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Mourning for What Could Have Been

“Not my President,” as the Windy City’s gust sweeps posters out of protesters’ hands. “Not my President,” as Times Square’s lights reflect off of a crowd clad in rainbow. “Not my President,” as unsatisfied Americans march on the bricks of the Freedom Trail. Those three words rang out around the country last Wednesday, Nov. 9 in response to the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

Like it or not, those words—which echo a nation’s sadness, anger, and fear—are true. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the majority vote. A greater number of Americans chose Secretary Clinton to be their President. But on Jan. 20, 2017, we will not swear in the first female president of the U.S. We were so close. We brought hammers to the glass ceiling, but we could not manage to shatter it. Instead, Americans chose to elect a man who would rather patch up the cracks in the glass.

America has more to mourn than just the defeat of progress. This race was more than the possibility of making “herstory” with the election of the first female president. By failing to elect Hillary Clinton, a candidate who spoke of healing the divide instead of furthering it, many Americans opted for a leader who promotes divisiveness.

Though our democracy still stands, this less-than-democratic result does not reflect well on the Land of the Free. President-elect Trump fought his way to the White House using weapons of disparagement and hate. With endorsements from KKK members and several pending sexual assault cases, Mr. Trump did not exhibit behavior that was fitting for neither a presidential candidate nor our president-elect. I believed that America was better than this. My belief was only encouraged by pre-election polling.

Since Mr. Trump was elected, there’s been a rise in hate crimes. Am I watching bigotry become normalized? Did love fail to trump hate? In the face of such negativity, it is only natural for a majority of a nation to mourn what could have been.

In the spirit of democracy, many say Donald Trump should be given a fair chance. But mustn’t respect be earned? President-elect Trump has made his divisive views clear. He built his platform on them. Our duty to accept Mr. Trump’s election directly conflicts with our duty to protest what is unjust.

The solidarity movements that gathered in cities across the U.S. were matched on college campuses in the form of rallies and meetings—peaceful and violent. Professors and students alike came together to discuss, mourn, and look beyond the election.

At Boston College, students took a stand outside of the classroom on their terms. Last Monday the “Stand Against Hate Rally” took place on the O’Neill Plaza. Multiple signs read, “Silence is violence.” The crowd of technicolored red, white, and blue came together to assure that their voices were heard on a campus where they are often overlooked by the administration. The bigotry and hateful rhetoric stirred up by this election has had undeniable detriment. But we often forget that silence can be just as harmful. What we don’t say matters just as much as what we do.

America should not be happy with what we got. It is clear what Mrs. Clinton stood for in this election, but Mr. Trump changes his mind with each bad piece of news. Though our future appears bleak, we must look ahead to an America where progress is the status quo and the streets in every city are lined with shattered glass from a ceiling collapsed. Right now, however, we are allowed to mourn. We missed our chance. But another chance will come and I am confident that progress will prevail.

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