Letters to the Editor – 2016 Election Reaction

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Dear Hilltopper Family:

Every four years our nation has the privilege of engaging in an election cycle that preserves the foundation of our democracy. By their very nature, election cycles are platforms for debating the most important issues the country faces. Along with those debates comes the discussion of contentious and difficult issues we face. As a community formed through the Congregation of Holy Cross, we have voiced our concerns about the values that are important to our mission: social justice, racial and gender equality, the needs of the poor and the homeless, and how to show hospitality to our interfaith community and those who are coming into our nation seeking better opportunities, as primary examples. Here at St. Edward’s University, we are blessed with a diverse community and above all we support one another and our mission. In the coming weeks, especially in our observance of Hunger and Homeless Awareness week and our observance of Advent and Christmas, our community will gather in various ways to continue to promote our Holy Cross values and perspective.

As Father Moreau always taught us, we trust in God’s providence as we hold each other in our prayers.

In Holy Cross,

Father Peter Walsh, C.S.C., Director of Campus Ministry

Lisa Kirkpatrick, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs | Title IX Coordinator

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Written Nov. 9, 2016.

As I look out at all of the sadness and frustration on this bleak, rainy November day, I wonder why I feel so calm. Then I remember what 20 years of life has taught me, and that is what I can and cannot take.

The emotional weight of this election is something I cannot take. I want to cry for my brothers and sisters, my LGBTQ family and friends, my Muslim companions, but if I were to open myself up to the pain that this decision has inflicted on so many of us, it would surely rush in and devour me. However, with this perspective I can see so clearly how lucky we all are.

Yes, lucky. What a time to be alive especially for my age group! To my peers, I urge you, do not succumb to the devastation and fear of this election for we are the ones who are going to inherit this mess. This is our time. Still yourselves for a moment, cancel out the noise and take it all in. Let what you are experiencing inspire and invigorate you to go out and create change.

Stand up for those who cannot, stand up for what is right.This is quite the monster that we are up against, but every generation has one and we are in the position to walk the very paths our ancestors did and change the world. I believe that this country is in for an explosion of love, of courage, of art and creativity, of beauty, and most of all of hope.

– Tiara Alese Bynum, sophomore

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To friends and family members who voted for President-elect Trump, I would like to offer an olive branch.

I understand that many of you are not the racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic people that many, including myself, have labeled you. I know that through your life you have seen a lot of things in America change. Maybe your community has seen incredible jobs loss or maybe you are just very upset with the way Washington has been run in recent years. Regardless of your reasoning, it is your right to be upset too.

Unfortunately, I think we all can agree that the “American dream” is in trouble. We are reacting in different ways to see that it can still be a possibility in the future.

I want to personally share my version of the American dream to help you understand just where one person from the left is coming from. As I grow older, I am always thinking about what I want in my future and how to achieve these goals. I want a family, a decent paying job, adequate food, simple housing and a supportive community of friends. Not too different from the average person hey?

Unfortunately, a lot of things changed for me June 12 of this past year. I just woke up for the day and received a text that there was a mass shooting at a bar named Pulse in Orlando. Forty-nine LGBT people and their allies of predominantly Latino and African American descent were killed and another fifty-three injured. It was the deadliest terrorist attack since the horrific events on 9/11. I was heartbroken and scared. That could have easily been me and my friends. I no longer felt safe to be myself in the same nation that passed same-sex marriage under a year before this incident. Even in Austin, a supposed liberal enclave in the South, I still cannot picture myself doing something as simple as holding a loved one’s hand in public without fear of a violent backlash. Pulse showed that this could happen anywhere, even in safe spaces.

How am I supposed to work towards my American dream wasting energy constantly looking over my shoulder? Could I be the next Matthew Shepherd and never get to fulfill my destiny in this world?

In return for my olive branch, please REALLY place yourself in the shoes of the people you will see protesting these next four years whether this be in the streets or on social media. Actually listen to the words coming out of their mouth and not what the media tells you to believe. There is not a truly “unbiased” news source.

Trump’s promises for America may help you believe that we truly can be “great again”. But many, including myself only interpret this to mean “Make America

Hate Again.”

Each of these groups that will be protesting has a valid reason to be anxious, angry, and scared too. They each have their own versions of Pulse or Matthew Shepherd that force them to always be on alert 24/7.

I don’t know if I still even have a shot at fulfilling my “American dream.” I don’t have rights against housing or workplace discrimination and my right to marry may be stripped away under the new Supreme Court.

We all want the best for our friends and families, regardless of our religion, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and documentation status. America is a shared land between all of us.

We are stronger united than divided.

Your vote for President Trump sent a message to the world that things are drastically changing. I hope that your continued support for him will also hold him accountable to make sure that his vision for America includes all of us.

Please just listen and I promise to do the same for you.

– Nick Thompson