Looking back on the last eight years is a humbling and prideful experience. Most of us grew up under the wings of the first African American president in our history. Some of us may only have a handful of memories from life without the Obamas in the White House. To many, their family represented hope, diversity, and a bright future. He proved that, in America, anyone could accomplish anything.
To most of those people, President Trump represents the opposite. Throughout the campaign trail and election process, Trump asserted himself as someone willing to say or do anything to keep himself on top, whether that meant insulting inferiors or claiming any negative outcomes or reviews to be rigged. However, to millions of Americans, Trump embodies a positive turn for the country: one that will champion Americans who feel abandoned by the system and past politicians, who promised change.
According to Trump, America is a dangerous, impoverished, gang-filled dystopia whose wealth has been stripped from our infrastructure and poured into international commitments.
Trump has said he will do a lot as president, including restrict immigration, create jobs, renegotiate NAFTA, and dismantle the Affordable Care Act. So far, he seems to be executing on various promises.
As a student-run newspaper, we try every issue to cover topics that are important and relevant to the student body and staff. The Pony Express will continue to work to print real news and information while never alienating anyone for their race, gender, political views, religion, or other aspect of their lives. In a presidential era where Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, calls lies “alternative facts,” we aim to investigate and relay truth.
In the coming years, our values may be called into question or even dismissed by people in positions of power. We cannot let this discourage us. We’re lucky enough to live in a country with free speech and thought, and we ought to embrace those rights.
As a newspaper, we have one message: hate can only lead to more hate. It’s important for each of us to outline and maintain our own morals. As citizens, it’s our responsibility to evaluate where we stand and what we believe in—don’t be the person who follows what everyone else is saying. But at the same time, it is equally important that we not only check Trump, but ourselves. If we find ourselves treating or judging people based on our opinions of their culture, appearance, or political opinions, we need to refocus and educate ourselves about our diversity.
Going forward, educating ourselves should be our highest priority. Ignorance and misunderstanding fuel hatred. To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Know when to push back against people who would try to silence you, but also understand when to gracefully concede. It is impossible for any one person to know everything about everything.
In the meantime, for those who feel marginalized by Trump and his policies, remember that in America, power resides in the people. When we turn 18, we have the ability to vote. Registration only takes about 20 minutes to complete, and yet half of eligible voters aged 18-29 did not vote in this last election.
Change does not come from insulting others. Nothing positive comes out of battling strangers on social media.
Whether you feel uncertain, anxious, hopeful, or excited about the future, we urge you to stand up for what you believe in without disrespecting others.