The Wave: Election Reflections

EDITORS’ NOTE: Though it’s impossible to say what will transpire over the next four years, it is clear that the results of the 2016 US Presidential Election will have profound implications on the future of the United States and the world at-large. Exactly what those implications are is hard to say at this point, but given the rhetoric which our now President-Elect unapologetically engaged in during the course of his campaign, it seems clear that the rights of women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, minorities, and the many who count themselves among the disenfranchised will continue to be threatened and undermined not only by the President-Elect’s words, but also by his policies.

Now, take a moment to consider what it feels like to be a high school student at this point in our country’s trajectory. Your future now looks profoundly different then it did only a week ago, and—due to the fact that you aren’t of age to vote—you have had absolutely no say in it. That is why, in our own small way, we here at Sunset Media Wave wanted to give our contributors a chance to actually have a say. Below, you will find various reflections on the election from our writers. While reading this collection of thoughts, we ask that you do so with an open mind and genuinely allow yourself to consider what it must be like to be in their shoes.

Give My Generation Some Hope in Our Future

As a lesbian Asian female, I am terrified. Donald Trump and his supporters are against everything that makes me me. I am terrified of the hate crimes that will undoubtedly spike. I am terrified of the implications of having an anti-LGBT president, terrified of a Vice President who actively funds conversion therapy, terrified of people with hate in their hearts who will feel justified in their actions because a bigot has been elected president. I am terrified of walking down any street holding my female friends’ hands. I am terrified of all the hard work that will be undone. All my friends have been calling me, crying, telling me to make sure that I am safe. I don’t know what will happen in the next four years, but I am still terrified of what has been proposed—large-scale deportation measures, legislation to legally discriminate against LGBT individuals, overturning Roe v. Wade.

Please, I’m begging whoever reads this. Prove me wrong. Give my generation some hope in our future. Take care of the people around you who might be in danger of hate crimes or discrimination. Please. I am so tired of losing faith; I’m only 16. I don’t want to be terrified anymore. I want to be safe.

Photo of San Francisco Student Protest by Dylan Lalanne Perkins
Photo of San Francisco Student Protest by Dylan Lalanne Perkins

Is America Really a Democracy?

Is the US really a democracy if the electoral votes of an entire state go to a single candidate even if that candidate has won by only just a small majority of the votes? This is what is wrong with the Electoral College system. If a Democrat lives in a majority Republican state, such as Alabama, his or her vote does not matter at all because the majority of the state will vote Republican, and all of the entirety of the state’s electoral votes will go to the Republican candidate, no matter how many Democratic votes were cast in the state. This is the same for a Republican living in California, a strong Democratic state.

And to think that a state with a comparably small population, like Wyoming, has three whole votes in the Electoral College is outrageous. People may think I’m crazy, such as a friend of mine who said, “It’s just three votes.” But allow me to go deeper on this topic. Let’s take Wyoming, a state with about 580,000 people in their population. This state has three electoral votes. Now let’s take our city of San Francisco, with a population of 830,000 people. Now let’s look at the whole population of California: 38.8 million people. If we were to make a ratio of 3 votes for every 500,000 people, then how many electoral votes would California have? Wow, California would have about 78 electoral votes. But wait, why does California have only 55 votes in the Electoral College then? Okay, let’s try a different ratio. For every 38.8 million people, a state would get 55 votes. Let’s do the math. In the end, Wyoming would receive 0.14 electoral votes. Hmm… Doesn’t this sound unbalanced? This is what I mean by the Electoral College system being unfair: A small group of people in Wyoming get so much say with their votes than a larger group like California.

Another point I would like to make is about the close competition between Trump and Clinton in the state of Florida. Because Trump had approximately 130,000 more votes than Clinton, he then took all 29 of Florida’s electoral votes. Is it really fair that he should get all the votes, even though he did not win the state by an overwhelming majority? No, this system needs to change. It is unfair. America is supposed to be a democracy, yet the electoral college makes it seem like our votes do not matter.

