The Aftermath: How 11/9 Is Shaping America

The results of 2016 U.S. Election was a shock to many, giving birth to both President Elect Trump and a whirlwind of negativity spreading across the nation in the form of a rise in racial discrimination, bigotry, and white supremacy. It seems that the country is divided into two separate groups--those that wanted this outcome and accept the result, and those that are choosing to change said results through protesting, writing letters to local legislature, and making online petitions. On Thursday night, I took to Twitter with a survey to get a sense of how my online community was really feeling, and almost unanimously it was a heartbreaking array of dark emotions, ranging from just "shaken up" to "irritated" to "anxious" to even "hopeless".

"Anyone trying to say that we should embrace this outcome has no awareness about the world and people around them." Mauhan S. of California said. "Don't try and tell me how to feel when I'm worried for my rights and future, as well as the rights and futures of my friends and loved ones."

They aren't the only one to feel this way, after Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, affirmed that they would make electroshock therapy (a "cure" for homosexuality) legal once formally in office, as well as the many other promises made by both Trump and Pence.  While some millenials have taken to the streets to show how much they disagree with both the policies threatning to be made legal and the way our electoral system is set up, others have taken to a form of online support and fact-checking, helping those who need legal documents get them as well as spreading general good vibes as the country continues to fight itself on the very values it was built on. Several reports of voting fraud and people (mostly minorities) being turned away at the polls have surfaced as well, which adds to the piles of proof on how broken the system is. 

With one day of President Elect Trump, fear was struck into the hearts of Americans all over the country, whether in schools--with children as young as kindergarten teasing Mexican classmates about being deported, in colleges--with a young Muslim woman having her hijab ripped off, or at home--with a African American man waking up to his car's windows covered in slurs. Even in our own Birmingham, Alabama was there a change, with KKK recruitment brochures littering the streets and being handed out.

However, as dark as times may seem, this is not the end goal for our nation, and still many successes were achieved on November 11th, 2016. Former Somali refugee, now Somali-American Ilhan Omar was elected to the Minnesota House, making her the first Somali-American lesgislator in the US. Zena Stephens became the first African-American female sheriff in Texas. Tammy Duckworth, who was mocked for her half-Latina, half-Thai heritage, is now replacing the very man who mocked her as the Democratic senator for Illinois as well as becoming the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

"My initial reaction was devastation and fear for our rights," said Ashley R. from Pennsylvania. "But now, I know never to be complacent with the way things are, and to always try to better and further educate myself as a person to make sure this doesn't happen again."

We, as Americans, cannot sit and be silent in times of injustice. We must continue to fight for what we believe to be right, to be good, and to be fair for all of Americans, not just the ones who've lived the longest. We are the change that we want to see in the world, and we must take action to make it happen.