I took a deep sigh of relief on the morning of Nov. 9. After all, I was starting to get tired of it.
The vehement debates on national television. The continuous name-calling and accusations. And I would be remiss if I forgot to include the back-and-forth banter on Twitter. The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump truly was political theater.
And I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m not the kind of guy to engage in those neck-to-neck, political conversations. So when this year’s election cycle came around and brought with it two of the most conflicting candidates in American history, I was that guy sitting in the corner and nodding my head in agreement while everybody else argued about the candidates’ immigration policies and tax plans.
But when a video of Donald Trump objectifying women surfaced on the Internet just weeks before the election, I got worried. Worried that if Trump won, I might hear those same derogatory comments in the community around me. At the end of the day, if our president — the most qualified leader our country has to offer — got away with it, why can’t we?
These were the kinds of thoughts that were running through my head before election night. Looking back, I had absolutely zero faith in a country run by Donald Trump, so I denied the possibility of “Trump’s America” ever happening.
So on the morning of Nov. 9 — yeah, I was relieved. But I was also scared. I forced myself out of bed with a reluctant groan and headed to school expecting to hear jokes about the mile-high wall that will tower over the Mexican countryside or the deportation of every immigrant across the country — jokes that I thought were going to become frequent in a country led by Donald Trump.
But what I failed to realize is that there is something special about the St. Mark’s community. Walking around campus on Nov. 9, I didn’t come across any extended arguments or impassioned discussions I had been so used to hearing in the previous months. I felt something that I hadn’t experienced in a while during this election cycle: unity.
To be perfectly honest, I thought the result of this election was going to divide our community and change it for the worse. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. It didn’t matter if Trump or Clinton was going to win on Nov. 8 — this community would have moved forward with a clear-cut vision of this country’s future.
Of course, there were a lot of people on campus who were disappointed with the outcome of the election, but the message remained the same: we will move forward.
So, I owe all of you guys a hearty thank you for not allowing the aggressive, violent and sexist comments that were prevalent throughout this election get to us.
But I also owe an apology that has been way late.
I arrived at school a day after the election expecting to hear insults regarding my heritage or prideful boasting. Where I thought the St. Mark’s community would take a step back after a Donald Trump victory, we only became more united and aware of what is right and wrong. And there is absolutely no reason why I lost faith in the first place.
Throughout the next four years, you probably won’t hear me discussing the nitty-gritty details of the new policies and plans implemented by President-elect Donald Trump. But what I will be doing is trying to maintain the mutual respect and unity this community has built for each other.
I owe all of you that.