I believe in America. Yes, this young black man who was just as infuriated, confused and horrified by the results of our presidential election as anyone, has plenty of hope in America. I think you should too.
Don’t mistake me; Donald Trump is dangerous to the life of any marginalized person. He is massively unprepared for the Oval Office, as the first president with no prior history of public service. He is a coward and a bully. He is unfit to lead a group of D-list celebrities, let alone this nation.
But I still believe in this incredible American experiment. It’s because of the people I know and love who continue shaping America into the amazing country it can be.
I believe in my Uncle Ep, who defeated a life of vices to become a leader in Muskegon, Michigan, empowering young black men across town. I believe in my best friend Zack, who has made it his mission to become the most educated and thoughtful person in politics. I believe in my Dad, whose retirement plan is to create his own organization that helps expand college access to low-income students. I believe in my Mom, who can’t stop herself from volunteering to help welfare recipients in Trenton, New Jersey, manage their finances.
I believe in everyone who is distraught by the results of this election. I know they’ll remember the pain we feel now, and use it to fuel the work to come. I know they will show the 60 million people who voted the other way why this result scares and hurts us so badly. I believe in their ability to love others, even when they are not loved back.
None of that will change, no matter who our president is.
We have the opportunity to make things right in America. Not just four years from now at the next election, but in every moment of our lives. Every time we reject hatred and embrace love in our daily interactions, we work toward that goal of a better tomorrow. Every time we volunteer in our communities, protest the institutions that let us down, or demand responsibility from our representatives, we work toward an inclusive America.
I know we will march, claw and fight at Trump’s door for the next 1,450 days, because these inspiring people in my life have taught me that to do any less would be unpatriotic.
If there’s anything more American than looking despair in the eye and daring to fight on, I’ve yet to find it. When institutions continually fail, oppress and pin us down, marginalized people and their allies have never given up. We have never stopped before, and I know we won’t stop now. We can’t stop now.
John Lewis, Hosea Williams and hundreds of other marchers were beaten to a bloody pulp by racist police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, but because of their courage to face their oppressors again and again, I was able to vote this November. My Mom battled her way out of her economically depressed hometown to become the first person in her family to go to college. I could not be where I am without her love and guidance.
Wherever you look, the fight goes on. Tuesday night was the latest blow, and it caught us square in the face. So now, we take a moment. We make a plan, and we act with force. There is simply too much at stake to let oppression off the hook — social media is already rife with chilling and tragic stories of emboldened Trump supporters. We owe it to ourselves and the future of America to fight and to hope for that day we get to bask in the fruits of this long, painful labor.
Hours after the election, Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda responded to a tweet that floated the popular idea of running away to Canada. Miranda replied:
“I love this country, and there’s more work to do than ever.
“(No offense Canada)”
It’s time to roll up our sleeves.
Nate File is a senior in Davenport College. Contact him at email@example.com .