Political protests surge as the election sweeps through America

Press Perspective, Opinion Editor

The Situation So Far

On November 9, a change of colossal proportions struck The United States. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in what has been called the greatest upset in modern political history, won enough electoral votes to secure the presidency instead of the expected winner, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In addition, the Republican Party secured both the House and the Senate, forging a unified Republican government.
In response to Trump’s victory, protests erupted through the country, flooding the streets of New York City, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and many others with angry and frightened citizens. Hillary Clinton, after all, won the popular vote by over two million votes, but lost in the Electoral College, prompting protestors to vocally declare that Trump does not represent their values, and that he is “not their president.”
This wave of protests spread to schools as well, spurring walkouts in Los Angeles, Portland, and even at Issaquah High School. Teenagers, an age group generally considered apathetic to politics, voiced their dissatisfaction and concern along with the many others in the days after the election, revealing that the political divisions within American society run far deeper than anyone imagined.

The Outcry of a Nation

As the immediate results of the election poured in on that Tuesday night, many people stood in disbelief as the map turned red in several unexpected states. Disbelief gripped millions as Trump’s projected elector count passed 270, securing him the presidency. Earlier in the night, nearly every poll and pundit had predicted the election for Hillary Clinton, but that sense of security then transformed into an overwhelming sense of concern and fear.
Many Hillary voters had stood vehemently against everything Trump campaigned on, for many of them are or know people who are Latinx, African-American, Muslim or members of the LGBTQ+ community. At the time, a million questions raced through these people’s heads: Will Trump make true on his campaign promises? Will modern advances in woman’s rights, civil rights, and equality for LGBTQ+ members be erased? Does Canada’s immigration website work yet?
Despite many claiming that these people are overreacting, it is important to put oneself into their shoes at this time. While many of these people are frightened because they could feel these changes first-hand, all Americans, on a matter of principle, should be concerned with clear civil and human rights violations proposed or implied by Donald Trump throughout the campaign.
People should speak out against injustice whenever it occurs, not just when it affects their lives. After all, the last, most powerful protector of the people’s rights is the people.

Moving Forward

Overwhelmed with the prospect of what could happen in the next four years, many people have given up on the American political system. Some, even, have even gone as far as to say that Donald Trump is “Not my President,” which has become an incredibly popular hashtag on Twitter.
In one sense, this claim is justifiable, for it declares a rejection of everything that Trump stands for. The America that Trump represents, to the people using the hashtag, is not the America that they know, but rather a cruel distortion of it. On the other hand, it does far more harm than good to bury one’s head in the sand and pretend that President-Elect Trump is not a reality. By existing in a state of childish denial, these people fail to channel their outrage through the proper channels of political action, which would go a long way in making sure Trump respects the message that the people are sending.
Therefore, to move forward, as a nation, everyone, liberal, moderate, or conservative, must accept that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. They do not, however, have to agree with his policies, and each person must exercise the full extent of his or her political voice to resist the policies that Trump proposed on the campaign trail. He, as well as Congress, works for the American public, so fight tooth and nail to make sure he knows what is important to all Americans, not just the ones that voted for him.