Moving forward in a Trump nation

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(Graphic by Lauren Johnson / The DePaulia)

When it was first announced Donald Trump was going to run for the presidency in June 2015, laughter was the common reaction. Over a year later, in July 2016, it was announced he would be the presidential nominee of the GOP. When people found out the man whose name was well recognized from NBC’s “The Apprentice” would be running for the highest political office in the country, the laughs turned into skepticism.

During his months of campaigning, he succeeded in creating an unpopular opinion of himself after he berated women, people of color, immigrants and others.

On election day, his victory came as a surprise to many. The day after the election, Nov. 9, was a solemn day, yet red “Make America Great Again” hats worn by the DePaul College Republicans were seen on DePaul’s campus.

Friday, on Inauguration Day, President Trump put his hand on two bibles, raised his other hand and swore the oath he would faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States.

Over the weekend, demonstrations took place all over the country against his presidency. Demonstrators protested outside of the inauguration in D.C.. A demonstration, took place Friday outside of Trump Tower in Chicago as well as throughout the country. The Women’s March drew an estimated crowd of 2.9 million Saturday morning throughout the country, according to PoliticsUSA.

On DePaul’s campus, an event organized by professor of art, media and design Matthew Girson titled “January 20, 2017 and the Murmur of Democracy” was meant to give individuals in DePaul’s community a moment to reflect on their own experiences of oppression as well as to highlight the 75th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, which was the systematic annihilation of the Jewish people.

“Today is also the Inauguration Day of Donald Trump to who my mind uses a lot of hateful and device rhetoric,” Girson said. “I didn’t just want to let it go as another quiet day, I wanted to stand up and do a collective opportunity to commemorate the dark history and to stand in defiance of Trump’s negative ideas and values.”

The Students Together Against Trump (STAT) organized the DePaul Day of Defiance, a day meant to be a direct response to Trump’s inauguration. The day ended with members of STAT attending the Resist Trump: Inauguration Chicago March in the Daley Plaza.

While the popular opinion, among anti-Trump voters, is that politics fell into the hands of the wrong people, the immediate reaction is for acts of resistance to take place. This response is needed, it makes the message of disapproval clear. But, moving forward, demonstrations are not enough. More action needs to be done in the next four years in order to keep the momentum going.

“I’m really interested in leading e-mail, letter writing campaigns and making phone calls to representatives,” Riley Yaxley, STAT and Act Out DePaul member, said. “Personally, I have a lot of experience doing that and I think it’s really important to contact government in lower levels rather than being like it’s all up to the president. You need to engage with the policies on all levels.”

Politics is not limited to the ballot box — it takes place on the street your home and on your campus. A large amount of people from very different backgrounds across the country have felt attacked by Trump and his administration during his campaign. This has been enough reason for citizens not necessarily politically engaged to become involved in politics. And, this is the attitude that will need to continue the next four years.

“I agree that there’s a concern if we’re going to be able to keep up the momentum, but we don’t really know until we’re convincing people we need to build for the long term, not just in the immediate present,” Sam Peiffer, member of the DePaul Socialists and STAT, said. “We need to continue to fight and build organizations.”

Building coalitions, such as the STAT group formed at DePaul, is an effective method of collective organizing. But, even on a smaller scale individuals will need to make an active effort to stay educated on this new administration.

Proactive ways to do so are to stay informed, read the news that does not only align with your political views, inform younger generations to be media literate and to not repeat the beliefs of an immoral administration. Taking a step further and engaging in politics are going to be necessary in this presidential term.

Responsible, active political engagement is the only way to move forward in a Trump nation.