CoA Staffers React to Election Results


The Coat of Arms editors and staff reporters react to the election. Creative Commons image: Jnn13 on Wikipedia.

By Cameron Kay, Kaitlin Baldwin, Gillian Bressie, Lee Fisher, Katie Stonesifer, and Electa Narasin

Cameron Kay:

This piece does not discuss Trump’s policy, but that doesn’t mean that I only supported Clinton for her gender. I agree with a lot of her policy, but Election Day was a loss for women and it was a big step back, so that’s the angle I chose to focus on.

I bought my bright pink “Ready for Hillary” mug months before she announced her candidacy. For the past year, every time I’ve opened my cupboard and seen it sitting there, I’ve smiled. We were going to have a female president for the first time. A woman, someone just like me, was going to sit in the oval office and fight for my rights, the ones guaranteed to me in the constitution.

Throughout the campaign, I watched, seething, as Trump and his supporters attacked Clinton on everything from her physical appearance to the actions of her husband, neither of which had anything to do with her qualification to be the next president of the United States of America. Then the Access Hollywood tape came out and this election took on a whole new meaning for me. This man, running for president, bragged about committing sexual assault. Women started coming forward, talking about how this man had groped them without their permission culminating in a particularly horrible allegation that he was accused of raping Katie Johnson when she was just 13 years old.

I’m a senior about to go off to college. After the hundreds of college rape statistics that I’ve heard over the past years, one of the most notable ones being the Brock Turner case, hearing a presidential nominee is repeatedly and unabashedly committing sexual assault deeply concerned me. But I was comforted every day when I looked on FiveThirtyEight and saw that Clinton was ahead in the polls. Our country was going to do the right thing; the voters would cast their ballot and show the progress we’ve made, that we don’t accept women being treated as men’s commodities anymore.

Flash forward to Tuesday night. Trump won Florida, then he won North Carolina, and then Michigan. It was over. The MSNBC commentators looked pale and desperately tried to justify what lunacy was happening right before their eyes, but they couldn’t. Then it was over, and I sat there in shock. I wouldn’t wake up the next morning knowing that the first female president had been elected. I wouldn’t go to sleep with the knowledge that the most qualified woman for the job had triumphed over the least qualified man.

Like so many other women, I’m weary and disappointed. I’m angry that Clinton couldn’t be enough. I’m afraid for my future, but I’m not going to just sit on my butt and joke about moving to Canada either because running away from our problems won’t fix them. I look around me at Menlo and I see the women of the future: bright, talented, strong, and independent. Let’s take our future back, ladies!

Kaitlin Baldwin:

Throughout the entire election cycle, our nation struggled to accept Trump. From his controversial views on immigration to his lack of Washington experience to his disrespectful comments, Trump did not sit well with the progressive Bay Area, especially our very own Menlo community — a community well-known for its liberal take on many social issues. When Trump fared well in the nomination process, Menlo was surprised. When he was nominated, Menlo was slightly more shocked, yet Menlo students insisted that it was merely a coincidence and that Clinton would win presidency. How could someone who had openly attacked and insulted Mexicans, Muslims and women become president? How could someone with such little political experience succeed? How could someone who has a history of sexual assault ever compete to lead our nation? As the election unfolded late Tuesday night, the majority of the Menlo community’s fears came true: Trump became our nation’s next leader.

Being able to go to school at a place like Menlo has been a blessing — Menlo is one of the most accepting, supportive communities I know. From creating transgender bathrooms to getting rid of sadies to starting community circle, Menlo has taken many steps towards becoming a community that I deeply admire.

That being said, I am a little taken aback by how some members of both our and the surrounding communities have reacted to Trump becoming president. Yes, being angry, scared or disappointed is perfectly justified, especially if you are part of a group that has been directly insulted by Trump. However, publicly shaming and criticizing all Trump supporters by calling them all racist and homophobic is essentially fighting bigotry with bigotry. It’s hypocritical.

