We Woke Up in Trump’s America

We are still in shock. Over the last 48 hours, in a multitude of different capacities, this country experienced a paradigm shift unlike any that we, as students, have lived through yet. 

This election marked an apparent climax to dozens of issues that have dominated discourse on our campuses and our country for several years now. We look back on our coverage over the last four years and see a reliable trend: as public rhetoric became more combative, both liberal and conservative sides began to prioritize combat over conversation. Then, on Nov. 8, reality television star, businessman, and bigot Donald Trump was elected into the highest office, leaving some devastated, others energized, and many fearful.

Tuesday evening saw social media and our campuses erupt with blind optimism, misinformation, and ignorance. That being said, we at TSL, respect the opinions of those different from ours and we believe in open dialogue. But we cannot respect racism, bigotry, misogyny or any other harmful language, or the people that espouse it.

Our job is to report accurately and disseminate the facts. As student journalists, we remain committed to well-balanced coverage of events, actions, and uprisings across the campuses. As a public forum, we will continue to provide a space for a variety of opinions and constructive dialogue. As a newspaper, we promise to uphold journalistic ethics by avoiding sensationalism, yellow journalism, and the creation of an echo chamber. 

This year, when voters filled out their ballots, many felt their choices were bleak. We were among the disillusioned, what with the biased media influence and our growing distrust of current institutions of power. For those on the Right, many consider Trump's appointment a huge victory over safe spaces, political correctness, and federal control.

Following a long history of disenfranchised individuals, on both sides of pretty much every issue, this polarizing refusal to empathize was the final nail in the coffin. For some, much like Barack Obama in 2008, Trump represented change and Clinton symbolized the failing establishment.

Now here we are—a Trump presidency. 

To anti-Trump protestors, it's not the people who supported him you should be angry with. Those are just people. It's the system that elected Trump you should blame. And it's on you, too. Our sordid history has led us to this point. Many of us failed to take the pent-up vexation behind Trump's antics and vulgar campaign seriously, the media elite included. Consider this is a wake-up call. This is reality. 

Across party lines and ideologies, we are all responsible and complicit in the disaster that is Trump, and placing the blame on anyone else is fruitless. This does not exclude all the progressive “liberal” people that weaponize their alleged superior moral compasses, as if that's what sets them apart from a Trump supporter. We all need to take some responsibility instead of simply pointing fingers. 

Rest assured, racism and bigotry existed well before Trump. American exceptionalism and isolationism have relegated its own people to the fringes of society with no goal but to elevate its own ego, advertising dreams of grandeur and success that are only achievable for some. Meanwhile, for years, we've ignored our shortcomings and bragged about our supposed victories, triumphs that often included the mass murder of people that were different from us. The ramifications of this genocide continue today. 

The longer the problem persists unresolved, the longer it festers. 

We incarcerate our own people to set an example and exact control. We make it hard for immigrants and non-native English speakers to vote. We're selective and revisionist about the history we teach. We rely on biased, corporate news that opts for shock value and profit over the distribution of civic information. And we only care about Democratic and Republican apparatuses every four years, an establishment that eventually implements policies which harm the everyday American and distract from the rich and powerful social movements on the ground. 

With eager Claremont students jumping to be involved, we remind you to consider your positionality. While this election result affects us all in divergent ways, we each need to take carefully calculated steps to move forward, being sensitive to those who might experience the world differently. This is a protracted struggle and change never happens overnight. 

We urge you to use Trump's election to mobilize people, hand out literature, and educate people. No, not all Trump supporters are racist, misogynist, xenophobes, but the man we just elected into office validates that kind of violence. It's not necessarily Trump himself, but what he enables his constituents to do. Impact over intent, always. The white-lash against marginalized communities is real, and our country has quickly escalated into hatred on all sides.

Don't wait every four years to care about the world we live in … because real change happens between elections, too. 

Stay up, Claremont. 

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