An election reflection

UConn students gather around the husky statue to participate in the Rally for the People and to show solidarity for marginalized communities at UConn on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus) 

It’s been a tough couple of days for people on this campus, and indeed around the country. Some are jubilant, of course, but there are those who are legitimately terrified of what they see as a nightmare that they can’t wake up from. From the undocumented students and citizens who have done their best to contribute to this country, to Muslims who are just as patriotic as anyone to a LGBT community that just wants equality, the future has become grim.

Matters are not likely to improve for these and other groups. I write this hoping that Donald Trump will be a leader for all Americans and hoping that I am wrong, but wishful thinking will only get me so far. I am not willing to take this for granted, and I am pleased to see many people here on campus are not either.

The protests on campus were very important. This is because students came together and announced that they rejected the bigotry and hatred that Donald Trump’s campaign has represented. They were important because they expressed solidarity with marginalized groups on campus, and because students announced that the future of America will never abandon the values of inclusiveness, respect and tolerance that are the core of our nation.

To those who are fearful of what the future will now bring, I ask that you look at the attitudes of the young people who voted around this country on Tuesday, and stood up for you on Wednesday. This is the future, people who value those of all faiths, races, and sexual orientations. People who overwhelmingly rejected the hatred spewed from the Trump campaign in favor of love and kindness.

I will not tell you everything will be ok, because to make such assumptions about the future is incredibly naïve. But the majority of voters, not just younger generations, did vote against Trump. He won because of the Electoral College, not because most Americans wanted him to be president. It may not be of much solace now, but perhaps it will be good to remember that the majority of the American people stand with you, even if they didn’t stand in exactly the right states.

This is the second time in five elections that the will of the people has been circumvented by the Electoral College, a system put in place in a different day and age that should certainly be reevaluated. Yes, I feel this way in part because Democrats have suffered both times, but on principle I believe it is intolerable that the leader of the free world is in essence decided by the will of voters in 10 states. Republican voices in Connecticut deserve to be heard just as much as much as Democratic voices in Mississippi, but until we change our process it will be more of the same.

Trump is president-elect now, and blaming this problem on the Electoral College, Hillary, the DNC or racism won’t do anything to solve the problem. If you do not like how the election turned out, then you must be active if you want change. So organize protests if you feel our society is marginalizing minorities. Call your representatives in Congress and the state legislature if you want the government to take action on affordable college, because as it stands they aren’t going to do it simply out of the kindness of their hearts. If you want corporate money out of politics, then flood our government with letters and phone calls.

Organize together, find people who believe as you do, and speak as one voice loudly enough that they cannot possible ignore you. The fight is never over, and those of us who want a better and brighter future will simply have to struggle harder than ever. For inspiration, look to the words of Martin Luther King: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”


Jacob Kowalski is a weekly columnist to The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at jacob.kowalski@uconn.edu.