This past year, I have been surrounded with news about Donald Trump: calling Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman”, bragging about sexual assault, mimicking a disabled reporter. I was distraught over all the awful headlines, then horrified the morning of November 9th, when I woke up to Donald Trump as America’s President-Elect. It was calamitous to me, this notion that the stereotypical “bad guy” could win. I was terrified of the part of our country that voted for this man, but I would soon learn of the part of America that is working against him, the part of our country that holds power so immense, Donald Trump cannot even begin to understand it.
I couldn’t accept this president and I wondered: Why was Donald Trump elected? It became very clear to me that he won by being the most interesting candidate, dominating the media, constantly drawing attention to himself. America fed off of that drama, hearing his name in newspapers, on TV, wherever they went. We became obsessed. Even if you hated Donald Trump, you were jumping to read the latest Huff Post article or hastening to click to watch CNN when you heard he had said or done another inappropriate, classic Donald Trump thing. His campaign grew with his narcissism. He soaked up the attention, relished in it, gaining supporters and fans because he’d succeeded in riling up the entire country.
Initially, I was going to write this essay about how America is welcoming and wonderful, but as I pondered this, I stopped myself and asked: Is that really true? Is America really as wonderful as I’ve always believed? I knew Donald Trump and his antics had wormed their way into my brain and poisoned my view of America when I couldn’t answer these questions. I’ve always thought of our country as great, but when this man came into our lives and told us that it isn’t, he planted the seeds of doubt in my mind.
I’ve been researching government and what I can do to stop Donald Trump and I’ve come across stories that fill me with elation: protesters fighting Trump’s Muslim ban, women’s marches across the world, people speaking up at Town Hall meetings. These stories of protest, of fighting back, of change made me look at freedom of speech in a depth I had never contemplated before. I realized there was this side of America that was dedicated to making a change, even when the odds are stacked against them. And that is what Trump doesn’t understand about America. He can hate and spread fear and lie to the public, but there will always be people to raise their voices, to know and to show others what is right. Donald Trump doesn’t understand the power of we the people and the difference we can make, even if that difference is simply putting a little hope into a 14 year old girl’s life.