Instead of shunning all Trump supporters, we need to come together as a nation and politely listen to each other. If one side persists being intolerant to other viewpoints, politely accept that not everyone needs to have the same viewpoint. This doesn’t mean that you have to cease fighting and expressing your beliefs — still do so. But just be aware that sometimes people are less open to changing their opinion, even if it’s about something that you and the majority of the population strongly believe in.

Whether we like it or not, we need to accept the election. Trump is our next president. If we don’t accept the election, the polarization that our country has been facing will continue to increase. He may go against every single one of your beliefs and values. He may have insulted you. And you may be totally disillusioned by our nation as a whole. However, our nation needs to be able to overcome this and our differences of opinion and make the next four years as great as they can possibly be.  

Lee Fisher:

Two days ago, Donald Trump was declared the president elect of the United States of America. And tonight, I am scared for the security and legitimacy of my country and my democracy.

When I envision a President Trump (coupled with a Republican-controlled Congress and a conservative Supreme Court), I envision a future in which America takes giant steps backward, not forward. Trump will never “Make America Great Again,” and there are two reasons why.

First off, the United States hasn’t been great in the past — that past isn’t necessarily something to aspire to. Yes, there have been some amazing, groundbreaking events in our country’s history: the establishment of the separation of church and state, the abolishment of slavery, voting rights for women, and plenty more. But America is so much better off today than it was years ago. Our country is less racist, less sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and overall far more socially progressive than it was all those years ago. Advancements in social, economic, and political equality for all types of minority groups in recent years have revolutionized our country. The gap between the rich and the poor has shrunk, unemployment has decreased following the recession, and the United States has made concrete advancements in technology, climate change, and education. So, Donald Trump’s aspirations to return to the “great” America of years past are dangerous and certainly misguided.

Secondly, what Donald Trump does eventually achieve will surely make America worse — not better — and destroy all of the progress that has been made thus far. A Trump presidency could potentially include the deportation of illegal immigrants, a wall between Mexico and the United States, the abandonment of the TPP and free trade, potential dissolution of the NATO alliance, bombing in the Middle East, cancelation of climate change programs, repeal of Obamacare, and the election of a man who represents the worst aspects of America. He will affect millions of lives, and not for the better, especially if he follows through on his promises. But even if you do agree with Trump’s policy proposals, issues will still arise with other aspects of his presidency. His character, his temperament, and his inexperience are what can only be described as damning character flaws. A Trump presidency will also, in the eyes of some, legitimize the views of a radical group of people who not only accept, but support Trump’s behavior. Trump is the “anti” candidate: he stands for the hatred of so many types of people, the alienation of those who are different from him. And with his election, the people who share those views can claim that they are in the right, that they are in the majority.

Donald Trump, the villain in our political reality show, the candidate who was clearly lacking in policy knowledge, quality character, and public service experience, will become the President of the United States. There is nothing that I, or anyone, can say to change that. There is nothing that anyone can do about this giant step backwards that will change our country forever. All we can do is wait and hope that Donald Trump fails in making America his version of “great again.”

Gillian Bressie: 

To those of you using the #NotMyPresident:

We live in a country that is more or less a democracy. In our constitution and in our government system, the candidate receiving the most electoral votes is the candidate that will become our president. Just because you were not originally in support of this candidate, just because you do not standby his views, just because you are not in agreement with his policy, and just because he didn’t win the popular vote does not mean that you can selectively eliminate yourself from the outcome of this election. The popular vote, according to our constitution, does not elect our president.

This election is undoubtedly the most divisive we have seen in recent history, so it is inevitable that we would have a far stronger and more emphatic reaction to the outcome. Regardless, the system under which we are governed prides itself on our smooth transition of power. Though you may not agree with his policy, our system of government has determined that the majority of electoral votes chose him to represent and lead us. To question our system and deem the electoral college unfair now that the system doesn’t suit your wishes and opinions is unfair. Had the result gone in the opposite direction, Hillary Clinton having won the electoral college while losing the popular vote, we would undoubtedly be hearing the opposite argument from both sides.

I am in no way advocating for the electoral college, I’m simply stating that this is how our president is elected and has been elected since the 1700s. We should think about if we are actually unhappy with the system, or if we are choosing to question the system because of its result.

