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Why I am Mourning for Our Nation: Post-Election Thoughts.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Gettysburg chapter.

This post is in reflection to the rhetoric I’ve witnessed after the 2016 Presidential Election. It is not intended to marginalize or stereotype any one group of people. It is not intended to belittle your political views or your personal experiences. If you are suffering anxiety or depression or mental health effects, or are fearing for your safety, please seek help.

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If you are experiencing harmful or suicidal thoughts call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

1. Primaries.

During the primaries, I didn’t pay much attention to the candidates from either major party. Since I am registered to vote as an Independent, and my state requires voters to be affiliated with a party to take part in the primary elections, I didn’t think much of it. I knew the nominees would eventually dwindle down to two candidates, and then I would decide to pay attention.  I never imagined that Donald Trump would be the winner of the GOP nomination. Perhaps if over ten different Republicans hadn’t been running in the same election, and hadn’t been siphoning off votes from each other, things would’ve worked out differently. Perhaps if the candidates worked together to take down Donald Trump, rather than working with him to pick each other off one-by-one (and consequentially leaving Donald Trump unopposed), Marco Rubio would have been the next President of the United States of America rather than Donald Trump.

But what happened, happened. We cannot go back in time to change the past.

2. Pre-Election

Once Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton became the two presidential candidates for the Republican and Democratic National Parties, respectively, I knew it was time to start paying attention. However, the media coverage and attacks on both candidates, and the hate rhetoric spewing from both parties made me sick. When I read news articles to try and be informed, and then glanced at the comment sections, I was hurt by all the negativity. When I read some of my friend’s posts on social media, I wondered how they could feed into all of this hatred. When I watched the presidential debate, it focused more on personal scandals than actual policies, and I questioned how I could be an informed voter when all I was being informed on was irrelevant events that happened years ago. I began to just tune out everything about the election. My absentee ballot sat in my desk for a month.

My mom told me to mail in my ballot before the end of October, so come the week before Halloween I decided to crack down and do my research. For my first presidential election, I wanted to vote for a candidate based on their issue stances and their policies, NOT on their personal life. I went on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson’s websites and read every single one of the policies they had listed. For each of the candidates, I was pleasantly surprised by some of their stances and policies. For other policies, they were exactly what I had expected.

I spent the rest of the day informing myself not only on the stances and policies of the presidential candidates, but all of the other candidates listed on my ballot as well. In the end, I decided NOT to vote for Donald Trump.

I decided not to vote for Donald Trump, not because of his outlandish comments toward and about women, not because he mocked a disabled person, not because of the opinions posted on the social media accounts of my friends, and not because of the negative things reported about him in the media, etc. I did not vote for Donald Trump because he was the candidate whose policies I agreed with the least.

I may be criticized for this but I firmly believe that a president should be voted for based on their qualifications (are they an American citizen and over 35-years-old), policies, and issue stances. Ifyou are still undecided on who to vote for after looking at all of the policies and plans, then you should take into account other factors such as political experience.

**ONLY if the ways in which a candidate handles their personal life affects the ability of that person to do their job as president, should that personal life of the candidate be taken into account. For instance, I have friends and family who do not personally believe in the marriage between people of the same sex, however still support the right for others to have same-sex marriages and other LGBTQA+ rights. Policies first, personality second.

3. Post-Election.

I am disappointed in the outcome of this election. I am disappointed because the candidate who I agreed with the least is the candidate that won. However, I am most disappointed in the reactions of the general population, especially on social media.

Disclaimer: before you get angry and exit out of this article because of something said in one of the sections below, please read ALL of the sections below.

To the people that fear for their safety following this election:

To the LGBTQA+ community, people with mental and physical disabilities, victims of sexual assault and violence, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, the black community, the Latina/o/x community, and all other people emotionally affected by the outcome of this election: I cannot even begin to fathom how you feel. The things you fear every day have just become even more real. You should not have to fear for your safety because of who you are as a person.

I am not going to pretend to empathize with you and I am not going to apologize in hopes that it will make you feel better. It is awful and terrible and extremely upsetting that you fear for your safety. If you need help coping with these election results, please consult the links above. The United States of America is here for you and supports you, even if it does not feel that way right now. We will do everything in our power to fight for your rights as human beings, even if it means starting from the bottom-up. I love you all.

