Millikin Holds It Together

Walking around on campus the morning after the fate of our country was announced was not as gloomy as I had expected. Yes, there were those that were upset and frustrated and scared, but there were also those who were determined. They were determined to not let this be the end of their cause. These students showed compassion and perseverance in the face of an event that many thought would be the end of everything this country had worked so hard to achieve. As I was walking around, I stopped to ask students and professors about how they were feeling and what they thought about the situation that America has put itself in. Their responses varied from being “terrified” to feeling comfortable in the fact that the American government will not allow Trump to do most of what he has promised.

But most of them, even the ones who voted for him, did not expect him to win. I think that was the last thing on anyone’s mind when the votes first started coming in. “Even conservatives expected him to lose,” said Professor Julie Bates.

Doctor Tim Kovalcik, who voted for Donald Trump because of his own personal ties to the Clintons, is confident that the American government has a lot of systems in place to stop him. Dr. Michael O’Connor recalled that the nation felt similarly about Ronald Reagan being elected President. “The American system of checks and balances prevailed,” he said. Dr. O’Connor assured me that we will make it through these next four years. “He might not ruin everything,” said sophomore Julia Lait. “But there is a lot of potential for negative consequences.”

When asked what could happen to us with Trump as Commander-in-chief, many students and faculty had the same answer. “ No one knows what he’s going to do,” said David Alexander, a freshman at Millikin University.  “I’m looking very closely [at] what will happen in the next two and a half months and the tone that president-elect Trump takes,” said Dr. Stephen Frech. He said that he was relieved to hear Trump’s acceptance speech when the president-elect tried to be gracious and to reach out and talk about being the president for everyone.

Despite repeated assurances, many of my fellow students remain fearful. “I’m terrified for my family and the families of those that I know,” said Maya Lysebettens. “There are going to be families torn apart over this, I know my own family has already started with that.” Many students are worried about their friends who are minorities and do not necessarily fall within the demographic that Trump speaks for. Senior Alizarin Salmi hopes that all minorities are safe and protected.

I know that I, personally, am working to make sure that my fellow students know that I am here for them if they need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. I am not afraid to stand up for myself and what I believe in, and I will continue to fight for what’s right. I do not fear for myself. All of the fear I feel is for my fellow marginalized people. I am determined to make sure that America becomes a country where everyone is equal and no one is treated with disrespect because of their political views, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion.