Many people in the United States are in mourning right now. They are mourning their feeling of safety, their sense of freedom and their will to exist. Although the result of this election was unexpected, it is a reality we all must face. However, we as young people cannot be comfortable in complacency; we cannot expect this to disappear. What do we do now?
Although we may be heartbroken today, we have to wake up tomorrow and begin this fight. Perhaps one of the only positive outcomes of this election is that injustice and bigotry can no longer be ignored — we watched its implications appear in front of our very eyes as the electoral map turned red. While it is simple to stand by and watch this play out, we cannot opt for the simple route. We, as millennials, are constantly being criticized for wanting to take the easy way out. But now, the spotlight is on us.
According to exit polls, 55 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 voted for runner-up Hillary Clinton, while only 37 percent of this demographic voted for President-elect Donald Trump. A widely-shared projected electoral map based on polls of only millennial voters, ages 18 to 34, illustrates that all but 11 states would have voted Democratic. Although the stereotype against millennials is that we are naive bleeding-heart liberals, we have to use this and channel it in a new direction. We understand that hatred and inequality have no place in this country. There is nothing silly or naive about feeling compelled to combat injustice. On this campus, we are lucky to receive an invaluable education — something many of our millennial counterparts, and even our parents, may not be as fortunate to have. As educated college-aged individuals, the only thing we can do is use our resources to fight for what is right.
Political engagement is imperative now more than ever. We still live in the United States, and although it will be a changed United States, our basic rights to free speech, protest and expression cannot be taken away from us. This may seem debatable under a Trump presidency, but we cannot allow these rights to be taken away. We can never lose sight of the fact that throughout history monumental change has been made through younger generations sharing a vision for progress — and taking direct action. History is beginning to repeat itself, and we all know how this will end if we allow it to continue. We cannot stand idly by and watch our country enter a period of darkness.
Any form of activism or involvement is significant. There are countless outlets on campus and in the Binghamton area where your voice can be heard, where this fight can begin. So get involved. Attend a march, join a student group, write for the newspaper, become active in local politics. You have a voice — a loud and powerful one, and we are fortunate enough to have so many spaces where our voices can be heard.
Clinton stated in her concession speech, “This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
It is always worth it, and we are in for the fight of our lives.
Emily Kaufman is a sophomore majoring in English.