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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

A Reflection on the Current State of Our Nation


Tuesday, Nov. 8th, 2016, started just like any other day. The sun was shining in Baltimore despite the brisk bite of the autumn air. On campus, Maryland residents proudly paraded around campus with their “I Voted” stickers stuck on their shirts, while those who were far from home posted pictures of their absentee ballots on Facebook. For many students, this election was their first time exercising the right to vote. Yet amidst the excitement, the anxiety that radiated within and amongst students and faculty alike was palpable.

As the sun set, the excitement dissipated and the unease settled in. Every TV screen showed news channels updating the public with state-by-state projections of their winner. For some like myself, tuning out the constant reporting was a way to cope with the situation at hand. While others sat glued to their seats, screaming and crying in frustration, I tried to remove myself from the negativity. I told myself that the results will be the same in the morning, whether or not I watch every second of the counting process. But hours passed, and it soon became evident that I had no choice but to be present in one of the most historic moments of our nation.

State by state, the country was overwhelmingly painted red. Hearts raced as electoral votes rolled in, the count fluctuating so frequently that a state’s winner could only be declared for a moment or two. My friends and I held our breaths as battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania walked the political tight rope, the differences between popular vote percentages so slim that it was hard for us not to lose hope. This went on well into the early morning, all of us dumbfounded at the reality of where the numbers eventually settled to.

I went to bed at 3 a.m. with some tears in my eyes and the sound of our newest president delivering his acceptance speech forcing its way through the paper thin walls of my bedroom. I thought of the people in various communities—racial minorities, LGBTQ+, Muslims, immigrants, women—whose lives may drastically change as a result of this election. My heart ached at the thought of our progress being shoved miles backwards after working so hard for the past eight years to push forward.

As much as many of us would love to pack our bags and head over to the Great White North, we must strive to find a more permanent solution to the deeply-rooted, systemic problems of our nation. America is our home: Many of us may not be proud at the moment, but it is our duty to make it a home we are proud of again.

The ideologies and practices that have overwhelmingly polarized our nation must be reflected upon in order for us to actually progress in a constructive manner. We must leave our biases and emotions at the door and step into a space in which we are able to look at our country’s flaws objectively and without antagonizing the opposing side. Only then can we move forward in a way that will make real change.

As loudly as we individuals voice out our own opinions, we just as strongly turn a deaf ear to those beliefs which may not coincide with ours, and this occurs on both sides. We are all simultaneously participating in a one-sided conversation, one where we are constantly talking over each other to make sure that our single voice is heard. We are all forgetting one of the most crucial components of conversation: We are forgetting to listen to each other.

Adamant refusals to understand why fellow countrymen voted for Donald J. Trump in this presidential election is the exact reason why we are currently residing in such a divided nation. To some, the term “Trump supporter” has become synonymous with certain attributes that are automatically given to one who votes for Trump, though the individual may not personally possess these qualities or beliefs. We have hypocritically created a stereotype for those who we see as “Other”, and this does nothing to help solve the issues at hand.

Though Trump may not be the most deserving of our understanding, the ways we have treated each other throughout this election cycle is representative of our stubborn insistence of correctness that has become the very foundation of our nation.  Because we fight to prove only why our side of the story is the right one, we are no longer a group of united states. We are so quick to shut down ideas that are different from ours, without taking the time to listen to the logic and sentiments behind them. We must lean into the discomfort of listening to opinions that differ from ours without the agenda of contradiction.

I am personally devastated by the outcome of this election, and I know many others are as well. I encourage those who are hurting to grieve in a manner that does not result in antagonizing the opposing side. We cannot turn against each other at a time when unity has become so crucial to the mending of this nation. We must open our hearts and minds and push for deeper acceptance and understanding. We cannot fight hate with hate: We must fight with compassion.

Picture taken from Flickr Creative Commons : Dave Reid


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A Reflection on the Current State of Our Nation