By Katie Corrigan
I doubt that I will ever forget waking up on November 9, 2016 with the realization that Donald Trump will be our next president. The sense of disbelief hung over me as my brain tried to process what exactly was happening. As I walked through campus and carried on with my day I could not help but notice the overwhelming silence suspended around me. Similar to the experience I had that morning, I think the majority of campus was struggling with processing the idea of our new president. All politics aside, this outcome was unexpected overall. With Hillary leading in the polls up until that night, it was an outcome that seemed unrealistic. I remember talking and joking with friends the morning before confident in the election and its outcome. We joked how we knew anything was possible and that we should be on edge with the rest of the world but could not actually bring ourselves to think of the election going any other way. But it did.
No one in this world has made it through with everything they have ever wanted falling in place and working as expected. Roadblocks, disappointments, sudden changes and twists and turns are a part of day to day life that is unavoidable. It is what keeps life interesting and what causes us to grow and change. Growing up in a religious household I grew up living (or at least attempting to live) by the prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” A prayer nice in theory, hard in practice and the first thing I thought of when I learned of the results of the election. It is over America; Donald Trump is our new president. No amount of Facebook posts, tweets, opinion articles or data analysis will change this fact. The question now is how will we as a country respond?
Despite the fears and concerns held by much of our population over what the Trump presidency will hold for our country, I have not lost hope. What had caused me so much concern before the election was that the American people had become complacent in their way of life, disinterested in the world around them, unwilling to work towards a better world for all. But I was comforted yesterday by the range of responses both positive and negative that proved me wrong. To me the reactions I saw tell me that people are ready to take action, that they are awake and aware of the world around them. This brings me hope. It tells me that no matter what side of the debate you are on that people will stand for what they believe in. That we as the average citizens of America will take action and rise to meet the challenges of our country together and not let Washington take action on our behalf without our knowledge of it.
Given the response I have seen in the past couple of days my concerns for the coming years has lessened. Trump is one man but we are millions. Democracy still works and America still is a land of its people not of politicians. The only thing we have to fear is complacency, the average citizen giving up. Every step forward counts, no matter how small. Getting involved locally and encouraging others around you to do what they feel is right will start a trend that will grow and will not be able to be ignored. For those concerned for the future, know you are not alone, the past couple of days have proved that. So whatever your opinions are on political issues, I hope that you will take action to express them. To start the debates and challenge old ideas because that is where progress begins. America has always maintained that we are a country for our people, by our people, so let’s take action these next four years and make the best of what is to come.