I cannot even function right now. As a queer, black woman, I feel unsafe in this country. Our newly elected president has openly endorsed building a wall along the US-Mexico border, banning Muslims from entering the country, shaming “hombres” and yes, “pussy grabbing.”
As I fight off my own hyperventilation, I’m going to tell you to take a moment to breathe. The election itself is over. You will no longer overhear people talking about nasty women every time you walk from Sterling to WLH. No one will spend every spare minute refreshing FiveThirtyEight anymore. There are no more projections to be reported.
Alas, the worst is yet to come.
Even though we’ve all survived a particularly acrimonious election, the political battle is far from over. On Tuesday, the American public chose to validate white supremacy by electing someone who had the open support of the Ku Klux Klan. Despite Trump’s overtly misogynistic statements and allegations of sexual assault, most white women in this country seem to value their white privilege over any other issue.
Over the past few years, it has become increasingly apparent that political — and racial — divisions are on the rise. Just a year ago, hundreds of students at Yale marched on Cross Campus during the March of Resilience in response to racial tensions on campus. Every day, we see articles on social media about police brutality and the rising Black Lives Matter movement. Discussions of race and politics are pervasive.
However, the discourse at Yale is very different from the discourse in the rest of America. Yale students fetishize politics as an intellectual exercisebut do little at the grass-roots level. While the Yale Political Union is an important platform of political discussion, it offers little by way of participation. Similarly, the Yale College Democrats have a myopic focus on electoral politics, to the exclusion of local political structures, such as police brutality.
Meanwhile, it seems like many Americans are growing increasingly disillusioned with the political landscape. We scroll on our phones — nose to screen — searching for the next New York Times article to tell us about Hillary Clinton’s LAW ’73 emails. However, no matter how many articles we read or write, it seems like the political climate only worsens because the media continues to fail us.
According to an article by John Nichols in The Nation, Donald Trump got 23 times more media coverage than Bernie Sanders. This is not our fault. However, as college students, we must recognize that voting for a liberal candidate is not enough to combat the racist and sexist sentiments that currently pervade American politics. Those of us who wrote statuses with the hashtag “I’m with her” and bragged about voting for Clinton must not stop voicing dissatisfaction with a system that has failed us. When we laugh at our political satire and dismiss polls, we only become more complacent.
In a Guardian article, Steven Thrasher writes that we were given a choice between one bad candidate and one egregious candidate. I — for one — agree with this sentiment. Although Trump has obviously made extremely harmful racist and sexist remarks, our desire to publicize these comments and dismiss those who have differing views from us has fanned the flames of political fascism. Although many Yalies did not vote for Donald Trump, it seems that the culture of white liberalism — which is omnipresent in elite universities at Yale — is only further antagonizing the Right.
A new political era is upon us. Formerly blue states — including Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio — have turned red. Many groups of people across the country are disenfranchised and tired. Our response should not be to lie down and lament Clinton’s loss. After all, Trump’s supporters are not going anywhere. In his article, “A New Clockwork Orange in the Aftermath of Trump,” William Rivers Pitt argues that Trump’s racist and sexist supporters will continue to wield power. In order for us to have a shot at fighting this, it will be essential for us to change media representations of politics and mobilize support for social issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, racial diversity and feminism. We can no longer afford to be seduced by establishment politics or to be lulled by the dubious media.
The future of this country depends on it.
Isis Davis-Marks is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College. Her column usually runs on alternate Wednesdays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .