Complacency is not an answer

emmaopinionsFor over a week now, we’ve known that the President-elect is none other than Donald J. Trump, and suddenly all of my previous articles seem so horribly petty. Some of you are furious, dejected and heartbroken, while others are euphoric. If you hadn’t yet gathered, I am very much a part of the former group. And, I know I’m not alone in this. Millennials overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in last week’s election. Luckily for us Clinton supporters here at Concordia, we’re on a college campus, which means we are literally surrounded by millennials. And when we’re not with students, we’re with those in academia, who also largely supported Clinton.

Concordia has handled this election with grace. President Craft’s email was nothing short of perfection, stating, “The work of the nation belongs not to elected officials alone, of whatever party, but to us all.” So, angry millennials, what will we do with this responsibility? It’s a responsibility that has been there forever, but for many of us, this is the first time we’re realizing it. For many of us, it’s the first time this responsibility has ever been relevant. As a friend of mine put it, “It’s like you finally got moved up to the adult table at Thanksgiving dinner, and when you sat down, the adults handed you a plate of their shit and said, ‘Here’s my shit.’” While this may not be the most flawless of metaphors, it makes sense. We finally got to vote for a president to represent us, and we got one that almost all of us voted against. We got screwed. We got handed shit. And now we have the responsibility of doing something with it.

As for me, I’m figuring out how to deal with a huge sense of guilt in knowing that the only thing I did to support the Clinton campaign was vote for Hillary and maybe make some stupid jokes about Trump on Twitter. Now, it’s too late for me to make a difference in terms of who our next president is. But, it’s not too late for me to make a difference in terms of fighting for the policies that I believe in, and the same goes for all of you. Volunteer, donate, lobby, protest, do whatever you can for whatever you believe in, no matter what that may be. Joking about Trump with your friends isn’t enough. Now is not a time for complacency, and it is not a time for apathy. Don’t lose faith in our country. Put all your faith in it and then fight with everything you have. Together, millennials can make a difference. Together, Cobbers can make a difference.

This election is infuriating for many reasons, but for me, the greatest of all of them is that it has made me angry with people. I do not want to hate people. I want to hate ideas. But, it has been so incredibly difficult to reconcile my fellow Americans’ evident ideals with my own values. I am so mad that when I saw a “Make America Great Again” hat in Dining Services last Wednesday, my first reaction was to go kick the kid’s ass. This is a problem for a couple of reasons, one of which is that I’m 5’2” and have no idea how to throw a punch. The other is that ideologies and maxims should never result in the hatred of a person, only the person’s ideas. Cobbers, as we fight for what we believe in, as I hope we will, we must be careful not to cross this thin line. Our peers should never be dehumanized, never be judged and never be terrorized for their beliefs. And believe me, I understand how difficult this may be when their beliefs align with something so opposite to every grain in your being. We must fight, but we must fight with dignity. We cannot fight our peers, only their ideas.

We are a small private college in the upper Midwest. We are not exactly known for our political activism. But, we are angry and I urge all of you to do something productive with that anger.

And with that, I leave your corn buttered.

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