Like many other exchange students, one of the main reasons we chose D.C. to study was due to the Presidential Election which took place last Tuesday. On the evening of Tuesday, silence echoed the streets of Washington as people gathered indoors to watch the election. I, like many other GW students, was naively optimistic about the outcome. After watching the 3 Presidential Debates leading up to the final day, there was no way that the American people would elect Trump as their President...right? The media certainly reflected this. But boy were we wrong. I later discovered that being in a liberal bubble that is D.C. and GW will do that to you.
The audience eagerly awaited the polls to close on the East Coast and drank one too many glasses of wine as the reporters on CNN changed the colours of the states on a touch-activated map of America. People were on the edge of their seats as many states such as Florida were too close to call. It wasn't looking good. Electoral votes for Trump edged its way up as the blue remained stagnant and the lever for predicting a Trump victory was 5%, then 25% then 95% on the WSJ. "It's going to be ok" was all that I could muster to say to my American friends.
Now I won't start a whole spiel against Trump and what he stands for. There's been enough of that this whole week. I believe that it is not the time to draw a demarcation line between the American people. It is not the time to further the us vs. them mentality. There is enough hate going around as it is and we don't need any more of it. Love trumps hate. The slogan of peaceful protests that are conjuring up in major cities around America. Protesting not because we want the results of the election to be reversed or trying to be sore losers but because we have a sense of urgency to show the people who are scared, the minorities, that we will stand with them.
To end, I continue to remain naively optimistic about the future, because I've seen first hand how many people do care. I am also willing to give Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt. We can only hope for the best.