OPINION: The Aftermath

The journalism staff react to a Trump presidency.

Adam Valenzuela, Cartoonist
Brigette Lugo, Editor in Chief, Substance Magazine; Editor, SOMOS, Saconscene.media

Part 1: About last night. Stay with me while I wax poetic.

My eyes are swollen. I hugged my Nicaraguan father tightly, me in tears. Uncontrollable tears. He said, “Honey. It’s okay. Cry. The reality is we are still a minority. Brigette, Is there anything you would change that you did?” I stopped and said, “No. I did EVERYTHING I could.” He said, “Yes. You really did.”

Mourn, my friends. Mourn. For those of you who say you want to leave, that’s you. I’ve been more politically involved and more vocal this election than ever. Trump’s win? It’s just going to increase my active participation to do my part to make sure we don’t stay quiet. My parents didn’t come here for this fucking bullshit. They are fighters. So am I. And I’m not about to let them down with this racist in office.

And for any of you who said it didn’t matter…who said this election was a done deal, you were wrong. You are not fortune tellers. You’re non-participants and cynical. Wake the fuck up! Or don’t. Plenty of us have and will get to work. Moving on. Let’s do this.

Part 2: The realization who our 45th president is.

FUCK YOU third party and protest voters. Thanks to your third and protest vote selves, your families are OUT. UNFRIEND ME. I REALLY DON’T CARE. Your right to walk down the street is out because you’re brown (stop and frisk). You think 64 is going to save you? Watch it if you’re a POC. Individuals have been shot solely for the color of their skin. Weed on you even if it’s legal? Martial Law. It WILL reign. Hang on to that protest vote, tho because you’re “socially conscious” and “Hillary and Trump are one in the same.” We’ll see when you’re sitting down and the rest of us are rising up, not waiting for some foreign entity, like Stein, to rush in when Sanders endorsed Hillary and all of you gave him the middle finger.

Our belief in what’s right, reaching out to our own ethnic groups, and WORKING WITHIN THE SYSTEM OURSELVES BECAUSE WE’RE WOKE TO THE SYSTEM is what is going to save us. If you’re not in, do you. Good luck out in a foreign land. Honest. I wish no ill will for your future endeavors. But we’ll be here fighting for all those tears shed tonight.

Part 3: What’s the plan? To bring the man down.

My people without a voice. My father, who chose…CHOSE to leave Nicaragua. He was a poor boy in his late teens who said, “I’m not going to be free to make as much as I want? I’m going to have to raise my kids in a place that recruits children for their army? NO!” He traveled here for a better life.

I was thinking of him. I was thinking of you. Two of my best Mexican friends who are here without documents and who also happen to be gay men. They will now lose their pathway to citizenship despite paying taxes and spending money in the land their parents brought them to before they could even construct full sentences.

I was thinking of the strangers I see in pockets of Los Angeles who have to shuffle feverishly to pack up their hot dog vending carts and go into hiding because the police are on their way to hand them a ticket they could not pay. I was thinking of my five gay friends who are the ones who keep that sparkle in my eye and make me laugh until my sides are about to burst. Now they’re in jeopardy of losing their right to marry their future husbands.
I voted for all the people who come in various shades of brown and their sons and daughters who are first generation (fill ethnicity here).

Now that the Tangerine Nightmare will reign as a fascist dictator, I will fight more than ever. I will not flee to Europe or Canada. I will be your voice through my writing. I’ll advocate with like-minded individuals in the system to work with you instead of against you. I love you.

Cory Jaynes, Editor in Chief, Saconscene

As the votes came in and swing state after swing state became stained in blood red, the pure fire inside of me began to burn so bright from anger that I had to take a shower to physically cool off. As the night became worse, that fire started to die inside of me as I lay in bed, and any bit of hope for humanity died inside of me. My house, my parents, my brother grew dead silent from the result of the presidential election. The dead silence continued the following morning as my father, brother, and I got ready to leave the house.

I arrived at my college to a half empty and silent math class. I was numb.

