We have work to do!
Like many of you, I also felt perplexed and saddened when hate and xenophobia won the majority of electoral votes on Nov. 8. I felt angry and disappointed that our votes were not enough to stop this from happening.
Nonetheless, those feelings have faded. Today, I feel determined. Today, I’m unwilling to give up and let some demagogue make this country any less great than it is.
And if you care as much as I do for this country, and if you believe that the president-elect is not representative of the values and principles of this country, I implore you not to give up.
I’d like to remind you that if the popular vote is any indication, more people than not also feel the same way that you do. If any of you think that your vote does not matter, think again. I’d like to remind you that our votes elected the first Latina senator, the first Indian-American senator, the first Indian-American woman representative, the first Vietnamese-American congresswoman, and the first LGBT governor.
This is not the moment to disengage politically—it’s time to engage even more. Votes elect people, and votes take them out, too.
Do you like midterms? Well, nobody dislikes midterms more than seated politicians. In two years, the entirety of the House of Representatives, as well as 33 Senate seats and 37 governorships, will be up for re-election. I told one of my friends who didn’t vote this year that I would personally drive him to vote in the midterms—I just need to learn how to drive first, of course.
And while taking down Trump’s comrades and party loyalists would be one of the best ways to stop him, it’s far from the only thing you can do. Take the writing skills you have developed in college and write a letter to your representatives. Tell them how impatiently you await the opportunity to grade them on their performance in the midterms, and advise them on how they can pass your test.
Exercise your right to peacefully assemble and protest that which you don’t agree with. Demonstrate to your representatives that their actions and comments have political repercussions. Donate to your favorite institution that will fight for your rights in the face of governmental violations.
Do you dislike the Electoral College? Then remember that the system can be changed—and that you can help change it.
While a constitutional amendment would be difficult to pass, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would allow the winner of the popular vote to win the electoral vote without the need for a constitutional amendment.
In this agreement, states would agree to award their respective electoral votes to whichever candidate won the overall popular vote. If the bill were to be adopted by states with a combined total of 270 votes or more, the candidate who wins the popular vote will always win the Electoral College.
The Compact has currently been adopted in states with a combined total of 165 electoral votes, and is pending in Michigan and Pennsylvania (representing an additional 36 electoral votes).
Again, send letters to your representatives, voicing your support for this bill, or vote in the upcoming state legislature elections for a candidate that supports this bill. We can change the system.
To your friends who are afraid, remind them that you will always be there for them. To the friends who didn’t vote, remind them that their vote counts and that their inaction counts just as much as an adverse action.
Go ahead and keep studying—by 2020 you’ll have a bachelor’s degree and will form part of the college-educated demographic. Candidates who lose that demographic over and over again should realize that they can’t keep on winning indefinitely without obtaining the support of college-educated Americans. Make voting and civic participation an inseparable part of your life!
And, more importantly, remember that this country was not built on victorious battles alone. There have been 44 presidents, some good and some bad. Trump will be just another of those presidents when the 46th comes along.
Nonetheless, don’t sit still waiting for that to happen. Exercise your civil rights and duties. To those who feel threatened or insulted, I’d like to tell you that your rights and protections are not a burden—rather, those are the values that make this country great.