A Nation Still Divided

by: Catherine Galliford ‘18, staff writer

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, the nation went out and cast their ballots for the presidency. On Wednesday, Nov. 5, Donald Trump became the President-Elect of the United States.

It marked the end of a long and controversial campaign full of mud-slinging, scandal and the drawing of deep partisan lines that seem impossible to mend. Mr. Trump’s election did nothing, however, to mend the divide.

From the moment the election was called in favor of Mr. Trump’s election, riots and protests erupted all across the nation. Scenes of rejoicing Trump supporters played alongside images of weeping Clinton supporters or furious anti-Trump protestors, a juxtaposition that would define the following weeks.

Mr. Trump took the stage early Wednesday morning at his campaign headquarters in Trump Tower to deliver his acceptance speech.

“It’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; we have to get together,” said president-elect Trump in his speech. “I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”

But not all Americans felt convinced. Some declared it to be proof of the insidious but often unacknowledged racism still deeply rooted in America. Others blamed it on misogyny and an unwillingness to have a woman as the president of the United States.

According to the Southern Law Poverty Center, 867 confirmed hate crimes were committed in the first ten days following the election. Of these 867, 280 were anti-immigrant and 187 were anti-black, with the remainder splitting among anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-women, anti-LGBT, and white nationalistic motivations. Only 23 were found to be in the name of anti-Trump protests.

Hillary Clinton appeared for the first time since the election was called around noontime on Wednesday. She delivered her concession speech to a crowd of tearful and defeated supporters.

“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too, and so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort,” said Clinton amid applause from her supporters. “This is painful and it will be for a long time, but I want you to remember this. Our campaign was never about one person or even one election, it was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.”

It was a message echoed by President Obama in his address Wednesday.

“We have to remember that we’re actually all on one team…We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country,” said the president.

Despite both sides’ calls for unification, the American people remained divided. The hastag #NotMyPresident trended on Twitter, a tag dedicated to those who refused to recognize Mr. Trump’s new position. Many liberals began to wear safety pins in the wake of the surge in hate crimes, signifying their willingness to aid anyone who felt they may be in danger during the post-election uproar. Conservatives quickly ridiculed the trend, claiming that when both Senator McCain and Governor Romney lost to President Obama in 2008 and 2012 there were no such reactions.

Outcry only increased when it became clear that Hillary Clinton had received 2.5 million more votes than Donald Trump, and it was the Electoral College that was responsible for his election. Since, there have been countless demands for the Electoral College to be abolished and adopt a more democratic method of voting.

Now all eyes are on our president-elect to prove that he can reunite the nation. With just weeks before his inauguration, Mr. Trump has made several controversial Cabinet appointments, including former CEO of Breitbart News and white nationalist Steve Bannon. He has also renegaded on several of his core campaign promises, including having a special prosecutor investigate Secretary Clinton and repealing Obamacare.

Some have declared it to be the dawn of a new era of American politics. Never before has a man with no prior elected positions or experience in government been elected as the president of the United States, and the nation waits for the arrival of January 20 with anticipation and terror alike.

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