The American people were robbed by an outdated electoral system, self-righteous and self-absorbed third party voters, journalists who failed in their duty, and the sexist and racist right wing. Donald Trump did not win the vote of the people; Hillary Clinton won 200,000 more votes than Trump. Trump did not win because of a movement but because of the very corruption that he claimed to be running against.

The one light in this election, and the last bit of a flame inside of me, is that California has elected Kamala Harris, a historic election within itself, to represent our state in the U.S. Senate. The best that those of us in California can do is stand up and support Harris in her fight for us and keep the flames within burning. Not only that but we Californians must support Senator Diane Feinstein and Governor Jerry Brown and insure that any replacements in 2018, if Feinstein vacates her seat, will continue that fight. We must insure that California will continue to strive to be that Golden City on the hill that, as of today, America no longer strives to be.

“We must not despair. We must not be overwhelmed or throw up our hands. It is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are!” –Kamala Harris, Nov. 8 2016

Dalia Quiroz, staff writer, Sac.Media/Saconscene

This has been one of the most terrifying and disheartening experiences I have ever felt in my adult life, and now I feel like we are walking into a shared waking nightmare.

For me, it’s not just that the candidate I oppose and hate won. Any other election might not have made me feel this strongly or hurt this deeply. This is about what he stands for and who he stands against.

This is about the undocumented people who leave their homeland to seek a better life and work so fucking hard every day just to survive and give their children a better life. This is about women of all ages being told assault is acceptable, and about men of all ages being told they can do it. This is about women being told that no matter how hard they work, a man will always be considered the ‘better choice.’

This is about the LGBTQ+ community feeling the hatred of an entire nation like daggers into old wounds. This is about people of color who have to face an America that is open in its hatred. This is about the black lives that have been smothered by a system built on their oppression.

This is about the many communities who have always been forced into silence, who have been told they deserve their scars, who are told they are subhuman, and who have to live with the hatred of others every fucking day and now have that amplified to the highest degree.

This is about marginalized people who are repeatedly demeaned and dehumanized by those like Trump. This is about people still having the audacity to say there isn’t a race/sexism/homophobia problem. This is about white supremacy reigning and holding their bigotry over real human lives and this nation being okay with that. This is about all the hope we’ve felt the past eight years, all the progress we’ve made, all the voices that have finally been able to be heard being torn from us. This is about the veil that hid the true depth of this country’s disgrace being lifted and put on display as if it’s something to applaud.

This is not only a literal defeat for the nation, but a symbolic one as well.

But this is also about revelation. So long we lived in a bubble of perceived progress and equality. It’s not that those don’t exist, but now it is evident that there are rotting roots in the foundation of this nation, and the world as a whole, that still persistently remain and poison us.

I am heartbroken that this was allowed to happen. I’m still in shock that any of us have to live through this. I have seen countless stories of older folks who have lived through shit like this and I feel so much for them. I see the younger people disillusioned by a system meant to make them feel empowered.

I have seen people flaunt their privilege and think none of this matters because it may not affect them directly. I have seen people I know contemplate or attempt to end their life because this feels like the end of the rope. They are trapped in homes with people who do not accept them and hate them for existing, and they simply cannot handle it anymore. I am terrified for them.

This has been the year that growing acceptance and representation has allowed me to come into my own sexuality, and this now… this is a reminder that there are people who do not even consider my community human to begin with. This is a nation openly giving power to people who want us dead. That is terrifying.

My mother is a Mexican immigrant, and to hear her so resigned and in fear of her residency hurts me. She has worked the past 22 or so years on her hands and knees, scrubbing away at others’ soil just to raise my sister and me, and I am livid that this country has made her feel like she is in danger.

I am disgusted that a country built by immigrants treats them in such a way. I am scared for my best friend who has been able to go to college and get a license thanks to the Dream Act. Now she is scared she could lose all of this. How is this acceptable?

