Moving Forward without Moving On: A Re(action) to Tuesday’s Election

For many Americans, it has been a difficult week. Be it our electoral system, our peers, or our political leaders, we’re all tired of or fed up with something. And while moving forward may seem like a challenge, it is what we have to do now. However, moving forward doesn’t mean giving up or forgetting what happened last week – quite the opposite, actually. Here are five ways we can move forward as a community in the wake of this year’s election results.

We can promise never to let anyone we encounter get away with making a sexist, racist, homophobic, or otherwise derogatory remark. Letting these comments slide, now more than ever, reinforces the wildly incorrect notion that some of us are less worthy than others on the sole basis of their identity. Words matter. Let’s use them constructively.

We can promise never to behave in such a way that undermines our credibility as thinkers, writers, or speakers. It can be tempting to lash out against people of opposing viewpoints through violence or derogatory slurs, but doing so never changes people’s minds, let alone earns their respect. Let us think, write, and speak for personal catharsis, not to convince masses of people to believe what we believe. We must write confidently, but not condescendingly; protest peacefully, not violently.

We can promise not to be silent. Not everyone has come to terms with what happened yet; daresay few have. It is important to keep this year’s election results on our radar, to keep talking about the national circumstances and sentiments that brought us to this point. Just because the results are out does not mean that conversations about social issues and the future of our country are over.

We can promise to remain involved in politics, especially at the local level. Consider the version of the electoral map in which only millennials’ votes are accounted for – it’s an overwhelming sea of blue. That’s our country’s future. Change begins locally; as we grow in age and experience, we must demand a greater say in what happens to the world around us. Whether this means volunteering, campaigning, or even running for public office, let us use our capacities to prove what we, especially as women, can do.

Finally, we can promise to show solidarity with our peers who are even more marginalized than we are. While I fear for my rights, I do not fear for my life, as so many Americans do. In the upcoming weeks, months, years, we must make it our responsibility to stand by those who feel invisible or threatened, whether due to their nationality, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or socio-economic status.

In the past few days, many of us have felt frustration, confusion, fear, and uncertainty, but hopefully comfort as well: the outpouring of solidarity Bucknellians have shown one another represents a step forward, even if the rest of the country chooses to move backward. So thank you, Hillary, for being as tenacious as you were graceful throughout your campaign. The next generation of Americans – our generation – will work tirelessly to shatter the glass ceiling to which you brought us so close. Your efforts will not be in vain; as we move forward, we know that we are truly stronger together.