A Nation Divided

This election has been unprecedented in terms of divisiveness.  Part of that reality is due to the fact that we are not as politically segregated today as we have been for much of American history.  No longer are Republicans and Democrats separated by state lines, but rather by six-foot privacy fences.  This year, it wasn’t North versus South or city versus country– it was neighbor versus neighbor.

That’s a tough world to live in.  On the internet you can create a bubble, and only interact with people who echo your own beliefs, but in the real world it’s not so easy.  You cannot avoid interacting with your neighbors, the girl at the gas station, your waiter, or your classmates.  Differing opinions surround us, and that’s what makes us stronger together.

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump took these divides and built a wall between them.  He took the angriest, nastiest underbellies of American ideology and pitted us against each other.

By alienating the “liberal elite” and distorting a very real and very justified Middle America anger, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump divided a nation.

Two days ago, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump became Presidential Elect Donald Trump.

In two short months, Presidential Elect Donald Trump will graduate to President Donald Trump– and that man will inherit a divided nation of his own making.

Middle America is still angry.  The poor, white, struggling class of Americans are still poor and struggling.  The difference now is that the other side of the spectrum is angry too.

Racial and religious minorities, women and college students are angry too.  The idea that their neighbors–people that they know and love– would vote for antiquated ideals that don’t take their existence into account has fueled the same anger felt by Middle America.

The question now, is how will President Donald Trump handle the mess he created?

The first objective of the Republic is to preserve the Republic– and ideal left far behind when Trump decided to run a campaign based on ignorance and bias.

If President Donald Trump is the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, is preservation of the Republic on the table at all?

If President Donald Trump is not the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, where will this existing anger be channeled?  Will he follow through on his promises to the Angry Middle?

The best we can do is be tolerant of each other.  President Donald Trump, regardless of who he ends up being, can only do so much.  We the people cannot be hateful, ignorant, or intolerant of each other.  At the end of the day, we are still all neighbors.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to live in fear of my neighbors.

–Rowan Seets

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No, I Won’t Stop Talking about Politcs

The election was two days ago, and I hear you: nobody wants to hear about the election anymore.

Donald Trump won the general election, and the overwhelming response is that the leftists need to stop whining and accept our new President.  I hear you, I do—but no, I won’t stop talking about politics.

I can accept that Trump won the election and that, in January, he will become POTUS.  I cannot, however, just roll over and forget about politics for another four years.  That isn’t how this works.

Politics isn’t a switch that flips on every four years, it is a constantly moving machine.

House seats open up and local elections are held to choose people for roles that are very relevant to your everyday life.

Politics rolls on, and if you ignore the process, you will wake up one day and realize that you are no longer proud of the country you live in.

I urge you to learn about the political process.  Know who your representatives are.  Read up on proposed legislation.  Speak out when you disagree.  Stay involved.

For those of you elated at the outcome of the general election—just because your guy won doesn’t mean your job is over. The other side will stay vocal, and so should you.

For those of you disappointed by the results—don’t let go of that disappointment.  We may not have the progressive government we had hoped for, but the movement isn’t over.  Get involved on a local level; stay educated.

So for everyone begging me to just shut up: I’m sorry, I won’t.

I won’t stop talking about politics.

–Rowan Seets

What I, and Women Everywhere, Just Learned

On April 12, 2015, a qualified woman declared her bid for presidency in the 2016 election.

She is a Yale Law School graduate, a former First Lady, senator, and secretary of state.  This woman has been involved in politics from the age of thirteen, and has devoted her entire career to breaking down barriers for women everywhere.

Today, on November 9, 2016, I woke up to a world where this woman lost the general election to a bigot; a failed businessman with no political experience, numerous sexual assault accusations, and open business practice investigations.  She lost to a man so grossly under-qualified to run this country.

Today, I learned that we as women are not done with our fight.  There was a brief moment in which I was hopeful for the future– both of women and of the United States of America.  However, that is not the reality that I woke up to this morning.

Today I learned that my great country has not come as far as I had thought.

Today I learned that I can spend decades working toward a goal and still be passed up for a man.

Today I learned that rape culture is so prevalent that we as a nation just elected a President who condones sexual assault.

Today I learned that my worth is less to voters than the worth of coal mines and unborn fetuses.

Today I learned that women still are not equal– and that’s a sad reality to wake up to.

Today I learned that my neighbors are more comfortable with a bigoted President than they are a President with a vagina.

This isn’t over.  We may have lost this one, but I know I woke up this morning with a new anger.  I woke up with a burning rage– one that many marginalized voters now share– and we will get there.

My future daughters will grow up in a world where they are valued; a world where they are free to make their own choices and are given equal opportunities as men.  It is our job, the women of today, to create this world.

Today I learned that women are stronger than ever.

Today I learned that it is up to us to fix this.

-Rowan Seets

 

Today, I’m with Her

flat800x800075f-c075800331-u1When I was eight years old, my third-grade teacher assigned us a project on our future career.  I chose “First Woman President” as my career.  Today, I cast my ballot in the hopes of never fulfilling my third-grade dream—but rather allowing Hillary Clinton the honor.

The past eighteen months have been arguably some of the most divisive in U.S. history, and today it ends.  At the end of the day, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will have been elected President of the United States, and I can only hope that we have chosen well.

Through all of the rhetoric and debate and passion, I am comfortable with my choice.  A President Trump does not represent my ideals, and I believe doesn’t represent the ideals of a lot of the people who are voting for him.  Trump is a man who is so consumed with himself that he couldn’t possibly be fit to run this country, and nothing could dissuade me from this stand.

At the end of the day, Hillary’s emails don’t matter.  Her political history doesn’t matter.  The FBI doesn’t matter.  What does matter is the freedoms her platform offers.  Today, I voted for freedom.

I voted for affordable healthcare.

I voted for education reform.

I voted for reproductive rights and closing the wage gap.

I voted for the decriminalization of marijuana and for LGBTQ rights.

If today, you voted for Donald J. Trump, there is nothing that I can say that will convince you of your mistake.  All I can do is try to reassure you: nobody is trying to take away your guns.  We don’t want to tax you out of existence, and your “way of life” is not at stake.  America does not need God.  We don’t want to rip babies apart, and we aren’t cheating.

Donald Trump is not our answer, and America is still great.  I would like to keep it that way.

Today, I voted for the America that I would be proud to live in.

Today, I am with her.

-Rowan Seets