KATE WEST (GRADE 11)
No, nobody needs to get over it.
Americans aren’t whining about campaign promises or swing states that went red or Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Today, America weeps not for its past, but for its future. For the millions that fear life without health care, and the many that face death without health care. For the environment, whose peril has been forgotten. For the seven countries banned, plus however many might follow. For the Muslims labelled as terrorists, the LGBT community labelled as sick, and the women whose rights are being stripped from them like clothes. With our fates (and the nuclear codes) now in those tiny hands, I wouldn’t call you crazy for dubbing this the apocalypse.
No, nobody should ever get over it.
Don’t you dare tell me to stop “whining,” complain about fliers in the hallway, or criticize my marching in the streets. Resistance against our current government is not a disrespect to our democracy, but rather the only way in which we can now put democracy to use. By telling fellow citizens to shut up and just blindly comply with their government already, you completely ignore the point of this country and proceed to nudge us inches closer to fascism.
The Constitution guarantees anyone and everyone the right to complain, to protest, to petition, to resist. It was put in place by the immigrants that founded our country so that the people could do something about a president who, say, wanted to get rid of all immigrants. Our country ripped itself from a monarchy and cried out in liberation: “power to the people.” And, last time I checked, I was a person. Our founding fathers inscribed an instruction manual for escaping tyranny into the foundation of America, and it would be a disservice not to read and follow it. Because never has escape been more necessary. This is exactly the moment those guys in wigs were planning for. To deny myself and others our First Amendment rights now, in the face of injustice, or at any time for that matter, is the most extreme form of contempt towards our country which I can imagine.
Under such an abhorrent administration, it is not only your right but your responsibility to wake up every day enraged. If we, the citizens who have been promised power, remain silent, we may as well have fallen into a dictatorial regime. Make posters, make allies, make hats, make art, write, shout in the streets, sign petitions, call Congress, send letters, tweet, march, argue. Get angry. And never, ever get over it.
Photo credit to Jim Cook.