I am embarrassed that the entirety of this debacle even happened. We are raised to believe this nation has our best interests in mind and that we should feel loyal to it always. But what happens when it isn’t loyal to us back? When it makes us feel endangered and afraid and hopeless? Is this not the kind of thing we have long criticized other nations for? We’ve ignored such deep rooted issues for so long we forgot what this nation should be about: Equality. I only hope this wakes people up to the reality of our nation’s issues and addresses and criticizes them openly so we can get our momentum back and walk forward together once more.

Talin Hakopyan, Editor in Chief, Sac.Media

I woke up this morning with an inconsolable headache and an empty pit in my stomach. The bottle of wine that aided me and helped numb the pain and sorrow that I felt while watching my country elect a hateful demagogue as president can explain my headache. The empty pit in my stomach can be explained by the results of the presidential election.

As a journalist, you’re taught to use your words to express your views on things. Today, I have no words to explain the amount of hatred in my heart and fear instilled in my body — for my loved ones and myself. Donald Trump and the GOP will not change my beliefs.

I love being a woman. I love being a minority. No one, not even Donald Trump, can strip me of that. No one has the right to ever make me feel inferior. No one has the right to “grab me by the pussy.”

Donald Trump does not encompass any of my beliefs. Not as a millennial, not as a feminist, not as a woman of color, not as someone who believes in equality.

I believe in love. I believe in standing together. I believe that, no matter how awful this is, we have the power to spark a revolution and make our voices undoubtedly heard. I will continue to fight for those who do not have a voice. The apathetic humans of the world do not get to win this time. Put your privilege aside and understand how earth shattering and horrific this is for people that will be directly affected by this.

Today we will mourn, tomorrow we will fight. We have your backs.

Olivia Van Ortwick, Content Creator, PR team

Disbelief. I am shaken. This can’t be happening. How could I ever have imagined where we will stand as an America under the presidency of Donald Trump, now elected as our 45th president of the United States.

I am lost within my deepest thoughts that we may never overcome this mess. A narcissistic human being who is sure to ruin humankind now dominates our nation.

All I can think about is how my future and livelihood are at stake forever.

Some of my undocumented family members could face deportation, but we are going to fight back. As we stand together, we will do our best to overcome the enemy. And we must fight. Our country will not move any further if we do not pull together as one. The good must overcome the evil.

Carolyn Rodriguez, Content Creator

My eyes are still red and puffy; but I’m out of tears. I’m in shock. I truly can’t believe it. Trump won and Clinton lost. I went straight to bed not wanting to talk or even think about the reality of the situation. When I woke up I was thrust back to the never ending nightmare that I tried escaping through my shitty few hours of sleep. This country has just appointed an immature, sexist, and unqualified individual to be the 45th president of the U.S. I still remember when I thought that the nomination for Trump was a complete joke.

How could a fucking reality TV star be seriously considered as the next president? How did we let it get this far? Now, we are left to deal with the consequences of choices, or moreover the lack of action by our citizens.

For those who chose not to actively participate in voting. Thanks! For those who chose to protest vote. Great job.

I had so much hope for the future and now I just feel deflated. As a Mexican-American woman who has come from lower socio-economic background, it’s hard not to feel directly affected by an individual such as Trump to now be in charge of the U.S. and its citizens.

My heart aches for those who will be persecuted and treated unjustly because of the color of their skin or cultural background. My heart breaks as I see members of my own family in utter fear for their dim and uncertain future. As the days have led up to election day I have only heard worry and concern from those individuals who are undocumented (including the entirety of my huband’s family).

All that fear and frustration has only been strengthened by the final results. I don’t even know how to console those who are in pain. What can I say to ease the tumultuous road that America and it’s citizens have ahead of them? Through my vote I was a voice for those who are silenced by fear and criminalization; for all those individuals who are intentionally left isolated in the shadows of American society. I feel like I failed to protect and ensure a better future for all individuals residing in the U.S, documented or not.

Walking around campus, it’s hard not to see mixed emotions, to hear snippets of conversations in response to the elections. Everyone seems to have a response. As I was walking up the stairs to my journalism class I overheard a student casually remark to another, “Eh. I don’t really care. It’s not like anything is going to affect me.” IT AFFECTS EVERYONE YOU SELFISH AND IGNORANT BASTARD!