To the people who voted for Hillary Clinton:

I am sorry. This loss is absolutely terrible and I understand why you are upset, pissed off, angry, etc. I really do empathize with those emotions, because I feel the same way. However, I do not understand the ways some of you are choosing to express those emotions.

To the people that are showing consideration toward the outcome of this election, and are showing consideration toward the people that voted for Donald Trump even though you do not agree with their decision:

Thank you.

To the other people…

How can you use the same hate rhetoric that you condemned? By voting for Hillary Clinton, you condemned most, if not all of the awful and horrible things that Donald Trump said during the election cycle, yet here you are using that same type of language and instilling that same kind of anger and hatred. I understand that you are upset by the outcome of the election, but you do not have to be malicious in the expression of your emotions. The main reason I cried last night and this morning was because of the hateful speech that began to blow up on all of my social media accounts.

“If you voted for Trump tonight, make sure to explain to your gay, trans, female, black, Latina/o/x, and Muslim friends why they don’t matter to you”

To this, I respond: Just because someone voted for Donald Trump does NOT automatically mean that they don’t support LGBTQA+ rights. It does NOT mean that they agree with what he has said about women, what he has said about illegal immigrants, nor does nor does it mean that they will turn around and do or say the same thing. And honestly, you shouldn’t insinuate that every person that voted for Donald Trump automatically hates their non-white male friends. That is ludicrous and insulting and just as bad as saying “If you don’t support abortions, make sure to tell all of your female friends why they don’t matter to you.”

You were upset when Donald Trump made assumptions and generalized stereotypes about the groups of people above, so do not turn around and assume/generalize that every person that voted for Donald Trump and agrees with those statements he made. Just because you voted for Hillary Clinton doesn’t mean you 100% supported her policies, it means you thought she was the better candidate. Just because they voted for Donald Trump does not mean they support all of his statements, are racist, or xenophobic, or homophobic, it simply means they thought he was the better candidate.** I am sorry if you feel that you cannot be friends with someone voted for Donald Trump, even if they don’t agree with all of his policies.

** In some cases the people that voted for Trump may actually be marginalizing these groups and they may actually be homophobic, xenophobic, etc. (see “To the people who voted for Donald Trump” below), and if that is the case I do not support that vote. However, just like the majority of rapists are men, but not all men are rapists: just because the “majority” of racists/sexists/xenophobes/homophobes voted for Donald Trump, does not mean that the majority of people that voted for Donald Trump are those things.

“Another qualified woman losing a job to an unqualified white male”

I do not believe that Hillary Clinton lost because she is a woman. Yes, some of the votes against her may have been by sexist voters, but I do not believe that was the main reason she lost. I believe that Hillary Clinton lost because people are ready for a change. They don’t want to see the same last name in the White House again;  they were around for the entirety of her political career and they don’t support her policies.

However, the citizens of America supported our first female presidential bipartisan nominee with class and grace. I am so proud that Hillary Clinton had the support she did and still does have. Her strength and perseverance throughout this election cycle is a testament to the fact that women can do ANYTHING. Just because a woman isn’t the face of our nation for the next four years doesn’t mean that women don’t inspire and create change every damn day. I do not see Hillary’s presidential loss as a loss for feminism, I see it as a spark that ignites hope in our nation’s youth. For the children growing up right now, seeing a man and a woman running against each other for president is the new normal. It just so happens the political change America needs right now is not based on gender.

I understand why you voted for Hillary Clinton and I understand why you didn’t vote for Donald Trump. I do not understand why you are bashing and generalizing a stereotype to all of the people that voted for Donald Trump in a malicious manner. You have every right to be pissed off, but you do not have to express that anger in such a violent-speech manner. You are upset that your friends fear for their safety; do not respond to that in a way that threatens that same safety and wellbeing of others.

To the people who voted for Donald Trump:

Congrats. He won. Some of you voted for Donald Trump for personal reasons and I support that. The people that voted for Donald Trump because they are xenophobic, racist, homophobic, etc., however, I do not respect your vote.

To the people that voted for Donald Trump because they thought making fun of a disabled person was funny, because they gain confidence from bullying and intimidating others who have different opinions, or because they are ignorant of the problems facing the United States of America and the rest of the world, I do not support or respect your vote. You did not make an informed voting decision and you fed off of the negative rhetoric in the media. Your decisions and actions are upsetting.

