Alex Kriese is a sophomore media studies major.
After Donald Trump’s narrow victory during the presidential election, students at the University of San Francisco were ready to protest. Many people believed that Hillary had an outstanding chance to win the general election. When Trump won Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin, many students, including myself, were stunned. Americans became scared, worried and shocked by the shift in values. The realization that Trump would be the next President of the United States seemed unreal, and I hope President-elect Trump will not follow through with many of the policies he has promised during his campaign.
“Make America Great Again” really should read ‘Make America Great Again for Whites, Males, Heterosexuals and Cisgender Americans” because that’s [Trump’s] definition of ‘America.’ Freedom doesn’t exist until it exists for everyone,” stated Conni Mckenzie, a sophomore psychology major.
Most people around campus expressed fear of what Donald Trump will do once sworn into office on Jan. 20. “I am disappointed,” said Fiona Murphy-Thomas, a junior history major and hopeful student-teacher. “People that I love are scared for their lives. They feel unsafe living here, and personally attacked by this election.” Fiona is worried and upset that her 10 and 11 year old students are frightened for their families. She is one of many teachers trying to explain to kids what is happening in our country.
The first protest was a sit-in on campus the night of the election. I headed down to see what was going on, and I didn’t find much. Although it did not last long, it was the solidarity of students that had meaning. That is one of the cornerstones America is founded on: freedom of speech.
Many upset Americans were provided an opportunity to protest on the day after the election, with rallies in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Washington D.C., Portland, Oakland and here in San Francisco. Many Trump supporters pointed to violence that arose from these protests. However, only the Oakland rally could be considered violent. Many fires were started throughout the city of Oakland, including trash fires, and burning the United States flag. I understand why protesters wanted to get violent, but that does not help any group get their message across. Burning an American flag is not an effective way to spread a message of unity and peace.
Around 12,000 people marched in protest of Donald Trump’s victory in San Francisco, starting at the corner of Market and Powell, through the Castro district, the Mission, before returning to City Hall. Many lined the sidewalks to chant in support of the protesters, and it was incredible to see how many wanted to do something to change the outcome of the election. Over the past 18 months, Donald Trump has spread violence and bigotry throughout the country. However, the protesters kept the rallies, with the exception of Oakland, peaceful and composed.
Smaller groups of USF students joined the protests. “We all were against Trump, ” said Jeff Prather, a sophomore music major, regarding the city-wide protest Wednesday evening, “People DO not believe that he will represent them in a government that should be serving all people.” While I accept President-elect Trump as the next leader of the United States, I agree with the students who protested. I do not believe that he will make the correct choices for the American people. Building a wall bordering Mexico, deporting anyone who is not legally America–even though this country was born on immigrants–is a poor set of policy choices.
The concern goes beyond Trump as a person. President-elect Trump will have a Republican House, Republican Senate, and the opportunity to select one to three Supreme Court Justices. Let’s hope that as we move forward as a community, we are a part of a country which may become more conservative, but we will never return to the ignorance that supports, or even perpetuates, racism, sexism, homophobia and sexual assault. That is not a great America. In fact, that is not America at all.