Searching for silver linings

Trump inspires new activists

When I woke up the morning of Nov. 9 and discovered that Donald Trump was the president-elect, my first reactions were fury and despair.

I wasn’t alone in my anger. Since the election, thousands of people have protested against Trump, flooding cities across the nation. However, over time, riots have calmed, and a new sort of protester has emerged–the volunteer.

Donations to well-known organizations that oppose Trump’s policies have soared, an article from the Atlantic stated. Those who don’t believe their voices will be reflected by a Trump administration have sprung to action.

Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health care provider, saw 80,000 donations in the first six days after the election, many of which were placed in the name of future vice president Mike Pence. The American Civil Liberties Union’s website crashed as it was overwhelmed with donations.

But donations aren’t the best way to make a difference.

One of the largest calls to action came from John Oliver of Last Week Tonight on HBO. In his season finale that aired Nov. 12, Oliver urged his viewers to stand up for one another.

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver spent his entire finale episode discussing the election, and asking his viewers to become activists under the Trump presidency.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver spent his entire finale episode discussing the election and asking his viewers to become activists under the Trump presidency.

“For the last eight years, we’ve had a president we could generally assume would stand up for the rights of all Americans, but that is going to change now,” Oliver said. “So we’re gonna have to actively stand up for one another, and it can’t be just sounding off on the internet.”

He asked his viewers to work to find ways to help offline.

“I’m talking about actual sacrifice to protect people who are now under threat,” Oliver said.

Later in the segment, Oliver listed ways to support various organizations.

Oliver is correct in that we can’t keep our voices online. The best way, especially for teenagers (who, frankly, don’t have cash to give) to make sure their voice is heard is by volunteering. We have to put in the work to make our voices heard.

When the government supports the same causes as the people, the people have no need to fight for those causes. Now, the people and the government disagree. The people will need to do the fighting now.

The first conversation I had after learning the election results was with my father. What he told me has stuck with me since.

“Making things right is your responsibility now,” he said.

I agreed, thinking he was speaking about young people as a whole, those who could not vote this time around but must in the next election. Instead, he surprised me.

“No,” he said. “You individually are responsible.”

My father is right; I am responsible for making the future I want to see, through my own actions.

Every citizen is individually responsible. If America is to reflect the people, the people need to let it know what it should reflect.