I Hope We Continue to Be #StrongerTogether
By Nick Wyville (Harvard College Undergraduate)
Since Tuesday: I haven’t smiled. I haven’t been out of bed except for class. I skipped a midterm. I am, to say the least, sad. I invested my heart and soul into this election. I saw a future for myself and for my children. The day that Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for the highest office of the land, I felt hope. I was ready for Hillary Clinton to break that glass ceiling that we knew she would. I #FeltTheBern, I was #WithHer, and I knew that we were #StrongerTogether.
I will never forget what happened Tuesday night. As I sat in my room with my friends, I slowly watched the New York Times prediction algorithm. It began at an 82% chance of Hillary Clinton winning. It slowly started to shift, and I began to worry. As I saw Michigan turn red, the algorithm shifted to an over 50% chance of Donald Trump being elected president. Slowly, and shockingly, my friends and I watched it shift to over an over 95% chance of him winning. We were terrified.
Not only did we see Trump win the White House, but we also saw key senate races turn red. With the defeat of Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, I knew that the night was not going to end well. With no blue majority, all progress preceding this election could be overturned within a matter of days. What will happen to me? What will happen to my LGBTQ+ community, my Muslim friends, my undocumented friends? The people that have fought so much oppression to get where they are, will that progress just be reversed?
What about our world? Will President-elect Trump address the important issues of climate change? Mass incarceration? Education? Well, he believes that climate change is a hoax, and not an imminent threat facing our country, a threat that Bernie Sanders called the biggest threat facing our world. How will he address the racial issue of mass incarceration when he has been openly racist towards African-Americans and Latinos? And education? Don’t get me started.
Aside from the politics of this election, I am sad. I am sad that hatred prevailed. I am sad that children will see that you can become President of the United States by being openly racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic. I am sad that our country has been accepting of such bigotry. I am sad that 103-year-old Ruline Steininger, born before women had the right to vote, will not be able to see Hillary Clinton break the glass ceiling. Most of all, I am sad that I have friends who are legitimately fearing for their lives.
Rural Alabama did not feel like home to me. I felt constantly oppressed. I felt surrounded by people who only cared for themselves, and not for the good of society. But I did see uplifting things come from my fellow Alabamians. I saw friends, family, and teachers stand up against hatred even though it wasn’t popular. I saw people find a voice in politics, and now they will forever have that passion.
But now, I am finished being sad. I am motivated. Harvard has served as a sanctuary for me and for others in my same situation. I see love and passion to change the world in our class. I am empowered to work for the rest of my life to make sure that a disaster like this never happens again. I am already seeing hope among millions of people. Millennials will be the most powerful generation to come through our country, and I believe in the movements that we are beginning. From Black Lives Matter to #NotMyPresident, I feel empowered to continue these movements to effectively make change occur.
I hope that the Democratic Party unites and internally strengthens itself. I hope that in two years, we will be taking back the House and the Senate. I hope that in four years we will be replacing Donald Trump with the most progressive president that our country has ever seen. I hope that love will heal the wounds that have come from this. I hope that we continue to be #StrongerTogether.