Last week, Donald J. Trump claimed the position as the 45th president of the United States. The Voice was in the newsroom until the very end of election night—until President-elect Trump gave his acceptance speech at around 3:30a.m.. As an organization committed to informing the Simmons community, the Voice will share its own opinion on
how we can start to move forward with the results of the 2016 presidential election.
Disclaimer: This article is meant to provide perspective, not to estrange Trump supporters, as there are various political views held within the College.
First, it is important to recognize that there are various identities represented at Simmons and this election has negatively targeted people of color, Muslims, women, members of the LGBTQIA+, and the disability community. President-elect Trump has marginalized people who fall into these groups and made them fear for their safety now more than ever from headlined hate crimes across the country.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there have already been more than 300 reported hate crimes since President-elect Trump won the election. Even universities across the nation have seen hate crimes incited by the election results. At the University of Michigan, a Muslim student reported being harassed by a white male who demanded that she remove her hijab or he would “set her on fire with a lighter.”
The FBI’s 2015 “Hate Crimes Statistics Report” revealed that the number of hate crimes rose by six percent. This report pointed out that 59 percent of the victims were discriminated on account of their race and ethnicity.
Although people of color only make up approximately 24 percent of the student body, according to the Simmons website, it is essential that we acknowledge white privilege when dealing with the election results. Many do not understand why people are taking to the streets to protest the new president, using the hashtag #notmypresident. Yet, people feel that their voices do not matter, so protesting is one of the ways that they can voice their emotions/frustrations to affect change.
However, the Voice does not condone the violence of some protesters, but rather the act of peaceful protesting. We may not all share the same political views, but we must respect each other’s method of processing the election results.
Second, many of us may feel numb and stagnant with the thought of President-elect Trump leading our country for the next four years. Others may already be feeling fired up and ready to make their voices heard. What is now evident is that we must all become more politically active; we cannot be idle in politics any longer.
The CNN article “25 ways to be politically active…beyond the safety pins” gives some basic ideas on how we can accomplish the task of becoming a political activist. Some of the ways include “know who your local legislators and politicians are,” “knowing how to get in touch with them (and actually make them listen)”, “identifying an issue you care about and pursue it,” and “attending town hall meetings.”
Paying attention to what happens politically may seem like an extra burden, but we have the opportunity to influence the direction of our country, a right which is not recognized in some countries. We may not all agree on politics, but we need to listen to one another and we need to each take responsibility for our political duty.