My future?

As a young Filipino woman going into college in about two years, I am honestly scared for my future. It saddens me that all the plans that I’ve made for the future might not happen because of Trump’s presidency. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but his opinions on women, immigration, the LGBTQ+ community, and many more groups are just outrageous. I don’t get how someone thinks that one race is better than the other, when everyone is equal.

I’m the most mad about his views on women; they are sickening. Our next president will be on trial for rape and has been accused in many sexual harassment cases. Our next president thinks that the people of the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else. He thinks that upper-class white men are the base of America. No, he won’t make America great again.

I like the idea of giving people a second chance, but I not in this case. He has shown us what he wants for this country and I guess other people want the same. It’s terrible that this country has to end up this way. I’m angry and I cried because I’m terrified. People around the country aren’t only terrified, but some are thinking of killing themselves rather than living in a country with Trump as president. Isn’t that saying something about this election and the next president? Please open your eyes, people, and see what’s happening around you.

Photo of San Francisco Student Protest by Dylan Lalanne Perkins
Photo of San Francisco Student Protest by Dylan Lalanne Perkins

Find Support in Each Other

Yesterday I spent the day down in the Civic Center with a group of students, walking down the street and protesting. As we walked, more and more people joined us. Last night I gathered with the 10,000 people who walked from City Hall all the way down to the Mission district. In the Castro, people held candles and stood together in solidarity. Today, there was a district wide walk-out in San Francisco high schools. 1,000 high school students walked out of their schools and took to the streets. We marched from City Hall, down Market Street, past the Ferry Building and all the Piers, and back to City Hall. Throughout all of this, I never heard opposition. People supported us, cheered us on and filmed us on their phones – some even joined in.

Everyone has been saying that we’re lucky to live in the liberal bubble of San Francisco, and California in general, and it’s true, we are lucky. But I can’t help but to think about all the people in this country that don’t have our luck. The black people, LGBTQ people, Muslims, women, and Latinx people living in red states where it feels like everyone is against them. I hope people across the country are able to come together as a community and find support amongst one another, like we have here in San Francisco.

If you don’t see yourself represented in our President-elect, look towards other people elected on Tuesday. Nevada elected Catherine Cortez Masto, our first Latina Senator. Minnesota elected Ilhan Omar, our first female Somali-American lawmaker. Illinois elected Tammy Duckworth, our second female Asian-American senator and first female senator to have served in the military.

Last night, my dad told me about how he cried as a kid when Ronald Reagan was elected because he was a “nuclear war threatening mofo.” The country was able to get through that presidency, and we can get through Donald Trump’s too, if we continue to stand together. Accept all your sadness and anger, and use it to fight.

The Two-Party System Has Failed

Yesterday, Donald Trump was elected as the president of United States. This man is known to be sexist and racist, and as much as many of us did not want this to happen, many other Americans thought that Donald Trump was a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. However, in my opinion, this serves to show an underlying issue with American politics: the two-party system. This has been an issue for awhile, but in this particular election, the idea that only the Democratic and Republican nominees were viable candidates led to many people voting for Trump—not because they thought Donald Trump would be a good president, but because they thought Hillary Clinton would be worse. Not many people are even aware of the other candidates, such as Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, who could be legitimate candidates with real goals. I think we should deeply question this restrictive two-party system and move towards a system where other candidates can be actual possibilities and voting for them isn’t considered a waste of a vote. If this system was different, perhaps we might have had a different outcome in this election. The election of Donald Trump as president should serve as an urgent alarm that this two-party system has to change.