I’m not saying that you can’t be unhappy about the results of the election; I myself am not even happy about the results of the election, but refusing to accept the result gets us nowhere. As the elected leader of our country, Donald Trump deserves the opportunity to at least be given a chance, and the Americans who voted for him deserve to have their voice heard.

While you may not support what he stands for, his ideals, or himself it is your duty as an American citizen to accept him as the future president of The United States.

Katie Stonesifer: 

Dear Mr. Trump,

The extent of my knowledge about your health care plans, foreign policy, and economic strategy is limited to what I have heard in the presidential debates. I am a seventeen-year-old girl without an interest in politics. I don’t know much about you or the system.

However, what I do know is that you’ve sat with Howard Stern and openly ranked women on their appearances. That you have been videod making derogatory comments towards women and excused them as “locker room banter.” That you diminished Carly Fiorina’s accomplishments by focusing on her looks instead of her plans as a presidential candidate. That you judge young women who strut across a stage in bikinis in the Miss America pageant. What I do know is you have treated women as sexual objects.

You are a man, so you do not understand what it feels like to be labeled purely on your looks, to have your intelligence, personality, and worth be ignored in lieu of how big or small certain body parts are. Ask any woman, and they will tell you it is a belittling and shameful feeling.

On Jan. 20, you will become one of the most powerful men in the world. You will also become the person American children look up to. They want to be you and will do what you do. I have a ten-year-old brother at home, one whom my mother, sister, and I have been trying to teach how to respect women. I would be devastated if I ever caught him saying the things you have said. But he is ten. He copies what he hears. If he hears you saying them, he will repeat them. If you, as the leader of the free nation, participate in this misogyny, you are condoning this attitude for the rest of the world. I am afraid that you’re presidency will be taking a huge step back for the treatment of women.

However, you have fairly won the election and you’re our nation’s next president. I am left with no other choice than to put my faith in you, and hope that you see error in your ways and change them. Like I said, I am a seventeen-year-old-girl. I have studied hard throughout high school, am now applying to colleges, and have big dreams for myself. But the future of how I am viewed as a woman is in your hands. If you keep up your sexist ways, the rest of the world will follow. So I ask, don’t let me down, and don’t let the rest of America down. Respect the other half of the population.

One concerned American.

Electa Narasin:

An Open Letter to Trump Supports

I would like to start out by saying that I think everyone is entitled to their own opinions and this is only my own, so I hope you can respect it in return.

To whom it may concern,

Because of you, many of my friends do not feel safe in their own country. You have supported a man who has called Mexicans rapists, claimed that all Muslims are terrorists, joked about grabbing women by their genitals, and so much more. You have overlooked these things because you claim you want “change.” Overlooking all these things and more is horrifying in itself, but besides that, doesn’t the first woman president represent change? To be fully honest, I am not a Hillary supporter. I don’t have the “I’m with her” bumper sticker, and I don’t preach her name. I see her faults. But in no way do I believe that these faults outweigh Donald Trumps’.

From what I know, a lot of the support for Trump comes from midwestern farmers or coal miners who have lost their jobs and think Trump is going to change that. As a 17 year old girl, I don’t know whether or not that is a valid statement. Let’s just assume it is. So you get your job in the coal mine back… but on the other end, millions of people are fearful of the leader of our nation. Fearful of the place they live in. Is that worth it? As a woman, I am fearful. I am fearful that a man who has called sexual assault “locker room talk” and who has made rape seem like a casual thing is the leader of our free nation. Rape is not causal, it is not something to joke about, and it is certainly not “locker room talk.” I am fearful of a nation who elected a man who has made so many people feel worthless and like nothing. If America backed a man who called you a rapist, a terrorist, or made fun of you on national tv, how would you feel? Look at this from the perspective of someone who is on the opposite side. Someone who has been attacked by this racist, bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic pig. This is just my opinion, and it probably won’t affect yours, but I just had to get it out. Donald Trump, you may be America’s President, but you will never be mine.