To the people that voted for Donald Trump because they agreed with his policies, thank you for doing your research and making an informed voting decision. Thank you for being respectful of the people that voted for Hillary Clinton and for voicing your opinions respectfully. Thank you for supporting your gay, black, Muslim, female, Latino/a/x, and trans friends on a personal level every day. The hatred that is being thrown at you right now is abominable and you should not have to keep your vote a secret or fear for your safety because of how you voted. These are just some of the posts and comments I have seen:

“Your opinion is racist” “I’m hating on ___ for being a xenophobic piece of shit” “

They stated who they voted for. They didn’t express an opinion at all or voice their agreement/disagreement on Donald Trump’s stance on any issues. How is that racist?

“You’re fucking stupid.”

That is just blatantly disrespectful, no matter who it is addressed to.

“I just don’t see how u can be an African American and vote for someone who blatantly hates your people” “Black community don’t claim you”

First, there is no “your people” or “our people.” We as Americans must be united and support one another as “us”. Second of all, disowning one person from an entire community based on their beliefs is the same as disowning one community from an entire country based on their culture, just on a smaller scare. That person decided to vote for Donald Trump based off who they agreed with the most policy-wise. Not too hard to see why they’d vote for Donald Trump if they agreed with more conservative policies.

“Do not let me catch you in person.”

Are you serious right now? Threatening someone? HOW is that going to solve anything?

To the people that writing and sharing these hateful messages and comments: STOP IT! Express your anger but do NOT make assumptions about people and do not encourage this use of violent language! You are adding to the chaos that was ignited by Donald Trump: you are adding fuel to the fire and causing more fear and hate in America in a time when we so desperately need peace and clarity of mind.

To the people that voted for a third party candidate:

Honestly, I respect all of you. You all did your research and voted for someone you agreed with and could support. By voting for a third party you exercised your civil rights and took a vote away from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Thank you for voting and do not let anyone tell you that your vote did not matter or that it was wasted. It was not.

To the people that voted for Harambe:


Again: I understand why some people voted for Hillary Clinton and I understand why some people voted for Donald Trump. I do not understand why ANYONE (from EITHER political party or side of the election) are bashing and generalizing stereotypes to one group of people. You have every right to be pissed off, but you do not have to express that anger in such a violent-speech manner. You are upset that your friends fear for their safety; do not respond to that in a way that threatens that same safety and wellbeing of others.

4. The Future.

As a Republican, many of Donald Trump’s policies focus on reducing the federal government’s involvement in state issues and putting the control back into local politics.

This is scary because some of the major accomplishments during the Obama administration occurred on a federal level. Donald Trump will try to repeal those accomplishments and give the decisions back to the states.

If you care so deeply about these issues, however, you can make a personal difference on a state level. If you want to support Planned Parenthood, same-sex marriage, equal bathroom rights, LGBTQA+ rights, disability rights, etc., get in touch with your state and local representatives to support or write a bill. Get involved in your state party and back candidates that can help make these bills a reality. Contact your House and Senate representatives and let them know what you support, and encourage others to do the same.

These are REAL action steps you can take RIGHT NOW!

Do NOT sit and complain on the internet and bash other people for their beliefs. The majority of the people that you are bashing want the same good for the country that you do (they may just be more conservative or liberal about obtaining that good). Donald Trump may be “ruining” the country, but he isn’t the only one running the country. His presidency may cause some setbacks, but there will DEFINITELY be no movement forward if we sit around and do nothing and continue to self-divide ourselves until we implode.

I am proud to be an American because my voice can be heard, even if it’s at a local level. I am proud to be an American because TOGETHER, and only together, we can make a difference.

Juliette Sebock, Founder: Jules founded the Gettysburg College chapter of Her Campus in Fall 2015 and served as Campus Correspondent until graduating in Spring 2018. Juliette graduated from Gettysburg College in 2018 with an English major and History/Civil War Era Studies/Public History triple minors. In addition to HC, she was a member of the Spring 2017 class of Advanced Studies in England and of various organizations including Eta Sigma Phi, Dance Ensemble, and Poetry Circle. She has published a poetry chapbook titled Mistakes Were Made, available on Amazon and Goodreads, and she has poems forthcoming in several literary magazines. She is also the editor-in-chief of Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine and runs the lifestyle blog, For the Sake of Good Taste. For more information, visit https://juliettesebock.com.