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

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect those held by Her Campus at UCD or by Her Campus.

A couple weeks ago, when I logged onto Facebook, I saw that someone — my boss, actually — had added me to the secret group “Pantsuit Nation”. Intrigued, I clicked on the notification. I began to scan the page. A cover photo of Hillary Clinton, with her hands clapsed, beaming at the audience. Over 600,000 members, some of whom were already my Facebook friends. Hm. Okay. I was still figuring this out. 

As I scrolled down, it dawned on me that this was a storytelling space. People across the United States were submitting photos of themselves and loved ones, bravely telling their life stories, giving their reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton, wearing pantsuits to the polls or speaking out against the discrimination they’d experienced or seen in their communities. People of color. Whites. Atheists. People of faith. Transgender people. Genderfluid college students. Queer couples. Disabled individuals. Veterans. Lifelong Republicans. Lifelong Democrats in conservative neighborhoods. Women that had seen all three waves of feminism. Parents with children donning “The Future is Female” shirts, identical to the one in my own closet. The list goes on and on. And many of these people experience two, three, four or more of these identities simultaneously. 

Perhaps what was even greater than reading these fascinating stories, however, was the love I saw woven through the threads of comments. People congratulated each other on achievements, supported each other’s bravery, and openly admitted that they loved each other. Not a single comment that I’d seen was angry or hateful. Love was powerful here, potent enough to heal much of the very real anxiety I’d felt throughout the election — including lost sleep, headaches, stomach aches, and spiraling thoughts. My feed was now filled with the words of empathetic, strong, loving and beautiful people, and it reminded me to practice reckless optimism and gratitude. I know that there are dark and terrible shades to our past and our present, but in reading these comments and learning about these people I felt as though there was hope. Indeed, that my heart could be full of hope. 

But when I realized that Donald Trump had seized the presidency, the hope that had swelled up seemed to pour out of my broken heart and dissolve. I’ve experienced heartbreak before and the shock that comes along with it. But this was exponentially more difficult: the pain of many millions — millions — of people. It was so visceral that it made my stomach churn and my heart race. How would we survive in a country so bitterly divided? How would we keep ourselves safe from the invisible chains of oppression and the invisible daggers of hatred? Hate crimes spiked in the days that followed Brexit. I feared the same for the United States. 

But then I remembered that fear fuels hate. Those that see the world like Trump, who cast cruel glances at anyone that does not resemble themselves, are scared. And I don’t want to be scared or hateful. I want to emanate the Hillary Clinton I always saw onstage — unfettered, unafraid, the very definition of calm even in the midst of vicious verbal attacks. No, I don’t think Clinton is unproblematic. I don’t agree with everything she does, and like I will with Trump, I will continue to hold her accountable for her actions. But I do admire her for her grace, and above all else, I appreciate that she’s indirectly given me the beautiful gift of Pantsuit Nation. 

Pantsuit Nation has garnered international media attention. Hundreds of posts continue to be made everyday. It’s now 3,000,000 members strong. Why? Because of love. People feel the love, and spread it. And really, I believe that’s the only thing that will get us through the next four years and beyond. Love. A love for humanity makes us ask the hard questions. How will we learn about privilege? How can we learn each other’s histories? How do we make our communities safer? 

Love is the greatest and most powerful political act. We must remember that. We must believe wholeheartedly in the agency we have in our communities. We must do things with great kindness and compassion. And I think it’d be great if we did that in pantsuits. 

None of the images used in this article belong to Her Campus or the author.

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