Wandering mind: positivity in the face of the election
We need to be positive and move forward, whether we like the result or not
It’s 6:30 on a Thursday night, and I’m hiking alone in Rancho. The lights from cars driving on the freeway blend together into multicolored streams, with everyone rushing from one place to another. The dark outlines of trees create an odd looking picture on the canvas of the sky, and the breeze blows the incoming winter air across my cheeks. I’m sitting on a bench at the top of a viewpoint, pondering everything going on in my life.
Then the election creeps into my train of thought, killing the beauty of the evening.
On that Tuesday two days earlier, I sat alone in my room in the dark. The only visible light emanated from the screen of my computer, and I spent hours refreshing the page, watching the electoral count for Donald Trump grow until it hit 270.
Like everyone else, I was aghast. I was no Trump supporter, and by no means would I have guessed that Hillary would lose. And I’m sure you’ve already heard all of these reactions by now, and by no means am I protesting the result.
Our country spoke. Whether or not we want to accept this is a different matter for a different day, but we spoke nonetheless. On Jan. 20, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as our 45th president.
Outrage has spread. Protests and riots all across the country are ensuing. Keyboard warriors on Facebook are fighting their campaigns, whether they are commenting out of joy or disgust.
Throughout all the chaos and change in attitudes, there is one constant: people are divided. We have pointed fingers at each other, blaming others for outcomes we may not like, when the only real thing that happened was that people voted and picked our new president. Even I have allowed myself to fall into this divide and state of negativity, somewhat blinded by my disagreement with his platform and the manner in which himself and some of his supporters conduct themselves in.
The funny thing is, people who I love with every bone of my body are Trump supporters. I hug Trump supporters. I celebrate Christmas with Trump supporters. I owe half of my genome to Trump supporters. And even though I disagree with my grandparents over their support of Trump, they are two of the wisest people I know. They go to a church with a gay priest; they’re not bigots by any means, nor would they ever wish harm on another based on the color of their skin, a blanket stereotype placed on all of Trump’s supporters. This stereotype blinds us from the reasons why great people within our communities voted for him, and it has been explored thoroughly here.
In that moment, shivering on the hilltop, what struck me the most about this election is the sadness that has ensued. No change can be found in violent protesting, burning American flags and denouncing the United States as evil, as some protesters have done at schools like American University. Even if racists, sexists and homophobes have come out of hiding, we can’t sink down to their level. Fighting fire with fire is no good; if we truly deem Trump to be deplorable, we cannot sink down to that level ourselves.
We have such amazing opportunities within the Silicon Valley to do good; instead of putting even more negativity into the world, we should be focused on what we can do to make our own situations better, no matter what promises candidates have made about our futures on our living room television screens. If you truly are concerned about the future of women’s healthcare or civil rights in our country, go out, pick up an extra shift and donate to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. Lack stable income? Write a letter to our incoming congressman, Ro Khanna, expressing your concerns, and advocate for your cause.
The American Psychological Association has to actually recommend the obvious: people should lower their levels of media consumption and avoid discussions of elections if they believe the conversation will escalate into something greater. According to the APA, over half of Americans have some form of stress from the election. 38 percent of adults feel some level of stress when seeing election posts on social media platforms.
Concern is ok. I’m concerned. Control, however, is not. Getting a new president can have a huge impact down the road, but Trump hasn’t taken any actions yet; he won’t even be in office for a couple more months. Letting him control your life is giving him power that he doesn’t even have, nor does he deserve.
And when Donald Trump is inaugurated, I’m going to root for him to be great. In the meantime, I’m not going to let negative energy into my life because some guy is going to be at the helm of our Republic that I don’t agree with. I don’t like him, and you definitely don’t have to. But he’s not my enemy, nor should he be yours. After all, the president does have some control over our futures, so let’s use our optimism and hope that he will make drastic improvements.
I’m not going to pretend like I don’t have concerns. I have many. His nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general, someone who has a past voting record against the protection of minorities and the LGBT community, scares me. Steve Bannon, his chief strategist, runs the news organization Breitbart, which publishes extremely offensive articles demeaning towards many, including the homosexual and trans communities.
Curving back down the dirt path and nearing the parking lot, I just laugh at how silly it all is. Preaching hate and pointing fingers only gets in the way of the beautiful lives we have all been afforded. On Jan. 21, I’m going to wake up and think the same thing. No person will control my smile, and nobody should have that power over you either. In the end, life will go on, and this is not a choice. Our positivity in the face of negativity, however, is.