The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
By Allison Pickett
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I believe the number one responsibility of the President of the United States is to protect and defend the rights and liberties of all U.S. citizens. Like so many people, I was shocked and devastated by the outcome of the election. I didn’t ever once think Trump would be president. I didn’t think that someone who has said racist, sexist, Islamophobic things could possibly be put in the position of protecting all American people. I didn’t realize that my beliefs were not a reflection of the opinions of most other Americans. After comprehending what had happened, I found myself feeling a renewed sense of responsibility. As a result of the election, I am going to engage in political discussion, fight for equality, and support the causes I feel most passionate about through advocacy, education, and volunteerism.
I hate discussing politics with people. In the past, I’ve tried to be Switzerland when it came to discussions of political beliefs. I’ve always tried to remain neutral in conversation so that the other person(s) couldn’t gather what I believed. This is partially because I don’t agree with and support all stances of a singular party, but it’s mostly because it is uncomfortable to disagree. But after the result of this election, I understand how important it is to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations. Attempting to avoid uncomfortable conversations is what lead to a very uncomfortable result of the election. I failed during this election. I failed to express what issues mattered to me most and what motivated me to vote the way I did. And I failed to understand what issues mattered to my neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family most, and why they voted the way they did. I won’t fail again.
How I will fight (& how you can too)
Like so many people, I understand the need, and feel the responsibility, to fight harder than ever for my rights and the rights of others. As a woman, I am concerned for the safety and promotion of women and women’s rights. I am concerned that a man who has cavalierly bragged about sexual assault and who has been accused of sexually assaulting many women is sitting in the Oval Office. 91 percent of victims of rape and sexual assault are female. One in five women will be the victim of sexual assault in her lifetime. Rape is the most under-reported crime. And after the rapist at Stanford was given a slap on the wrist for raping an unconscious woman and after the countless Title IX violations that go unpunished, I am incredibly concerned for the safety of women in this country. I will fight for this cause. I will fight to bring this issue to light and to engage in national conversation about what we can do to protect women and men against sexual assault and rape.
Additionally, I’m going to join in and fight for the causes of others. Admittedly, I am more aware of issues that affect me personally. But I won’t turn a blind eye or remain silent when I witness injustice. I know what it feels like to feel unsafe because of a single aspect of who you are; as a woman, there have been times when I’ve felt unsafe walking alone. It is not acceptable for people in this country–the United States, the beacon of hope for equality and justice—to feel unsafe because of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion. I will not sit back and watch others fight for their rights; I will join in and fight with them. It is my hope that one day, when our children and grandchildren read in their history books that women used to make less money than men and that unarmed black men were shot dead by the police and that women wearing a hijab were harassed in public, they will be shocked because such issues will have been eradicated. This is the future I’m fighting for.
After casting my vote on Election Day, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the women who fought for me to have that right. Susan B. Anthony was never able to vote because she died prior to the passing of the 19th Amendment, but, because she dedicated her life to suffrage, I have that right today. Because women fought for the right to vote, the right to have their own bank accounts, the right to own property, the right to work, the right to pursue education, I get to live in a country where I will never experience those injustices. This gives me great hope that if I dedicate my life to ensuring equal pay, maternal and paternal paid time off, the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the promotion and protection of all people, then the fruits of my labor will lead to a more just society.
Despite the outcome of the election, I feel hopeful for the future. We understand, now more than ever, that We the People have a responsibility to our country and our future. We cannot simply blacken a dot beside a candidate’s name and entrust that person to singlehandedly protect, promote, and change our country. Change is collaborative, and the only way that we can truly change our country or allow our country to be changed is by working together.