Why Go Backward When We Can Move Forward?

By Rachel H. Janfaza (Harvard College Undergraduate)

All day I’ve heard people saying the same things:

“I’m depressed.”

“I’m sad.”

“This is awful.”

“They have the house, the senate, and the presidency.”

Yes, this may be true. But what is sitting around moping in sadness going to do? What is that going to accomplish? 

Throughout this whole election cycle we have witnessed the bitter hatred and polarization of one side against the other. At first, this came from the right. We even heard Donald Trump himself announce that he would not accept the results of the election if it meant that he had lost. 

That whole time, we said, “When they go low, we go high”. We were never going to stoop to that level. 

By no means do I support Donald J. Trump, but I also believe that this election was won fair and square. American democracy and our country’s electoral process put this man in power. Yes, he may have used disgusting rhetoric to get there, and I do not approve of what Donald Trump stands for. He is an egotistical demagogue. But the reality is that he is the man for whom our country voted. 

Leading up to the election, all of my classes, both over the past year in high school and this fall on a college campus, have discussed the election. Each conversation has been dominated by liberal thought. Here, we live in a liberal bubble. 

I have a liberal opinion, and a liberal view. That openness is what makes me uncomfortable each time the conversation sounds so one-sided. I crave diversity of thought, and I believe that if one is truly in support of American democracy, they should too. 

Yesterday the term “closeted supporter” was introduced. In my opinion, this term should not even exist in the first place. Since when does our country condemn the beliefs of opinionated individuals? Call me crazy, but as an open and liberal individual, I welcome those opinions that are contrary to mine. While I may disagree with those opinions, as I have a right to do so, those individuals have a right to disagree with me as well. Yesterday those opinions spoke loud and clear. 

Now, I mention that those individuals have a right to disagree with me. I am by no means claiming that I am in support of misogyny, bigotry, racism, or hatred. However I do believe that every American citizen, and global citizen for that matter, has a right to their own opinions. 

I fear that we are stooping to the level we promised never to get to. Yes, it is okay to be sad. But why go backwards when we can move forwards? Why go low when we can go high? We must embrace the diversity of thought that exists, not shy away from it and condemn those with opposing views. 

We must welcome all sides of the conversation at the table, and we must actively seek those perspectives that are different from ours. We have a job to do. We must reach across party lines, forget the labels and embrace human beings as people, regardless of their political beliefs. We must work together to create a community which is open to listening to these differing ideas. 

I believe that for myself as a young woman, and for all of us as young American citizens, we must take this as an opportunity to fight for the justice that all minorities and marginalized communities deserve. We cannot complain, we cannot say it’s unfair. We must recognize, as proved by the results of this election, the reality that the middle of our country is completely culturally different from our coasts. We need to work to provide more equal opportunities of education and economic success across the country, not just in concentrated areas. 

Despite the despair that we woke up to this morning, we can’t sit in desolation. We must embrace all the opinions of American citizens. Even those that differ from ours. This is still our country, this is still our home, and our voices are still ours. We have the power to stand together, to unite together, and to speak up together. After all, we are stronger together.