Heavy hearts deep within the chests of millions across the nation froze with an unsuspected chill on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 8 – formally named the 56th Election Day in this democracy’ history.
Yet for these individuals, who stood staring at brightly lit television screens broadcasting the words “Donald Trump Elected President Of The United States,” democracy seemed a far reach. There could be no sense, it seemed, that the man who thwarted his party forward on the vertebrae of racism, misogyny and fear, was to stand on the grounds of the oval office come January as America’s 45th Commander and Chief.
“Represent every citizen of our land,” said President Elect Donald Trump, as he fanned his hand in a wave for a crowd of roaring New York City supporters, moments after the Electoral College’s final count declared him the election’s victor. “Time for America to bind the wounds of division…time for us to come together as one.”
The words, although clear and loud, were hardly reminiscent of his early campaign when comparisons of immigrants to “rapists” and “criminals” were made, and the linking of all Muslims to terrorists deserving of blockade were indicated.
In the morning hours that followed the shocking outcome, stammering hearts of the unprepared began another pulse; a rather fierce one that reminded many of a pulse felt once before in the nation’s electoral history. The Electoral College had named Trump the winner by more than 50 counts, but the popular vote, hidden in the corners of the very screens that bellowed the Republican’s name, told a different story.
Democratic frontrunner Hilary Clinton maintained leading margins in the popular consensus, beating her opponent by nearly 1 million votes. The trend continued for days after, all while Trump’s executive officers were named, while streets filled with Trump support marched with pride and while celebrations among the party committee that defended the candidate from his running announcement, ensued. As of a week following Election Day, Clinton was winning the popular vote 47.9% to Trump’s 47.2%, or 61,324,576 to Trump’s 60,526,852. It was a matter ignored by all those who casted their ballots for the Republican nominee – a matter that was even fabricated by Twitter rumors denying such a thing.
But it was a matter important to the Democrats, to the minorities, to the many women who sought history. It was matter that became a call for action – a call to change the outdated way in which a nominee was elected President.
By Saturday morning, 3 million of these individuals signed a petition to name Clinton as President Elect, on the basis that she won the popular vote by a considerable margin. Although the verdict of the popular count stands true, denouncing Trump’s title may be difficult, if not implausible, due to the checks and balances within the Electoral College structure.
Despite the unlikelihood that Clinton supporters (or Trump antagonists at least) will prevail, the protest represents a symbolic declaration of a need for change to the way elections are decided, one that has been decades in the making.
“We are no longer the nation we were when the founding fathers crafted the constitution,” said an anonymous Facebook user. “Our president should be the candidate that represents the majority of the nation – not the first to reach 270.”
Over the years, America has cultivated a landmass of diversity, crafting voices for groups that were seldom heard before. The dreams of Martin Luther King were realized; the goals of the American suffragists were founded and the dignities of the LGBTQ community were recognized. And as the fight for true and full equality among all members of this nation continue even today, the shift in cultural dynamic from 1776, when George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and other crafted the constitution, is evident.
But one thing remains the same through the centuries. America’s very principles are founded on the rights of all men and women, which include immigrants, minorities, people of different ethnicities and religions. The freedom and right to protest has been fundamental to this country since its crafting.
So for that: may the call for change continue and may the lessons of the nations’ past be learned.