I saw this opportunity to write a piece on my feelings about this election, and I jumped at the opportunity to create a laundry list of all the reasons why I'm upset, confused, and fearful. I figured I'd fill it with snappy one-liners and pitiful truths about our new President-elect. But everyone on this campus, regardless of who they voted for, is already aware of what this man stands for. Everyone is aware of his hateful rhetoric and his dangerous, convoluted ideologies. Some consciously decided to support it, others worked day and night to prevent such a thing. Us Penn students have been following every single detail of this election for what feels like a century.
I therefore thought it'd be more productive to spend some time talking not about what has happened, but what will happen in the future if we approach this the right way. The landslide that would have been Hillary's victory had only individuals aged 18-25 voted is definitive proof that our generation has a bright future ahead. We DO know what's right for the country, and one day we will be running it much better than the so-called "leaders" running it today. We will see a future filled with leaders representing each and every marginalized and minority group, more than just the crusty dusty old white men trying to tell us what's wrong and what's right.
Getting there will require a lot of strength, and more than just Twitter-meme-level awareness of political issues (something I myself am admittedly very guilty of.) I don't know yet what this involvement in progress will actually entail but I know that I somehow want to be a part of it - and I urge you all to do so as well. We cannot change the outcome of the election but we can change the future that has not yet been written. It will be a long road with lots of inevitable devastations and unpredictable turns, but we can't lose our hope and we can't stop making our voices heard.
We can do this by continuing to take advantage of where we physically are right now - a top-tier university with the brightest, most amazing minds in the country. Yes, I have a lot of feelings about Penn - some great, some not so great - but one of the best feelings is the pride in how active this campus has been this past year. Step back for a minute and think about how many times our name has appeared in HuffPost, USA Today, and college campus publications nationwide. We are being active catalysts for change and that fact in and of itself cannot change.
I have gone through a lot of emotions today, starting with anger (facebook friends - I still hold the sentiment of my status post this morning, but admittedly it was more heated than my usual self), turning into despair, and a few moments of panic (regarding both the election AND the fact that I have a physiology exam tomorrow I reaaally need to study for... crap). You are allowed to be bitter, angry, and melodramatic - I was all three of these things today. But after going through the election grieving process, replace those emotions with a new sort of drive. We must continue the pathway we're currently on, simply with a more fervent ardor. It's a beautiful sort of irony - at a time when the nation is undeniably the most divided, we need to stick together more than ever.