Today was a very long day here at Andover, and across America I assume. What I thought was very unlikely, happened. I tried to stay up late last night, and follow the election till the result was announced. I could not because I somehow fell asleep with MSNBC’s live stream on Youtube playing. I woke up this morning and I saw a notification from The New York Times that shocked me and give a hard blow to my understanding of this election. This will very likely bring huge implications for the Americans and people like me, who is a Muslim, and a foreigner in this country.
For the first few minutes, I tried to make sense of what had just happened, what it means and how it is going to affect me personally. I could not and still could not make sense of how it happened and why this man became the President of a country that I admire so much despite all of its flaws and problems. It is too early to judge him, and say that he is bad for America. As Hillary Clinton in her concession speech said, “Let give him an open mind”. Still, things could go either way, good or bad. Again, a bit early for a person like me to tell. What worried me a bit, was that I read how it affected the economic market, as it took a slump and then tried to recover. Paul Krugman, wrote this in the New York Times today:
“So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.” – Paul Krugman
Krugman is obviously not optimistic. According to people like him, what happened is very bad for America. It goes beyond America though, countries like mine, Afghanistan will be affected very much because of such changes in the US. There will be shifts happening around the world, very soon.
It was a unique day at Andover today. Early morning I received an email, asking for everyone to gather in the chapel for an All School Meeting that was not planned to happen. Few people including the Head of School, Mr. Palfrey, delivered remarks that I think was not satisfying to the questions at the heart of what had happened. Overall, one could sense how emotional this election was for everyone. I believe this election almost took the soul of some Americans at some point by how it was going and how the rhetoric was becoming so unbearable, and cruel. I could see that students were overburdened and how hard it was for them. I could see some crying, some angry, some with long faces, and some like me, who tried to hide the worries and concerns with a face that looked neither happy nor sad but showed despair. Despair in how unfair a democracy can be.
Following the gathering at the All School Meeting, a number of people gathered in CAMD (a place for international and domestic students that serves as a “safe space”) to share what this election means to them. Someone said that after four years there will be chance to start another movement and untangle some of the harm done by Trump. A friend of mine from Italy said something about the power of the civil society and how that can help Americans ask for accountability from Trump. I agree with that, but again the question remains – is Trump capable of administering a country like America? He and the rest of his administration (most of whom will probably be his buddies) can turn the country to something else. As I am writing this, I see an America that has an uncertain future. Another said that this election shows how America is divided more than ever. I think America was always divided. It is my understanding (and I could be wrong), that America is by definition divided into states. And each of those states has their variation of laws and policies and their preference for the type of president that they want to elect. Someone said – this election shows that we are not perfect as it seems in the world. This perfectly illustrates my point, that America is not the democracy it advertises itself as to the rest of the world.
While today was a very hard day for my American friends, I think there is a silver lining in a moment like this, and that is that Americans should use an opportunity like this to get together. To show to the world how strong they can be in a testing moment like this. To show the resiliency and perseverance.
I felt really eerie today. In a strange way, the mood around the campus today was that something really tragic had happened, something irreversible and something that was bad. Time will tell how bad, and if at all irreversible.