Post-Election on Bates Campus

We can all agree that it has been a difficult week. The sentiments at Bates College on Wednesday, November 09, 2016 were that of despair and fear. I have never seen the campus this dead since Winter Storm Juno in 2015. Not only was it way too quiet, it was desolate, as if we were mourning the death of America. Of course for a liberal arts college, more people were melancholic than celebratory. Considering that most students stayed up until 3 am to hear Hillary Clinton call to congratulate Donald Trump and to find out she was not giving her speech, students that had morning classes were drained, emotionally and physically.

I was most surprised as to how professors decided to address this issue. I had professors from not addressing it at all, to tearing up talking about a Trump presidency. In my Sociology of Health and Illness course, we discussed the implications of a Trump presidency on the healthcare world. My professor had the week planned to lecture on Obamacare, but after the election results, it seemed redundant to discuss the Affordable Care Act since Trump has plans to dismantle it. After a unanimous vote, our class decided to watch Clinton’s speech at 10:30 am, instead.

It seemed after Clinton’s speech, the campus picked up just a little. The election results were the topic of discussion in every conversation, rightfully as it should be. Some professors decided to address the positive aspects of the election, specifically the important and progressive ballot referenda in Maine. Legalized marijuana, taxes raised 3% on income over $200,000 to create a fund for K-12, raised minimum wage, ranked-choice voting in federal and state elections, and $100 million bond for transportation infrastructure were all the referenda that passed. The only measure that was not passed was requiring background checks on gun sales between non-licensed dealers, which was not surprising.

A lot of my peers agree that this is an awkward, anxiety-filled period of waiting until Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. “Kind of like the calmness before a storm… or in this case, the calmness before a catastrophe,” a friend said to me. Until then, my professor had two beneficial recommendations for us college students that I think is worth sharing:

  1. Be kind to one another, and in particular, be mindful of the groups of people who might feel particularly threatened by this outcome. That is, racial minorities and international students. Self-care is also very important in this period.
  2. Be active in politics. If you are distraught by this election, find ways in participating in your local parties—there is no point in arguing on social media, which will make you even more frustrated. Have a voice in your local politics.