November 16, 2016

KYLIE’S ROOM | Where Do We Go From Here?

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“How do we move forward?” This is a question I have asked myself every day since last Tuesday. In the hours following the election, my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds were in uproar. Questions like “How did this happen?” and “Who voted for him?” covered my newsfeed. Seemingly everyone had banded together in reaction to the election results. In the days following the election on the web and on campus, people shared their fears, their qualms and their shock at what had happened.  But in the week since the election, conversation has died down considerably. The outrage has died. More and more, I hear people saying “We should just move on,” or “It’s done, we can’t do anything about it.”

“Move on.”  That phrase signals defeat to me. It signals giving up, giving in and accepting the status quo. I refuse to “move on” and I refuse to accept an individual whose actions are deplorable as my president. On November 8th, 2016, a man who is bigoted and misogynistic was elected as the 45th President of the United States. He is a man who ran a presidential campaign that encouraged racism, xenophobia and homophobia. And a man who makes light of sexual assault, who ridicules women based off of their physical appearance and who believes that women should be “punished” for having abortions. This man, President-elect Donald Trump, will be the “Leader of the Free World,” but under his leadership, I do not see us as free. Everyone has something to lose. While running his campaign on the notion that he will “Make America Great Again,” Trump has continuously made campaign promises that will negatively impact millions of people across the country. If these pledges become policies, minority groups will be marginalized. He has pledged to “Make America Great Again” by repealing the Affordable Care Act [Obama Care] leaving millions of Americans without healthcare. He has promised to “Make America Great Again” by building a wall to stop the “bad hombres” from coming in and stealing our jobs and raping our women. He will make America great by profiling and banning immigrants coming into the country based on their religion. He will make America great by refusing to condemn white nationalists who support him, and instead welcoming them into the White House.  Trump will “Make America Great Again” by implementing stop-and-frisk nationwide, which disproportionately affects young men of color.  Studies found that nearly 9 out of ten New Yorkers subjected to stop-and-frisk were innocent.  And although Trump has recently flip- flopped on his stance regarding gay marriage, the Republican Party platform has been called the most anti LGBTQ agenda in the party’s history.  With his questionable policies and biased rhetoric comes the normalization of bigotry that in recent days has become apparent through one of his top White House choices and the actions of some of his supporters.

We should NOT move on.

As Donald Trump and his supporters celebrate his triumph, as they celebrate how he will “Make America Great Again” by building a wall, by banning Muslims, by overturning Roe V. Wade, we should not “move on”. Instead we should continue to vocalize our disgust, our outrage and our disapproval for a man who has values that may very well destroy many of the civil rights advancement gained since the 1960s. But while we must serve as a check and balance against bigotry, we also must be focused on what is next and look to those who can help us create change. We should celebrate the triumphs of this election. For example, there are now 38 women of color in Congress, making the 115th  Congress will be the most racially diverse in its history In addition the Senate has increased the number of minority women from 1 to 4.  Finally, I implore my peers to become more involved in politics, to be active citizens and vote, especially in state and local elections. Instead of moving on, we should move forward by mobilizing in and around an agenda. We must not only pay attention to proposed policies that might be impactful us, but those that might impact our peers and support politicians that aim to do good for all people, and not just some, so that come 2020, we will be ready for positive change within our government.