The past 36 hours have sucked.
On Tuesday night, I felt like I was in the wrong country.
My mom had called me earlier in the day, so excited that — according to the polls — she was finally going to see another mother lead this nation, and that she was going to get to live through it with her children.
But by 11 p.m., neither of us could put a sentence together.
Meanwhile, most of our University reacted just as any diverse group of 17,694 students would. Students of Muslim and Hispanic backgrounds questioned their status within this country, while female students mourned the missed opportunity to shatter a metaphorical barricade.
Wednesday was even worse.
I woke up at about 8 a.m., turned on my phone and watched the country sober up, only to continue its nightmare on my laptop’s 13-inch screen.
Disillusion, disbelief, anger, sadness, disappointment, robbery and fear.
Nearly half of the country said it didn’t want to make America “great” again. It was already great — or at least on it’s way to being so — and no comment out of this real estate mogul’s mouth made us feel remotely comfortable with his “greatness” leading our country.
But half of our country did, and now the rest of us can either move to Canada or continue to trust the process that brought us our first black president.
This year, unlike 2008, it wasn’t Democrats who were seeking change. Because Hillary Clinton wanted to continue the legacy of the last eight years, she couldn’t really push a message of change.
Yet, Donald Trump was able to offer it, and no matter how vague his message was, it resonated with tens of millions of people who have felt abandoned and unheard.
Initially, we all think of ways to get him out of office the moment he steps in, thinking “Oh, he’ll be impeached.” But that’s assuming he does something impeachable.
I’m really not sure how I will explain what happened yesterday to my kids and to my kids’ kids when they’re learning about the 45th President.
“Dad, how did he say all of those things and still get 59 million votes?”
I’m still not entirely sure. But for right now, we need to unite.
In 70 days, we’ll have a president that identifies as Republican, along with a Republican House and a Republican Senate. We’re already watching politicians that were bashed by the other side during the campaign — public officials and candidates that fired shots back at them, people we greatly respect — congratulate Donald Trump and accept the results of this election. It’s natural to feel betrayed by them, tricked and even helpless as citizens.
But as difficult as it will be, we should try our best to recognize that this is being done for the greater good, and despite the dreaded numbers we saw Tuesday night, continue to believe in our ability to create change and break barriers.
Our idea of hope is crushed when our side doesn’t come out on top. But it’s the moments we get back up and keep going that strengthen and define our character. As our current president stated, this country has taken anything but a straight path from the 1700s to where it is now.
Remember, a liberal loss does not erase the fact that a female presidential candidate earned more votes than anyone Tuesday. Even if that doesn’t put in her in the Oval Office, it’s a monumental victory and step forward in itself — for every citizen of the United States.
By no means do we have to like the president-elect, and considering his actions and words revealed over the course of this election, no one should ever expect us to.
I cannot guarantee what will come from a Trump administration, but I can promise that the embrace of our democracy is what will continue to allow us to flourish.
“This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” Hillary said yesterday morning. “But I still believe in America, and I always will.”
Even after this election, I do too.
– Jesse Irwin, senior
Note: Jesse Irwin does video production for The Pitt News.