While the Daily never formally endorsed a candidate for this year’s election, Tuesday’s results came as a crushing blow for many. And though we pride ourselves on being politically inclusive and accepting of all voters’ decisions, electing Donald Trump as our next president represents more than just a political victory for a portion of conservative voters. Trump is not just a Republican president-elect; he is a misogynist, a xenophobe and a disbeliever in democracy. He has bragged about sexual assault, targeted minorities and threatened to strip women, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community of basic civil liberties. Thus far, Trump has been an agent of hate in a country that was founded upon ideals of unification, equality and opportunity.
But above all else, Trump is a symbol of America’s collective admission that our country is broken. We are divided, resentful and anxiety-ridden, many of us willing to put our future in the hands of an extremist who values closed doors and contempt over open tables and benevolence. Our country has spoken loud and clear with a demonstration of stark desperation, a plea for drastic change and a so-called “greater America.” And while many of us — especially at Tufts — may not identify with the “we” or the country I speak of, we must not submit to the temptation to distance ourselves from our own nation’s decision. While those of us who were not personally complicit in endorsing our future president’s victory may feel slighted or betrayed — foreigners to a major portion of our population — now is the time to come together, not to flee or separate.
For many, today has been called a day of mourning, a period to grieve for the shocking revelation that the divisiveness that flows through America runs much deeper than we thought. For even more, it is a day ridden with fear — fear of violence, of deportation, of a loss of certain rights and respect from the international community. And while these grievances are both warranted and necessary elements of dealing with emotional pain and political anxiety, we must hastily abandon fear and disappointment for unity and constructive mobilization.
As Hillary Clinton noted in her concession speech Wednesday morning, the result of the 2016 presidential campaign is not just about one person or one election. While Trump may seem to be the sole representation of our nation’s most pressing problems, much can still be mended despite his future incumbency. Progress and inclusion have not been deemed impossible. Hatred and violence can still be combatted; unity can still be achieved. Our nation still has checks on power and opportunities to be politically involved all the time — not just during our presidential elections. Participation in local politics is one of the most important civic duties we hold, especially as young people. Lower level elections — as was demonstrated by the important issues at stake in our ballot measures on Tuesday — are one of the most effective ways to participate in direct democracy when democratic ideals may seem to be crumbling on the national level. Showing support for particular issues you feel have been — and will continue to be — insufficiently dealt with on higher levels can be as simple as donating to a cause, showing up to a rally or writing to a local politician or senator. If we strive to encourage inclusive dialogue on all levels of the political spectrum, across all states, communities and ideological borders, we can find productive and unifying solutions. Trump by no means has to be seen as an immovable barrier to strength, progress and growth.
As both a university and a nation, we must accept the election’s result and look to the future. If we owe Trump anything, as Clinton said in her concession speech, it is an open mind and the chance to lead. No matter how we feel about Trump’s past, we must root for him to advance the security and well-being of the American people. That is our only path to healing and moving forward.