Just like America, I’m torn. This election has ruined friendships, strained families, and created an overwhelmingly tense campus presence. But now it’s over and we have a victor.

Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.

Just let that sink in.

Now this isn’t a hate piece about Trump, this also isn’t some sort of “Hillary-should’ve-won-wtf” pieces. Donald Trump won the election fair and square. This isn’t the 1830’s- ballot boxes weren’t stuffed, factory foremen weren’t observing their employees voting, and there were no “hanging chads”. Democracy happened. Democracy in all its gritty, frustrating, and beautiful glory happened this past Tuesday, and our duty as Americans is to remain faithful to our Constitution and to the institutions that have historically made America such a bastion for freedom and democracy.

Notice I didn’t say “Support Trump”, notice I didn’t say “Forget the comments of his campaign”, notice I didn’t say “suck it up”. This rhetoric does nothing but draw deeper lines in an already fractured political landscape. The marginalized groups that have been specifically called out have every right to feel whatever they deem is an appropriate reaction, their experience and reactions are no less valid than that of a traditionally privileged person. Additionally, these groups should be comfortable expressing any anger, sadness, or fear they may feel-without being told they are acting irrationally or without cause. All our voices should be heard as equal and we owe it to each other, republicans and democrats alike to give the respect we seek in return.

We can’t claim that we hold democracy, the freedom of choice, and true liberty above all else if we abandon these principles in trying times. Trump is our president; we owe him a chance to fulfill his duty. We can’t lay claim to democracy only when it is convenient for our side. We can’t cite liberty as our guide when we only invoke it to our benefit. The true measure of success is determined in how one handles themselves in times of strife-not in times of plenty.

Being an American transcends a president, being an American transcends an election-and being a Deacon transcends any ideological differences we may find amongst ourselves.

This election has changed everything. For supporters of Hillary, your fight doesn’t end now. Organize, facilitate discussions, push for reform and change, don’t complain about what Trump may or may not do-get out there and determine what YOU will do to change your nation. The campaign isn’t over-it never is. Find that spark that made you get out and vote for Clinton, hold onto it, and be a champion for someone or something else. Carry the torch on.

For supporters of Trump, my sincerest congratulations! Your candidate fought a tough campaign and he won in the fairest election guaranteed in the world. Take a moment, be proud of what you accomplished. Now the real work starts. Build bridges, educate others while seeking to learn yourselves, observe and adapt to our ever-changing nation. As the empowered party, you owe the country an administration that works for all, No matter skin color, god(s), gender, income, or lover. You have earned the office of the president for Trump, now hold him accountable for his promises to the people. Be who you said you would be and Make America Great (again).

This has been a tough year, but the greatest growing pains produce the strongest growth. I have faith in Donald Trump, I have faith in our nation, and I have faith in my school. But only if we choose to remain faithful to one another.

-Caleb Woody

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