Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Happens Now.

By the end of this week, America will have a new President.

I'm sure you all know that, but I have to repeat it to myself quite often so it actually sinks in. I'm actually going to the Inauguration in Washington D.C. on Friday, but more on that tomorrow. 

The election season was really strange for me, for multiple reasons.

First, I was in my wanna-be political journalist phase so I followed it really closely from just about every angle. I mean, seriously, I watched every major news channel, followed every single poll, watched (and live tweeted) every debate, analyzed everything and what it all meant... and then at the end of it, like most journalists, I was wrong. I watched the election results pour in and I just couldn't believe what was happening. Election night, the day (week) after, and still to this day... I can't wrap my head around how so many people who were paid to conduct polls and research got it all wrong.

Second, I do not support Donald Trump. And it's really, really hard for me to personally know so many people who do. I really try to surround myself with positive, loving, accepting people and it's really... heartbreaking to know that so many of them supported a candidate who built his campaign off of hate. I cried on election night. I couldn't sleep. I just laid there and kept thinking about the results of the election and how many people were scared to live in America. A country that is based on freedom, and a haven from tyrannical governments and oppressive leaders. We had become everything that we dislike in other countries. I stayed up until about 3AM that night thinking about what came next. For me, for the country, for the world.

I keep thinking about my trip to the Middle East. We focused a lot of our time on the media culture since it was so different from everything we Americans know. They arrest bloggers in Oman. For writing this post I would be handcuffed in the psych ward of a hospital. Journalism is all controlled by the government. Nothing is published without complete approval from the Sultan. The freedom of the press does not exist. I came back from those two weeks fired up and ready to start defending the First Amendment by going to law school and making sure that nobody every took away our right to speak out against our government.

And then our President-Elect held a press conference and refused to take a question from a CNN reporter because CNN had published a negative article about him. By doing that, Donald Trump undermined one of the defining characteristics of our country: freedom of the press.

The First Amendment is what separates America and other democratic nations from everything else. It protects the right to speak out against corrupt governments, to publish whatever you want, to freely speak your mind about it. When it is undermined as it was at the press conference, democracy fails.

There is no democracy without freedom of the press. Democracy doesn't exist when the leader refuses to answer questions.

So... what happens now? The election results were finalized and everything is set in stone. The Inauguration will happen on Friday, January 20, and the United States will enter a new era of government.

I respect our democratic system, and I respect the peaceful transition of power, But if you're like me, the future seems really bleak. So here's what happens now:

I'm going to speak out. I'm going to write and call my Senators and Representatives. I'm going to let them know when I disagree with what they do.

I'll donate to non-profits (one that directly affects me, and one that affects another group of people). I will let my friends, especially my minority friends, know that they are loved and appreciated and welcomed in this country.

I will protest, because it is my Constitutional right to do so.

What happens now is that the country moves forward. We fight for justice and we speak up for those who don't have a voice. We keep moving together. We will stay hopeful.

Afterall... in just a few short months, campaigns for the 2020 Election will begin. ;)

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