Yes We Can: Moving forward after the election

For the past few months, since the election, I have been in sort of a place of denial.  Today is Inauguration Day, January 20th, and it is all too real. It’s here. Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.

I was covering the election that night, like most journalists, watching the states turn either red or blue, one by one. With each result, it was my job to keep everyone informed online. The Twitter feed was just a constant flow of things like “Trump wins Florida” and “Clinton takes Colorado.” In the beginning, the other people I was working with and I sat back, laughed, enjoyed the night and reported. A few hours in and my heart had quickened, the laughter stopped.

I drove home to watch the last few hours. After a much needed beer, I watched even more states turn red. Then more red. When the decision had almost been called, I had to get up. I was pacing around the downstairs of my boyfriend’s house because my, and a lot of other Americans, nightmare had just come true. Tears rolled down my face when I thought about the future for women, the LGBT community, immigrants, minorities and just the state of this country overall. I do not cry over things like this.. and I was crying.. like a sad puppy.

All I could think was…

What the hell does this mean for us?

How can we go from Obama to Trump?

And will Lena Dunham be okay?

That week was filled with things like protests and marches. I attended two protests downtown Chicago and those moments will always be burned into my memory (Click Here to see the full gallery of photos my boyfriend took during the march). I saw sexual assault survivors crying on the sidewalks. I saw construction workers hanging from the beams cheering us on. I saw a man get arrested for probably protesting just a little bit toooo hard.

Before that I somehow found myself in a peaceful circle of borderline hippies who were crying but vowed to not protest.. I quickly got myself out of there and went to protest. Sorry to the nice woman who gave me that free button that I kinda feel like I betrayed.

Something really crazy even came over me and I started fighting people on Facebook. That was when I knew that it was true: this election really brought out the worst in people.

Now two months have passed. Here we are.

Obama is no longer our President, but “yes we can” can still be our motto.

Yes we can put an end to bullies harrassing people for who they choose to love.

Yes we can be there for those who have survived any kind of emotional, mental, physical and sexual abuse.

Yes we can allow women the right to choose whatever they want to do with their own bodies.. because that is just common sense.

Yes we can make mental illness less stigmatized and let its sufferers feel free to talk about whatever they need, and provide them with more care and love.

Yes we can be better people.

Yes we can get past bigotry and racism.

Yes we can.

I know that the end of the tunnel might not be so clear right now. There is a lot of uncertainty about where everything will go from here, but if we keep Obama’s message going strong and support one another, nothing is unattainable.

Do not lose hope. Do not give up. Keep your voice heard. Do it for you, your best friend, your neighbors and that woman you just met on the bus.

By Emily Arias

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