of Hillary as a tactic to keep Donald Trump out of the office rather than genuinely supporting her. She had flip-flopped on many of her beliefs, and I did not take her to be as progressive as I had wanted. But as the general election came closer, I realized that she had accomplished so much in her lifetime, and was the most qualified candidate to have ever run for the office. I can list her accolades, but I’m sure you know all of them already.
Every poll out there predicted a Clinton victory. I checked FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times almost religiously for weeks on end. Although I am not of voting age, I was prepared for the election to finally be over and to inaugurate the country’s first woman president. All the odds had been against Trump.
But for whatever reason — the underwhelming voter turnout among Latinos and blacks, the failure of the Clinton campaign to reach the disaffected white middle-class — it wasn’t enough. Donald Trump is now our president-elect, and I’m stunned.
Watching Clinton supporters bawl in the Javits Center. Listening to Hillary’s concession speech. Listening to Trump’s victory speech. Each event rendered the same shock, frustration, and sadness within me. Tears have flowed non-stop since Wednesday morning.
I can see people’s disagreements with Hillary Clinton. Her “damn emails”, her issues in Benghazi, her paid speeches on Wall Street, and her accepting of donations from large corporations. She is nowhere near the perfect candidate. But to tell me that she is inferior to a man who is clueless on policy and is blatantly discriminatory toward multiple minority groups is a slap in the face as a person of color and a child of immigrants.
Friends and family are telling me to see the best of the presidency and hope everything turns out just fine. But I am fearful of everything Trump is capable of, especially with his Vice President and with a majority-Republican Congress. I am scared for my Muslim best friend and his hijab-wearing mother, who is like my second mom. I am scared for my LGBTQ+ friends. I am scared for my Latino friends. I am scared for my black friends. I am scared for myself.
But what I am not afraid of is my undying spirit. He cannot shake me. He cannot make me quiver behind my battle cry. The beauty of my youth is that I am able to shape this generation and that I will one day teach my children to break down walls and, instead, fortify bridges.
Donald Trump represents the worst of America, and shines light on such ugliness. Hillary Clinton represents the intuitive progress that we should have been rewarded. The deed has been done. Congratulations. You think you have won, but using the phrase “President Trump” is far from victory. When they go low, we go high. Off to new heights we soar.