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Why I’m Still Optimistic, Despite Donald Trump’s Inauguration

As I write this, the inauguration of Donald Trump is only two days away.  For many of us, it’s been a countdown that was framed as a political doomsday.  I do understand that some people are very happy he was elected– even some people in Massachusetts, which is supposedly a blue state.  But while President-Elect Trump may have his fans in some parts of the state, the impression I get is that on our campus (and on many other campuses), there are lots of people who are not happy about it.  They feel nervous, or anxious, or afraid, or even hopeless.  But while these emotions may seem appropriate for this situation, my advice is not to let these feelings dominate our lives.

It is true that on Friday, the United States will see it’s 45th and, so far, most disdained and polarizing president. No matter how his opponents may feel, Mr. Trump is going to be inaugurated. This has produced an understandable sense of dread among many groups that make up our diverse country:  groups such as Latinos, Muslims, Jews, African- Americans, gays and transgender, and women. In other words, a majority.

I have talked to a lot of people since the election, and I understand why they feel unsafe, uncertain, and cautious.  But we all need to stand together, and we need to be positive, even at a time like this.  In fact, the impending presidency of Donald Trump should spark that little flame that resides deep within any true American citizen– that spark that ignites the courage that has allowed us to change so much in our country, especially in the past century.

Yes, we are a country that has just elected a man that represents all our flaws, and proves everything that other countries criticize us for. However, the same country that is about to commit what seems like an act of total lunacy, has also, in past decades, committed acts of absolute genius.

We produce fighters, and I’m not just referring to our military– but to our personal strength in the face of injustice.  We fought for what is right in Roe vs. Wade, in Brown vs. The Board of Education.  We have marched for civil rights, for women’s rights, for LGBT rights, and for the rights of our planet. We have sent men and women into outer space, and put men and women on the moon. We have discovered cures for many diseases that used to kill people at a young age. And while we have experienced great pain from acts of terror, we have also experienced great joy from unbelievable achievement.

Americans are not a one trick pony. We are multifaceted, we are diverse, we are open-minded.  Yes, plenty of evil can exist even in a good place, but it doesn’t have to define us.  Recently, New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor spoke to Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan; he stated, “I will do everything in my power to ensure that accountability is brought to bear on [this new] administration, and that the Constitution and our nation’s laws are adhered to, as no one is above the law.” And he is not alone.  Not just individual members of congress, but many of us voters will continue to be vigilant and demand that our new president do the right thing.

This is the mentality we should have going into this new era in our politics. Let’s not look at the election of Donald Trump as an unfortunate event we have to live with, but rather, as an opportunity to ignite that flame– to stand up and fight for what we believe is fair; to speak up for what we know is right, and to remember we have agency.  In other words, we can speak for ourselves, rather than allowing others to speak for us.  We can march for what we believe, we can let our government know what should stay and what should change.  In other words, we should not sit back and be discouraged; we need to be positive, and we need to be ready.  Now, more than ever we should get to work making our voices heard.  In this new world of President Donald Trump, when we see that things are going wrong, we should do our part to try to fix them.

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