By Lily Spechler, The Vermont Cynic
First of all, for all of those who didn’t vote, shame on you. Today a girl in my political science class argued that “you have to respect people’s morals”. By morals, she was talking about how some people did not vote because their morals did not align with Hillary’s morals. That is not an important enough argument to spend any time on. Yes, Hillary was a flawed candidate from the get go. But she stood for basic human rights and the health of this planet. By not voting, you are directly consenting to the pussy-grabbing morals of Donald Trump. By not voting you have absolutely zero right to be upset about anything that will come of this election. By not voting you are surrendering your one and only power to influence the outcome of this election. And not to mention the fact that the election is so much more than who wins presidency. What about local governments? Don’t you care about that? I am not sure what voter turnout rate for our age group was, but I know I can count ten people off the bat who failed to fulfill this basic civic duty. I am anxious to see how that ratio pans out across our nation.
We can only do one thing at this point and that is to look forwards. How can we make voting more available for college students and minority groups? Who will be the first to develop a voting app to make voting accessible at the tap of a finger? Yes, it’s absurd that we only get one day- and a Tuesday at that. Yes, its absurd to still be relying on snail mail. But what are you going to do about it? Lets step up and make a change so that this never happens again.
Let’s turn our attention to our beautiful and vulnerable planet. THESE PEOPLE HAVE PUBLICLY DENIED CLIMATE CHANGE! THAT IS VERY, VERY, SCARY! But since America was too consumed by e-mails to notice that little red flag, let’s discuss.
I am feeling exceedingly grateful to our former leaders for thinking ahead on things like the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The Paris Climate Agreement commits countries to undertake ‘nationally determined contributions’ and establishes mechanisms to hold them accountable and to strengthen ambition in the years ahead.” (http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/paris-q-a-fact-sheet-10-16.pdf)
The Paris Agreement is binding by law, and legally requires participating countries to report carbon emissions. Although yes, the U.S. has the right to pull out of this agreement, “The Paris Agreement specifies that a party may not withdraw from the agreement within the first three years following its entry into force.” (http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/paris-q-a-fact-sheet-10-16.pdf)
Sounds like somebody was foreseeing the possibility of a leader who disregards science and all things intellectual. That is a huge deal, and though Trump may very well try to go around this, the Paris Climate Agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016. In the same vein, the Environmental Protection Agency is in effect by law- not easily reversible. So to all my environmentalist friends- you know what, lets not even say ‘environmentalists’ lets say educated human beings who are living within the context of reality- hope is not lost. We are the future. We cannot give up the fight for this precious climate. Yes, this is a huge set back. But we don’t need to surrender to impending doom, either. Let’s have faith in the checks and balances of our system. Let’s have faith in ourselves as innovators, movers, and shakers. These rich white supremacists that have so rudely interrupted our victories are fortunately dying out. Regardless of what is happening right now we are still the future.
Upon talking to one of my older mentors, she said that “Progress is often full of zigs and zags. We will get there if we don’t give up. Never give up.
Here are the scariest truths. The Supreme Court serves for life. The president has the right to choose who will fill Scalia’s seat, and the Republican party didn’t even consider Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland. So the Supreme Court is going to be controlled by conservative Republicans. Roe V. Wade, the landmark decision by the U.S Supreme Court on the issue of abortion, can be revoked and that is not a “far-out” reality- Pence (the Vice President-elect ) was the one who led the charge for abolishing the right to chose in Indiana. And two more justices are likely very close to retirement. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/us/politics/trump-supreme-court.html) There is not a whole lot that we can do about this. The only thing that we can do is make a lot of noise locally.
Another scary truth is that this election served as an indicator report to some major issues that need fixing in our nation. This election showed that xenophobia, racism, sexism, misogyny and wealth politics are alive and well in this nation. At least these problems can finally be brought to the forefront of our mind. Hopefully now people will pay more attention. Last week I was talking to my boyfriend about the disparity between generations when it comes to the news. One of the theories I had was that our parents paid more attention to the news because they lived in fear of the draft. Current events affected them more directly. We have been lucky enough to live through a relatively stable era. But if you are a living being that relies on natural resources to survive Donald Trump’s presidency will affect you in some way. This presidency will affect some more than others, there is no question. But hopefully this will serve as a huge wake up call to our entire nation about the potential of who is in power.
I think that another major issue in this nation was the media. This election was a personality contest. But the media is a direct result of its motivation. The media is motivated by money and ratings. It is a product of what we turn our attention to. Let us hold ourselves to higher standards. Let us shut off the TV when Bill Clinton’s affair is being discussed. Let us shut off the TV when Hillary’s outfits are being discussed. Let us demand higher quality information by filtering out the garbage from our brains. Let us step up our game and maybe the media will step up theirs, too.
I refuse to live in fear and I stand by this country however broken. Let’s use this as a leverage point to get more involved as young people. Love is more important than ever right now. We have no choice besides committing to optimism and involvement. Don’t be a hysterical American. Fuel your frustrations into positive changes, be tactful and passionate and never give up. America is so much more than one person.