This is the problem. People only seem to act when they are being directly threatened. It’s time to stop being lazy. It’s time to fight for others who are unable to speak up and it’s time to think about future generations.

I did my part. I became informed. I spread the word. I voted for Clinton. And now I’m pissed. I’m disappointed. But I have not given up. That would only echo the country’s misstep in electing such an imbecile as our next president. I’m going to take the lead of my journalism professor. I’m going to throw on a matching pair of Doc Marten combat boots, lace ’em up and I’m going to fight whatever oppression or foolish decrees that come our way.

Sadia Khan, Content Creator

Distraught, confused, lost. This has to be one big joke. Or maybe we will all wake from this horrendous dream. But sadly, we are faced with a wake up call. Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States of America. With a heavy a heart I am forced to accept that the new leader of our country is in the hands of a man who calls women “Miss Piggy.”

Most of all I am concerned because the color of my skin is brown and my family practices the Muslim faith. I have family all across the United States and extended family trying to come here to give themselves a brighter future. My grandmother is currently in the process of getting her green card and will be devastated if she is denied. My grandfather is buried in New York, and not being able to see the man who has been her husband since she was 16 will bring her closer to her grave. So today my heart is heavy and I feel for the millions of family members who are facing these scary times.

Philip Cao, Staff Writer, Substance Magazine

Waking up today was not normal. My conscience, my mind — managed to forget what day it was or what JUST fucking happened last night.

I was abruptly awakened by a notification: HILLARY CLINTON TO DELIVER CONCESSION SPEECH, LIVE.

My stomach sank. I pulled up my feed on Facebook and the truth violated me. Trump really is the next president? I even learned that people I know… voted for Trump. Petty thoughts come to mind to de-friend them immediately, or do I reach across voter boundaries and congratulate them?

I voted for the Democratic Party, and Hillary Clinton because of her stance on inclusion, diversity, unity, equality, and the welfare of society.

I am a minority, almost triple level minority in different categories. I deal with being discriminated against almost every day because of how I look and dress. This election meant many things for me and everyone who relates to me. I was such a goddamn fool for thinking that people know better.

There is no place for racism or sexism in a presidential race. I don’t understand how people can vote in a bully and a bigot, and someone who has NO experience in the international landscape, spewing disgusting commentary and inciting violence on people who do not “look like him.”

The majority of the people who Trump captured votes from were people who were uneducated.

I am Asian.

I am Gay.

I have no college degree.

However, even I know:

Don’t judge.

Don’t be a bully.

Don’t be a bigot.

Do your homework.

Check your facts and sources.

Be prepared

Don’t hate.

Be tolerant.

I am shocked to find out that so many Americans align their beliefs with what Trump preached throughout his campaign. I thought our country was moving toward a direction with inclusion of people from different ethnicities and background.

Now I have to face the reality that people do not care about me as a minority or citizen of the United States. I interact with these types of people every day at work because they come from different areas of the country.
I know it will be hard to not be angry inside as I assist them while they shop. How do I know they aren’t thinking disgusting thoughts or have a prejudice against me?

Trump managed to appeal to the majority of white people by demeaning the inherent value and worth of minorities like me. Minorities who are fighting to be valued as equals to other people.

Doug De Wet, Photographer, Content Creator

Physically, I feel like I’m dealing with the death of a friend , suffering a loss. I’m in mourning.

The stress of watching the states turn red over the hours as the numbers of the loss revealed itself, made my stomach sink. I felt strangely lightheaded. It was actually happening. Damn! How is this possible?

It was difficult to fall asleep. It was difficult to stay asleep. When I woke up around midnight, before my conscious mind turned on again, I felt normal for a second, but then that feeling poured back into my chest and guts.
I remembered.

I understand why people did not care for Clinton, but how did this lead to supporting Trump? So many ugly ideas have been expressed. People are not empowered to openly express their lesser selves and blame “the other” for economic and societal troubles. Is this what makes America great again? Rolling back history to a time when it was Okay to express bigotry toward women and people of color?

