As we, the editors at The Hill News and what we sense is much of the St. Lawrence University community, begin to process the results of Tuesday’s election, we realize that we are totally unprepared for the consequences of America’s final decision. This is probably because all data and statistics published by the likes of the NY Times and CNN led us astray by pointing, assuredly, to a Clinton victory. After months of discounting Trump’s candidacy, his rhetoric, and the enthusiastic participation of his supporters as illegitimate or deplorable, we neglected to consider the serious possibility of him becoming President and the ramifications that this entails.
Over the past year and a half, Trump has campaigned on an inflammatory platform of racism, sexism, prejudice, and white supremacist values. This rhetoric has incited violence at his rallies and created a culture of fear among those who feel that the establishment and the elite have left them behind. These people came out to vote on Tuesday night in unanticipated numbers in rural and urban environments alike, while apathetic Independents and over-confident Democrats stayed home. Many of those who couldn’t believe a man accused of multiple counts of sexual assault, among other accusations, could ever become president awoke to the unbelievable reality of a new national order. Students took to Facebook and other social media platforms to express their disappointment and disbelief at a scenario that feels concerningly dystopian and nightmarish.
America’s disenchanted voting population spoke for our nation on Tuesday night. In doing so, they have called for a reversal of all the accomplishments of the Obama administration, including a repeal of Obamacare. They voted for the potential for three new conservative judges on the Supreme Court, which forebodes the possible overturning of the current Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide. They voted for a multibillion-dollar wall to be erected on the U.S./Mexico border. They voted to defund Planned Parenthood and the essential services it provides for women nationwide. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, America sent a message to the rest of the world that we are okay with a man who demonizes Muslims as terrorists and plans to aggravate tenuous relations in the Middle East by initiating all out bombings on the Islamic State. We excused months of erratic and senseless tweets, insults directed at veterans and military families, hateful comments toward Latinos and the black community, and ignorant remarks about women and the female body. We forgot that our diversity makes us great and instead supported a belief system of exclusivity and discrimination – the belief system that will govern us for the next for years if we admit defeat and allow it to.
As Obama’s presidency comes to a close, Trump’s looming inauguration is a sobering reminder of the privileges we have enjoyed under an inclusive and respectful administration. Let us not forget the progress we have seen in our lifetimes or the dreams for progressive change that inspired us to rally around Bernie Sanders and then nominate Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential candidate in the hopes of shattering the glass ceiling.
It is our hope that this unprecedented outcome serves to inspire and unite future leaders, policymakers, and activists within our university and throughout the country. It is up to us, the up-and-coming changemakers and public servants, to bridge the gaps between parties, generations, socioeconomic classes, and those who feel neglected by the nation they call home.
The Hill News stands with those in the St. Lawrence community who feel unsafe or attacked by the president-elect. We continue, however, to offer our pages as spaces for respectful and meaningful discussion among students, faculty and staff members, and alumni of differing beliefs. In this period of darkness, we have faith that our community can remain a candle in what is perhaps the greatest wilderness we’ve ever encountered.
The Hill News Editorial Board