Election reveals extent of America’s division

Guests react to election results as they appear on a large television monitor during Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's election night rally in the Jacob Javits Center glass enclosed lobby in New York on Tuesday. Photo credit: Associated Press

By Molly Atchison | Opinion Editor

Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. The abandoned working class has spoken, and in one of the most surprising and, for some, devastating elections in recent years, the country has been split down the middle. In key states such as Pennsylvania and Florida, the polls closed with less than a one percent difference between candidates. The polls have closed, the results are in, and now about half of the country has to live with a president that they did not vote for.

Around the country, there are protests, both peaceful and violent. Many Hillary Clinton supporters and other groups are speaking out against Trump’s election, and while their freedom of assembly supports that, the fact of the matter is that like him or hate him, Trump is our president elect. Not only do Republicans hold the majority in both congressional houses, but Trump will also be appointing between one and three Supreme Court justices. Republican control over the government is troubling to many Americans.

“The majority is a good place because you get your ideas up for a vote. It’s a good place to be to drive your issues,” says Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in an interview with US News. “But at the end of the day, you need collaboration.”

The collaboration Graham and many Republicans are looking for may be hard to come by, with countrywide division putting fear into the minds of many citizens.

“The parties are so divided now in a way that’s so damaging,” said Eastland sophomore Connor Johnson, a political science major. “Even if the Democrats filibuster, I don’t think they’re going to have much sway to stop the passage of legislation because they don’t have the majority. I think everything will be sped up in congress, though now that the Republicans have the majority.”

Another area of concern for many Americans is Trump’s policy on environmental legislation. In National Public Radio’s recently released article “Here Is What Donald Trump Wants To Do In His First 100 Days,” his propositions included, “I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal …, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward …, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”

These drastic changes to American and foreign environmental policies are something the Democratic party has been trying to avoid for years, and now it seems that the government could reverse these plans.

In the social sphere, many Americans are outraged at the rhetoric Trump used during his election campaign, particularly where he used insensitive and derogatory remarks to explain his plans to deport illegal immigrants and monitor the Muslim-American community, as well as the leaked 2005 tapes in which he made crude comments about women. On the other side of the debate, many are upset with the amount of political correctness Obama encouraged during his administration, protest the need for safe spaces and cancelled classes, and argue that in an attempt to be politically correct, the government has revoked the conservative right’s freedom of speech.

Whichever side a person leans toward, the question on everyone’s mind is: “How did we get so divided, and how do we move forward?” There is much speculation on both sides as to how America got to the state that it’s currently in, and there are differing opinions on how to bridge the gap between parties. However, there is still hope in the hearts of young Americans.

“Understanding everyone’s point of view, whether or not you agree with them, is the best way to start mending this country,” Portland, Ore., sophomore Kristie Chau said. “We might not necessarily believe the same thing, and we might not be able to relate in any way, but at least being able to listen with an open mind is what’s important.”

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