Nov 10th, 2016, 12:48 AM

We're All Fired

By Samantha Stiteler
Image credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore
Students and professors react to the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

Thoughts of Cold War times, abandoning US citizenship, vicious racism that still exists in the States, and parallels between the FN in France and the Brexit in the United Kingdom were discussed in the following interviews. The very things democracy is meant to protect – freedom, human rights, liberty, togetherness – has led to what some feel is just the opposite: fear, inequality, discrimination, and a great divide in our nation. While millions of Americans cry celebratory tears of relief and joy, millions more cry for starkly different reasons. While Hillary promised to move us forward, Trump promises to “Make America Great Again”, and I can’t help but feel that we’ve just taken many steps backward.

Shuri Kyen Chungag, Detroit, MI

Shuri's mother and sister were walking in their neighborhood when a car full of young white boys shouted, “Trump for President” from the street corner. During another walk just weeks later, her uncle (visiting from Cameroon) was walking with her father, and on the same street corner, another group of white boys shouted the N-word at her family. Mid-conversation, Shuri paused and began to cry, exclaiming, “Oh, my God…he’s going to be our President.”

One of my first thoughts was this country was clearly not made for me. If it wasn’t clear before, this confirms that the US was never and never will be for me. “The first thing I did to cope, was I listened to the cast album of a Broadway show called Hamilton. It’s the story of the American Revolution told by a cast entirely made of people of color. And just listening to a lot of black and brown voices rap about the Battle of Yorktown and stuff like that validated that yes, this country is mine.

“No matter what I do in my lifetime, America will never be a place where I’m a full, valid citizen just by virtue of who I am as a person. I’ll never be socially American. The things that enable him to be President are the reasons that I will never be American-American. I’ll always be Black-American, Cameroonian-American, I’ll never be a full American.

“Even if most of America won’t see me as being fully American, they’re wrong. They clearly don’t know what they’re talking about, they can’t dictate who I am or what I’m worth...This is actually the thought that got me out of bed in the morning, was 'Nothing Donald Trump does or will ever do will stop me from living my life.'

“Going back to Hamilton, I was listening to this one song, where the first thing that they think to say is, ‘Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now’ and that gets me through more than elections."

Anonymous Professor

“It’s just a clear signal by the American people that they’re fed up with the politics being run, and that they’re fed up with the trickle-down economics that have been promised to them for many many years which have not come through.

I’m just very afraid that France is going to be next in line and that the Front National will win the elections in May next year. There's a very high risk because the same is true in France, theres no political alternative the politicians that have been around have been around for many many years and people are fed up with them, and the only people who come with ‘fresh talk’, is the FN.

“I would consider Trump very close with the Fascist alignment. After a peaceful period, there’s a high risk that we [will] move into this era of Cold War again.”

Image credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Ariana Coleman, Beaumont, TX

“I saw on Twitter, 'A man who has no qualifications can be President, yet I have to have five years of experience and a graduate degree in order to get an entry-level job'. It just baffles me. I’m from a town outside of Houston who's traditionally voted Republican and for the first time, we supported the Democratic nominee for President. That’s when I knew this election was going to hit us all…”

Ali Beau Nielsen, Riverside, CA

I have not slept in 36 hours. As soon as I saw the headline that Donald Trump had won the election, it kinda felt fake, like a Onion article, and now it’s slowly sinking in, but I’m not ready to call that man Mr. President.

"This is going to drive me to remain in France and become a European citizen. My father is Danish, and if I don’t get the Danish citizenship, then I’m going to stay here until I get the French citizenship.”

Wanchen Jiang, Beijing, China

“He says things that are wrong in so many ways. He just wants to say things that attract people, that attract the media.

“Trump pretended that he says whatever he feels, but in fact he is a really calculated person. He says things like ‘We’re gonna make the middle class achieve the American dream', but what the fuck is the American dream?”

I asked how people in China, and Beijing reacted to Trump and Clinton during the election.

“The funniest reaction is people would say ‘Come to China, there’s no democracy, you don’t need to vote'. And then there’s people who think it would be harder for them to go to America because he is against immigrants.

“Donald Trump claims that he’s going to make the big companies in America stop using Chinese labor and he’s going to hire American labor, but the problem is, in China, you probably pay each laborer $2/hour, even $1/hour, and in America, you pay at least $10/hour, and he used cheap Chinese labor to make his money. That’s just very contradictory.”

In a study done by the Huffington Post in 2012, the average American wage is $23.32, whereas the average Chinese wage is $1.36, and an article by the Washington Post describes how Trump’s own line of clothing is manufactured in low wage countries like China, Honduras, and Bangladesh.

Professor Jonathon Shimony, Boston, MA

“I am appalled by the election of Donald Trump but unfortunately I am not surprised. I think that the Democrats eliminated their best bet, and that was Bernie Sanders. I don’t think for what’s going to happen internationally it’s going to change much of anything... and I also believe that internally it's a disaster. I think it’s the death of liberal thinking for a long time in the States.”

While reactions were comprised of deep sorrow and upset, the hope of our students reflects the potential for a brighter future, even though that seems impossible in the aftermath of such chaos and shock. As Hillary Clinton so eloquently said in her concession speech, "Our best days are still ahead of us...because you know, you know I believe, we are stronger together, and we will go forward together".