By Lindsay Tahan firstname.lastname@example.org
Annie Dow, a senior at Flagler College, was shocked when she heard the words: “Pack your bags!”
The voice came from a convertible emblazoned with Trump signs. Two men were in the car, which slowed down as she walked along the sidewalk near campus. Then one of the men yelled at her.
Dow says she was taken by surprise. “At first I said ‘excuse me,’ and then they said it again and I told them I would go home and pack my bags,” says Dow, who had no intention of packing her bags. Dow says she figures that the men thought she was a foreigner because she has deeply tanned skin. But she’s an American citizen from Boston.
Her experience is one of many that students have experienced in the wake of the Nov. 8 presidential election, which left many people with mix emotions, emotions ranging from happiness and joy to despair and worry about the nation’s future.
Victoria Lee, another Flagler College senior, says as a minority living in the United States for four years she has had her fair share of racism. “I’ve never experienced anything like it when I was living in Canada and in China because I had attended all international schools and we were all about diversity, but being in the South especially has been quite an overwhelming experience,” says Lee. She says she is getting frustrated with the election on both sides saying that since she is a foreigner she knows most non-Americans felt Hillary Clinton was a better option because many felt Donald Trump was unqualified. Lee says that she has talked to her friends who expressed that their family members who are in the military voted for Trump because to them, someone who is under investigation by the FBI is serious and betraying. “What cannot be denied, however, is that Trump did run on a rather racist and sexist platform. I know based on his history in interviews and such that he’s actually a very moderate liberal who believes in universally accessible education and healthcare, and has even been openly pro-choice and has funded planned parenthood. But what he presented during his campaign was very different, and it did encourage a lot of racists to use him as their excuse to being more openly racist,” says Lee. “I am also very unhappy with how Clinton supporters have taken up to rioting violently and verbally attacking people for being racist. For a group that claimed Trump’s platform was fueled by hate, this was ironic. But the racism issue is real. So is the sexist issue. A lot of my friends all across the states who are LGBTQ, Asian, Black, Hispanic, etc are actually very shaken up right now because they’re scared. They’re not as scared as knowing Trump won, but rather the crazy racists who are running around using Trump as an excuse to spread fear and more hate. I just thoroughly disagree with blaming Trump supporters for racism,” says Lee.
Ashley Schopp, a Flagler College graduate, says that she voted for Trump but kept her preference to herself because she believes politics tends to be a sensitive subject. “I voted for him for tax reasons. My family owns a business and the tax cuts would favor the business for the better. I also come from a family where a lot of people served in the military and the way Hillary handled issues in Benghazi made me uneasy,” says Schopp. She says after the election she was surprised by people’s reactions saying that those against Trump were saying that his supporters were racist who hate foreigners and were supportive of a rapist as president. “My boyfriend is a foreigner that will seek citizenship in the states, and he is also of Arab descent so it is hurtful to hear people accusing all Republicans of having some deep rooted hatred towards a group of people,” says Schopp.
Brett Pinkerton, a Flagler College senior, says he is a registered as an independent but normally leans left. “I disliked Trump from the get-go because it was the thing people were doing, I was planning on voting for Bernie Sanders if he got the nomination for the Democrats. You didn’t see many people with Trump as soon as the election started, but more and more stood with him after winning the nomination from the GOP,” says Pinkerton. He says he continued to stand against Trump through the primaries until Nov. 8 when he finally came to terms with Trump becoming the new president. He says that he would scroll through Facebook posts and would get caught up in believing the propaganda that was being posted about Trump. Pinkerton decided to vote for Clinton, and read the Wikileaks posts and wondered how she would contribute as president. “Now this is where I started to think, I wondered who my family is voting for. So I asked, and found out both of my parents, who are on good terms, but don’t speak often, voted for Trump. I couldn’t believe it because they voted for Obama in ’08 and ’12, Clinton before that and Gore before that. So when I saw people I cared for were voting for Trump I decided to look deeper into his ideal policies when elected. His tax plans will benefit my dad, will benefit me when I start my job next year and will benefit my mom’s company. So, I believe if I had done more research before deciding exactly who I wanted to vote for, I would have been someone who voted for Trump. Social media bias is real and it bothers me that I fell for it,” says Pinkerton.
Max Dela Merced a senior at Flagler College says he has never been a fan of politics and that he thinks this election was a bizarre rollercoaster. “I don’t regard Hillary Clinton as a liberal or even as a progressive. In fact, I found her policies (in the past at least) to be more conservative than most of Trump’s policies,” says Merced. He says that he has witnessed friends argue and express their fear of “crooked Hillary” or “Trump the racist.” “The people I knew who were hardcore Clinton supporters were genuinely upset or…devastated. I saw these people walking around as if the world was ending, one girl in particular was crying on the phone (talking about the results),” says Merced. Merced says that after the election he has witnessed Trump supporters remain quiet about the results and Clinton supporters protest about the end of America. “It’s exactly what happened when Obama won, and what happened when Bush won. And America is just stuck in the middle,” says Merced.
Halleigh Marie, a Flagler College senior, says there is a peaceful way to celebrate a win and mourning a loss and she has not seen much of either. “There has been a lot of talk of men grabbing women by the pussy, not actually but saying well now I’m going to or things of that nature and being a women, that’s terrifying,” says Marie. She says there has been a lot of hate on the types of people who would vote for Clinton, saying “Hillary will take the lead until the Republicans get off work,” says Marie. “I think we all know this is untrue and many of our wealthiest citizens voted for Hillary such as many celebrities who are Democrats so again it’s just false. As for Republicans, I think there is a major misconception about why or how people could vote for Trump. I think people are forgetting conservative and liberal ideals and what that means and that’s how we can or can’t vote for someone not just for the things that say we disagree with, etc, ” says Marie.
Christopher Meier, a senior at Flagler College, is a supporter of Trump and says he has received nothing but hostile views against his perspective. “My reasoned, cogent response for why I voted Trump have been met with, you are racist, and fat and I am smarter than you,” says Meier. Meier says there is a minority of Flagler students who meet and talk between classes who are supporters of Trump or anti-Clinton and that these students discuss politics and talk about how we keep our beliefs mostly to ourselves because people are abusive. Meier has not attended protest because he says it is not a constructive environment. “They do not want solutions, they want to be victims and point fingers and blame. The logic that Trump was brought to power on the backs of racists is broken,” says Meier.