Written by Ema Sabljak
On the 20th of January, the 45th President of the United States was sworn in and the inauguration was carefully covered by all mainstream media. Throughout the presidential election of 2016, one thing was immensely clear – the dichotomy of American society. Any election will divide a nation and this election supported that claim. In the wake of Donald Trump entering the White House there will be vigils and marches spreading throughout America – America is divided in contentment and despair and in order to truly understand those emotions we interviewed a young American democrat about her thoughts on the new president.
The announcement of the victory of Donald Trump two months ago already expressed the thoughts of many Americans. The victory itself was followed by vigils, protests and demonstration – the disappointment, anger and sorrow of many liberals was evident.
“I remember that I was angry with and disappointed in my country. It wasn’t that I was upset that my candidate didn’t win. It was that I was upset that so many people in this country could support someone who opposes so many basic human rights” – as is expressed by the young liberal we interviewed who preferred to remain anonymous.
Many of these protests focused on that very idea – Donald Trump’s extreme positions on issues of human decency, on the issue of human rights. Already then the promise of the event of Trump’s inauguration provoked fear and distress among many. His election was interpreted as a show of hatred by many, making them fear their own safety:
“I was horrified and I was scared for my peers and my friends. I yelled with strangers that night and I cried with strangers that night. (…) I feel like lots of people, adults specifically, thought that many people were overreacting. But seeing the way this election made people feel, it was incredibly emotional and I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that.”
Our source also told us that after that day the windows on her campus were littered with encourageing warm messages such as “love trumps hate” and “we accept you” showing once again the strong emotional impact the election had. The youth of America is majorly liberal and accepting as a whole, which made the election all the more confounding – once again demonstrating the deep founded dichotomy of the US society. Our source expressed the following thoughts on the idea of how Donald Trump was elected despite such vehement opposition in the mentality of American youth:
“The voice of the younger generation just isn’t as strong, especially in politics. Young people statistically just don’t vote as much. Either they don’t think that their vote will count or that it’s important or they just don’t know how to go about it. I chose to believe that it wasn’t so much people responding to trumps narrative of hatred but more that people were overlooking it.”
When looking into the future we stand in front of an unknown, which possibly is the reason why an election can cause such turmoil. It is an undeniable fact that politics affect and control our lives, so people have a right to either oppose it or support it. Nonetheless, there definitely worst and best case scenarios for the imminent four years. Our source expressed hope in the government providing a grounding point for Trump and preventing the worst of his promises but also expressed her fears in the following statements:
“The current leader of our country ran off a platform based in hate so that going to show through. Whether its policy or international relations, it’s going to affect our country negatively. He has the ability to incite hatred in others and that is an incredibly dangerous trait for a world leader to have. (…) this country is far from perfect but countless people have fought for hundreds of years to get our country to the level it is surrounding acceptance and equality and trump has the power to reverse a lot of that. That’s what’s scary”
Only time will tell to what extent these predictions will be realised.
In his inauguration speech Trump promised to bring the USA together with grandiose statements such as: “We are one nation, and their pain is our pain, their dreams are our dreams, and their success will now be our success.”, yet he is obviously a major aspect of why it is coming apart.The hope in his presidency is already skeptical as shown by the poor turnout during the inauguration itself, but hopefully the legacy of Trump will not remain just aggression and hatred.Yet with protests immensely greater in number than the inauguration itself it is clear that the presidency will not be a smooth one.