America… what next?

img_2462The Branson community reeled after the election of Donald J. Trump. S.T.R.I.V.E. leaders Sophia Leswing, Alexander Bates, and Saani Borge put up a poster where students could share their thoughts and emotions. Photo credit: Adriana Golden

Once the post-election shock wore off, the planet was left wondering: what will happen to America next?

After all, this election season has been one of the most painful, controversial, and divisive ones of all time. The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, seemingly beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by a landslide–290 to 232 electoral college voters–but the popular vote indicates otherwise. According to CNN’s Election Center, Clinton edged out Trump on the popular vote with 47.9% of the votes to Trump’s 47.1%. While these figures are close in value, Clinton’s .8% lead is composed of a significant 1,044,300 votes.

Protesters and unhappy liberals have called our system of the Electoral College into question, blaming it for Trump’s surprise victory. The Electoral College system was instituted in the hopes that a college of wise, educated voters would be able to override America’s popular vote if the American populous was blindly seduced by an unfit candidate.

Some argue that the election of Donald Trump is the exact sort of situation that the Electoral College was supposed to prevent from happening.

“It makes you think,” says a Branson teacher. “If the system [the Electoral College system] is not doing what it’s supposed to do. It may be time to rethink it, or get rid of it all together.”

The Electoral College is part of our Constitution, but repealing it would be possible, though through a complicated amendment process. Nevertheless, with #RepealTheElectoralCollege trending on Twitter and angry, even violent riots pulsing through our country, the abolishment of the electoral college could be in our country’s future.

More protests and rioting appear to be on America’s horizon, too. Almost every day since the election, there have been angry marches in several of America’s major cities, including nearby Oakland and San Francisco. Some of these protests have turned violent, and both citizens and police officers alike have been injured. Despite calls for the rioting to stop from both Trump and Clinton, the protesting shows no sign of relenting.

Meanwhile, Branson students have found their own way to peacefully protest and thoughtfully share concerns about America’s political future.

Brian Whitelaw-McDonald, a senior, organized an impromptu outdoor concert the day after the election to “[mourn] the United States, with music.” It was very well attended and students enjoyed the opportunity to share their hopes, worries, and fears through song. Pleased with the outcome of his concert, Brian stated, “it was so touching for me to see that people are awesome and can come together when things seem dire.”

Also, S.T.R.I.V.E. leaders Sophia Leswing, Alexander Bates, and Saani Borge arranged for Branson students to wear black to protest the “racist and misogynistic ideals” that some fear will be implemented with the installment of President-Elect Trump. In addition, they put up a poster in the Commons for those who feel “marginalized” to freely express their fears and concerns for the future.

So, back to our question: what will happen to America next? Clearly, there is no easy answer. Certainly more protesting, and possibly a constitutional amendment are on the horizon. In this divisive time, all we can to do is try to empathize with the views of others, and trust that, in the words of Brian, “good will always triumph over tyranny.”

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