Let’s (actually) make America great again

Berkeley High School teacher Chris Gilmartin marches with thousands of high school students to Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus to protest the presidential election of Donald Trump, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif.  Our writer calls for readers to take similar forward action. (Paul Chinn/AP)

There are too many people that have come out of this election feeling vastly disappointed and are now simply saying, “what’s done is done.” Those people are incredibly wrong; in fact, there is more to do now than ever before.

Allow me to provide you with an analogy. When you’re driving on the highway, trying to get from point A to point B, the traffic slows and clears in cycles, but it generally continues to move. Even with an accident on the road, traffic may slow down for a while, but when law enforcement gets on the scene, traffic is directed and begins to flow again.

The history of America is that highway. We’ve progressed on our path from A to B, but we haven’t quite reached our destination yet. On the way, there have been many accidents—wars we should not have fought, legislation that should not have passed, presidents that should not have won—but we’ve made it through all of these situations with time.

Something different happened two nights ago. On Tuesday, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, and it was no “traffic accident” on the highway. On Tuesday, the highway abruptly ended. Without any warning or an explanation, the road suddenly ceased to exist. Cars skidded to a halt and the whole world froze in its place. Law enforcement can try to ease the situation, but there is no getting around the fact that the road has ended, and Trump has attained the presidency. Our destination is still far out in the distance, visible to the drivers in the cars, but seemingly unattainable for the time being. We’re all just sitting in our vehicles, waiting for the road to reappear so we can continue driving.

The road will not simply reappear; we’ll need to rebuild it. But we have a choice. We can sit in our cars and wait around for the next four years, complaining that the road isn’t being fixed. We can sulk about the fact that we were making progress, we were so close to our destination, but suddenly we’ve stopped moving all together. People that say, “what’s done is done” are the people that would act this way: turn off their cars and wait for the road to reappear.

I’ve never been that kind of person. It may take time, and it may take effort, but I’m willing to get out of my car and get to work. If enough of us band together, we can find a way to rebuild our road toward our destination of progress and equality. If we all make it a point to become active citizens, we may even build a better road than the one we were on before.

Now more than ever is the time to get to work. We cannot simply wait for four years and hope our inherently flawed election system will fix itself. Time and time again, we see results we do not support, and still nobody makes an effort to cause change. I never agreed with Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again,” because his words are steeped in a desire to go back to a time of racial segregation, misogyny and white supremacy. But this slogan resonates with me now more than anything else. We do need to make America great again, because on Tuesday, America lost sight of itself. We need to come together to rebuild the road that blew up in our faces, and head back toward progress.

Sitting around will not work. People say that protesting the electoral college and our two-party system is a wasted effort, as a change so integral to our foundation is unlikely to occur. There are 27 amendments in the Constitution that suggest otherwise. It is incredibly difficult to get an amendment passed, as the Constitution is a sacred document to so many, and yet, it has happened 27 times. If enough people are passionate about change, change will occur. If enough people step out of their cars and work on the road, the road will be remade.

I can only speak for myself when I say that this election has wounded me. The implications of this absolutely horrifying political decision will affect us for more than just the next four years. I don’t know that working toward election reform will actually work, but I do know that I will drive down to Hartford, talk to my elected officials and do whatever it is that I can possibly do to institute change and make America great again.  


Gulrukh Haroon is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at gulrukh.haroon@uconn.edu.