Trump won. Now what?

Jane Mather-Glass, Opinion Columnist

President Trump.

Unfortunately we’re going to have to hear those words for the next four years. All we can do now is come together, be here for each other, and make sure our voices are heard.

These next four years seem scary right now, and they may be. It’s hard to accept the reality of this event that seemed so impossible. Hillary Clinton was probably the most qualified candidate we’ve seen in a long time, and she lost to a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic businessman who is heinously unqualified for this position.

Right now what we need to do is educate ourselves on the power that Trump actually does have. It’s important to remember that he can’t just wildly do all the things he said he would in his campaign. But if those things do become realistic, we have to find out what we can do to make a difference. We have to learn how our representatives can help us, what decisions are made at a state versus national level and how we the people can make change happen.

In the meantime, we need each other. If you’re white, and especially a white male, listen to the concerns of your peers of color, your peers who are Muslim, undocumented, queer, disabled, female, or of any other group our President-Elect has targeted. Listen and use the privilege you have to make sure their voices are heard. This doesn’t mean speak for them; it means make sure everyone else is hearing them.

To be honest, I’m really worried about these next four years. And I have the privilege of being white, so I have less to be afraid of than so many people at this school. I was disappointed, discouraged, defeated, and scared on Election Day, but I can’t even imagine what people around me must be going through. It’s really upsetting because this election made me realize how many people out there disrespect my existence and the lives of the people I love.

Luckily, we live in Evanston, which is almost entirely a safe space. We are stronger together here. That doesn’t mean we will be unaffected by Trump’s decisions, but we have an incredibly supportive community here that is passionate about fighting against injustice.

It’s scary, though, to think about leaving, about going to college or starting a career in a place that will likely not be as accepting as Evanston. Almost all of us, at some point, will be in a new place while Trump is in power, where we will inevitably encounter those who think of him as a role model. We have to use our voices to stand up and tell people that their actions are not okay. We must make it known that Trump’s actions are not right.

The answer isn’t just to flee to Canada or wherever you may want to go–especially since the majority of people who I’ve heard saying this are privileged and white. Now is the time to stay and fight for what we know is right, to fight against injustice and oppression and bigotry.

I realize that some people in this school may support Trump, and that this may isolate you. I know that Trump seems great for our future because he’s successful, passionate, and he encompasses some republican values. I urge you, though, to look at the community around you, a community so diverse and unique, and think about how this presidency will affect them.

From what we can see right now, these next four years aren’t going to be easy. There is no simple solution or easy way out. Yet, if we unite and remember that we, the people, are powerful, we can survive these next four years. There’s no denying how discouraging this is, how upsetting it is that we almost had an exceptionally qualified woman president but lost our chance at electing her. We instead chose someone who makes us feel unsafe in our own skin.

Right now what you can do is check in with the people you know who are threatened by our president, make sure they are okay and know they are loved. Come together and fight against injustice, attend protests, and know what you can do to fight oppression so that people are safer in their everyday lives.