A friend that I have known since grade school, an African American woman, posted on Facebook: “Tonight, I learned that most of America hates me…I don’t matter and to shut up and go to the back of the bus ‘again.’”

I’m a white dude. I grew up middle class in a nice neighborhood. By circumstances of birth, I have it easier than many. But I have not been immune to the challenges of the economic downturn of the previous decade, which resulted in a layoff. Today, I feel ashamed of my whiteness; guilt by association. I’m disappointed and sad.

I do not want to react to this new reality with the anger and stonewalling of the authoritarian political movements that have gained a foothold since Obama was elected. I do feel angry, but anger is only useful as a motivator; acting out of anger or allowing anger to guide decisions is not enlightened or useful.

As I have watched the emergence of the Angry Right, the Existentialist in me concluded that if Tea Partiers or whoever else is that angry, they are putting way too much time into trying to “take back” their country from the millions of people they disagree with. Instead, they need to work to improve their lives so that they’re not so miserable. So as upset as I feel at the moment, I will try to take my own medicine and not allow external forces beyond my control to drag me down emotionally.

I am concerned, but I will try to not to be afraid and to remain hopeful.

Jessica Fuller, Faculty Assistant

More than anything, the results of this presidential election have left me afraid. I’m afraid of the atmosphere this president-elect and his supporters have created. I’m afraid of the hate, divisiveness and predatory nature that is revered and even celebrated. I’m afraid of what this means for my younger sisters, who I love deeply.

I’m afraid they are going to be victims of sexual assault. I’m afraid an attacker is going to trap them in a vulnerable place and violate them. I’m afraid he is going to blame it on alcohol. I’m afraid the first question they’ll be asked is what they were wearing. I’m afraid he is going to get away with it.

I’m afraid they are going to be attacked for being gay. I’m afraid a religious zealot is going to pull a gun at one of their events and start shooting until he runs out of bullets. I’m afraid the attacker is going to be perceived as a martyr. I’m afraid she is going to die for loving another woman.

I’m afraid they are going to turn to suicide as an escape from harassment. I’m afraid they’ll come to believe their life doesn’t matter. I’m afraid they will write a letter explaining that they’re sorry. I’m afraid of getting a call in the middle of the night from my sobbing mother.

I’m afraid this is going to create a divide that can’t be reconciled. I’m afraid this is the start of mass violence and poverty. I’m afraid this is a country I’ll never be proud of. I’m afraid that this is really who our country is.

Toni Albertson, Professor of Journalism/Adviser of Student Media

Today I put on my combat boots, black pants and a black shirt (I’m mourning) with the word “Thankful” on the front (I live in California). I also added the pin “Pray for my Haters.” (I’m pissed so watch the fuck out.)

Yesterday was joyful, until it wasn’t. The majority of the student media staff was amped, especially my female badass editors and faculty assistant because we knew we would be celebrating that night. We would drink champagne and witness history when Hillary is named the first female president. Yay, right?

I arrived at my best friend’s house after work and was greeted with a look of despair. The poll numbers were coming in and it wasn’t good. We all watched in disbelief as Donald Trump took state after state. It couldn’t be possible that an inexperienced sexist and racist who uses words like “Grab ’em by the pussy” could even be considered as a presidential candidate nonetheless win the presidency. But he did.

I came home, held my husband and cried. I didn’t sleep more than an hour but would doze off only to be jolted to the reality of what had happened.

An orange-haired sexist, misogynist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-women, anti-First Amendment, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-everything I stand for incompetent moron was elected president.

So today I cry, scream, mourn and vomit. And like all tough women, I brush myself off and get ready to fight.

I’d prefer to crawl in a ball under the covers after drinking a bottle of Pinot. But I can’t. I have the profound responsibility of teaching the next generation of journalists. And if this election has taught me anything, it’s that journalism has abrogated the responsibility to pursue the truth and the details of political discourse in exchange for ratings and money.

I’m all about digital, readership, and audience engagement, but not at the expense of investigative journalism. So my combat boots are laced up. Are you with me, kids?