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A Word of Advice in These Tumultuous Times

Spoken with conviction from a friend you don’t know

Photo courtesy to Jana Greene

Photo courtesy to Jana Greene

Janice Peregrina, Staff Reporter

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Election Day was one of the most mentally challenging days of my life; the night felt as though it lasted years. After a few sleepless hours, I finally was able to fall asleep after shedding many frustrated tears. That night, I had a nightmare. I dreamt I was suffocating, trapped in my car and unable to move as black clouds of smoke coming from within enveloped me. I woke up in a panic, remembered everything, and somehow got back to sleep. And now here I am. The election is over, and we now have a new man that will be sworn in this January.

 I know that I, along with many other people, are sharing in the abject surprise and disappointment from these results. The candidate I originally supported was stopped before he could start, and the one I voted for at the polls did not celebrate the win on November 8th. It is very hard for me to feel hope and strength right now.

 It can be argued back and forth that the winner himself is not running on the ideals of racism, homophobia, sexism, islamophobia, and that he really wants to help make this nation great. What cannot be argued is that these ideals run rampant in the minds of a number of his supporters, and there have already been reports from all over the nation of hateful actions and crimes being committed by these followers. What cannot be argued is that people are very scared right now, and they have good reason to be. These crimes should be an outrage to us all.

 While I am also not looking forward to the battle ahead, I know that I cannot give in to negativity. As President Obama promised the nation, the sun came up in the morning. And then it did again. And again. I have witnessed the people I love embrace one another and offer support, and I have seen strangers do the same. I have seen my friends double and triple their support for causes they believe in. I have seen instances of love and understanding across party lines. If there is something positive we can all agree on, it’s that this election has called more people from all walks of life to political action, a feat not seen in a long time.

In the wake of what has happened, what is most important for all of us now is to keep an open and uncluttered mind. Do not let fear and hate envelop you in its suffocating black cloud. Decisions made based in fear and hatred are never smart. Instead, surround yourselves with the people you love, and make friendships with the people around you; unite. Stick to your convictions and make your voices heard. Donate your money and time to the organizations and people you support. If you don’t agree with what has been presented to you, let them know! Contact local and state legislators, rally, peacefully protest, do whatever you are capable of without harming anyone, and state your claim to those in power. Silence solves nothing. Listen to those who question and challenge your convictions, and explain respectfully why you do what you do. And whatever you do, do not stoop to the level of your oppressors. It is nigh impossible to change a mind when insults are flung back and forth. Debate rationally. If that is not possible, ignoring and turning away from insults directed at you is not a weak choice.

It is still too early to tell what this new presidency will mean for this nation, but strength is necessary no matter what happens. It may seem hard to face the fears of the unknown, but strength comes from diving into these and creating change. No action is too small, and hope is always there. So stay strong, seek guidance when needed, and never give up.

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A Word of Advice in These Tumultuous Times