The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow

Down the hallway, my clock struck midnight. As the three chimes resounded through the echoey house, I saw my mother walk back upstairs, head shaking. The elections was over. Donald Trump had won. Several hours before, I had been hearing the low grumbles and high-pitched shrieks from the next door neighbors, especially one particular neighbor who kept yelling “Clinton!” through the duration of the polls closing (he eventually seemed to give in around 10 PM). I myself had been distracted from my homework, pencil in hand as I watched the elections intently. But from the moment that Trump won Florida, mixed emotions filled me: anger, anxiety, and surprise. I knew the elections were virtually hopeless at this point, and I retreated to bed feeling defeated. However people may now look at the results of the election, it is still important to remember that we need to unite the nation (through Trump’s arrogance and ignorance) in order to confront the upcoming challenges in the next few years. As much as the majority of our country may hate to admit it, we still cannot forget that these election results should not interfere with the pride and integrity of our country. It may take time, however, to heal from the damages that this election has caused, but taking the words of President Obama, “The sun will still rise tomorrow.” However our future may now turn out, we must come together as one nation to settle our differences and manifest a new hope for tomorrow.

Photo of San Francisco Student Protest by Dylan Lalanne Perkins
Photo of San Francisco Student Protest by Dylan Lalanne Perkins

Speak Up / Listen Carefully

Like many others, the election affected me on an emotional level. I never thought that a man who had so little regard for human values would be our president. I cried throughout the night and was restless in fear that America was going to collapse. I was afraid of my own wellbeing as a bisexual mixed-race woman and for all my friends who have various identities that Donald Trump says he disapproves of. The next morning, I was in a dizzy, anxious state, and I knew I could not sustain my mental state. I couldn’t sit there grieving and moping, and I knew I must find a way to adopt a positive, hopeful mindset for the future. Hearing my peers share their opinions on the election made me realize how divided our nation has become, and that we must work to mend it. Right now, some people are rejoicing while others weep and protest. There seems to be no middle ground. No one wants to hear a viewpoint that does not coincide with their own beliefs, but we must be willing to listen if we want to rebuild our nation again. The best we can do is make our voices heard, and strive to hear others at the same time.


The Day After

I am in tears as I type this. It’s the day after the election, I’m in class and I feel as if a close friend of mine has died. I’m heartbroken. There is so much I want to say but there’s so little I’m able to share right now.

Six Days After the Election

There is a part of me that’s still in disbelief, and there is a part of me that saw this coming. This election has opened my eyes to just how blatantly divided the United States is, and I’m baffled. Last year, when I first heard Trump was running for president, I laughed. In my mind, there was no chance anyone would vote for someone so unqualified – so much so, that I never even considered entertaining the thought of him actually being elected. And frankly, It seemed that everyone around me thought the same. So I leaned back in my chair and made myself comfortable in my little bubble. I had subconsciously surrounded myself with like-minded individuals, and so it seemed that Trump didn’t stand a chance. Having been raised in San Francisco, this is how I’ve always tried to live. Here, it’s easy finding people who are ‘pro anything liberal.’ But San Francisco is just a tiny peninsula, and not the whole country. Trump’s win is the result of democracy, and this is part of what makes this country so wonderful.

I’m reminded of a time when I was bawling my eyes out in the 3rd grade about Prop 8 (gay marriage legalization) to my afterschool teacher, upset because I couldn’t vote and heartbroken that my family voted yes on the proposition (to eliminate same-sex marriage rights). I felt betrayed by my family, and I blamed them for not being open- minded. But looking back, I realize that I wasn’t being open minded towards my family. I didn’t reflect on why they voted that way, and I didn’t take the time to talk to them about the issue without letting my emotions take over.

My family grew up conservatively, and have been Christian for decades. So of course it makes sense that I have different values, having gone to a liberal art school since kindergarten, in the heart of San Francisco (and right next to the Castro I might add). Although I still disagree with my parents’ stance at the time, now that I’m older and wiser, I’m more compassionate towards opposing opinions. I realize that this is the basis of democracy. So no matter how divided the people are, we’re all still a part of the same country. So let’s work together, educate one another, and grow stronger as one.