The world looked very different today.
The presidential election is over, and many emotions are running through many people on campus. Many people are shocked, others are glad, others feel hurt, disgusted, or simply confused. Many are saying, where do we go from here?
I forced myself to go to chem lecture today, walking across the East Campus courtyard where the fiery shades of leaves in the trees covered the faintest clouds in the blue skies above. I bump into a stranger after scrolling through my Twitter newsfeed for too long. I check Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr. Everywhere is the same. With a sigh, I walk into 10-250 and try not to think about it too much as Professor Grossman tells us excitedly about amorphous solids.
David Bowie echoes through me as I hear, "Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do..."
An email was sent out this morning:
This election means a lot to all of us. And right now, a lot of us don't know how to feel.
We will be sitting quietly in Lobby 7 all day from 9am onward to be with one another, listen, and share our hopes for the way forward. In the afternoon we might open up to discussion, feel free to bring pillows and blankets and maybe take a nap, since we're all losing sleep right now."
When I arrived, a group of students, adults, and tourists were writing their thoughts on the columns of Lobby 7. One column asked to share our hopes: the other asked to share our fears.
Pillows and blankets were scattered about. I saw friends cry and hug each other as they tried to understand. I saw complete strangers talk to each other about hopes, about politics, about the American people. I picked up a marker and began to think about what to write, but ended up putting it back down. I guess I'm confused myself.
Here are some of the fears (verbatim) that people had to say.
- That this pillar/page will have more things written than the one with the hopes!
- I'm afraid for the ENVIRONMENT
- I'm afraid for all the people I love
- Honestly my fears do not really grow. It is just a new day, and we should be able to go through. The only fear that has been there for a while may be that this country seems separating. But this is not caused by Trump. The US is just as separating as it has been. but Trump may have made it more explicit.
- That this will turn people against each other instead of educate them as to WHY we need progress. It's not the time to block or delete people - that won't help us win 2020
- I fear that fear will continue to hinder progress.
- That persuasion and loving, rational discourse doesn't work in America anymore.
- That inequality will grow/deepen, and that we will be a more polarized nation.
- I'm afraid of war with Russia.
- that we still be stuck playing the blame game
- that I don't really have a home, because America clearly doesn't want or love me
- I fear because misogyny, sexism, racism and xenophobia are no longer closet feelings.
- What do I tell my daughter?
Some were more positive than others. Although reading this made me grim and sad, my spirits were lifted while reading the other column:
- I hope the American people can be civil about this election.
- that God will help me to be radically kind & compassionate, no matter what happens
- That no one forgets that they are not alone. We stand together.
- Countries are really made of people, and I hope that whatever Trump does as a leader, he won't be able to make us hate each other.
- I hope that everyone in America can feel like they have a voice, and especially hope that our immigrants feel loved and accepted and celebrated.
- "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." -MLK
- That the world always goes in phases of reason and tolerance, and this is just a blip in the movement forward.
- In the long run, hate never wins. Keep spreading love.
- I hope we can do better than this and spread more love, even though it's hard.
- I am scared, confused, nervous. Something is not right within us. Last night was our choice. I hope to be less selfish & look outwards & be an active force of good & positive change. I hope that I can love you, respect you regardless of your choice yesterday.
- That LGBTQ+ people won't have to go through literal hell.
- I hope that, amidst the pain, we can all remain unbreakable, and keep love stronger than anything else.
- That we can learn from this.
That's all I have to say. Tensions are higher than usual today. If you see your friend, family member, colleague, and you think they could use it, give them a really big hug. And don't be afraid to talk. We could all use a little support, respect, kindness, and unity today as well as in the days to come.