It’s only been about 48 hours since Donald Trump won the 2016 US Presidential Election, and quite honestly it’s all still very surreal. For many of us, the stakes involved were much greater than policy, economy etc. For some, and for me personally, this election represented a great compromise in morality that America might be willing to make. It represented a clear-cut divide in the country that I have always loved. And so during the election, as votes were being tallied, it was virtually impossible to hold back feelings of anticipation and doubt, as countless worries stormed through my mind.
And I most certainly wasn’t alone. Watching the big screen in the Parliament student lounge*, surrounded by TUJ students, faculty and staff, I could feel uncertainty building up. Everywhere I looked, I could see groups of students chatting eagerly about their biggest worries. Expressing their anger at the two candidates the democratic system had handed down to them or explaining why they had voted how they voted. Some tried to make light of the situation, joking about Hillary’s “criminal record” or Trumps ability to do, in essence, what he pleases. Throughout the room, journalists were interviewing students and faculty, gathering valuable insight into this bizarre historical moment. But in all cases, together, every person in the lounge watched eagerly as state after state declared their results.
And then the moment came; a sort of point of no return in the election. Trump had declared four of the major swing states and had for all intents and purposes won the election. There was an overall sense of dread in the lounge. Disappointment and sadness filled my heart. Looking around the room I could see the same happening to many others. There was probably only one thing keeping my spirits up; being surrounded by the TUJ community – passionate young people, passionate professors and passionate staff. All of the people I work for or alongside standing beside me in my moment of grief. I’m very grateful I didn’t have to experience this election alone. And I’m grateful to be part of such a wonderful community!
The election is over and come January 20, we will have a president unlike any we’ve had before. I will remain positive and continue to hope that as individuals the American people can take the anger and frustration that has exemplified this race, and turn it into positive action. Most importantly, I hope we can work together to actually, make America great again.
*The Parliament is TUJ’s student lounge where the TUJ Student Government held a viewing for the 2016 US Presidential Election. (November 9, 2016 JST)