By Alex Forgay
At 2:43, early in the morning of November 9th, a phone call changed the course of history. Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton picked up her phone and conceded the most powerful position on earth to a fascist. This is not a term I use lightly. It is not a term I would apply to any major North American politician in my lifetime. I would never dare describe Harper, Hudak, Brown, Ambrose, Ford, nor any other I opposed with such a harsh, divisive term. But Donald is different. A candidate who threatens to torture families, ban religions, and fire those who stand in his way deserves to be called by no less. Donald Trump is a threat to the office of President, a threat to America, and a threat to the world.
In the wake of electing a man who claims nuclear weapons are pointless if not used, many emotions have taken hold of many. Sadness, fear, pain, and confusion are all reasonable and common responses to such a shocking event. There is no shortage of anger and blame. In the past week, I have seen white voters blamed for voting for Trump, African American voters blamed for low voter turnout, old people blamed for not understanding the young, young people blamed for not understanding the world. I have seen those who voted for third party candidates blamed, and I have seen, much more logically, those who voted for Donald blamed. None of this is productive. Anger is not a productive emotion. Casting blame is not a productive action. The only people who are to blame for this terrible episode in history are Donald Trump himself, and those close to him, who share a deeply disturbing opinion as to what makes America great. The vast majority of the 50 million Trump voters are not at fault; they are victims. They too will be harmed by a tanking economy, a crumbling world, and an increase in racial violence. They are not bad people. They see their jobs being lost, they see a declining middle class, they see the frustration with people in Washington not seeming to understand their plight, and they, just like us, look for somebody to blame. They are human, and they are afraid.
The way Trump capitalised on their fear is the same way every major totalitarian regime has come to power. Their strength lies not in military power, but in the power of information. Using people’s fear against them is far more powerful than making them afraid of you. Orwell knew this, and Donald knows this. This is why we must fight back against this terror in the same manner–not through revolution, but through information.
While a violent rally may make a point, it will never persuade those on the other side of the argument to take your side. Instead, we must educate, discuss, and act like a community. We must show the Trump supporters that there is nothing to be afraid of. The reason the fear campaign of this election was so effective is the medium in which it used. It didn’t matter that Trump lacked control over the mainstream media; he had control in his own world: social media. Lies and fear were cast like an ever-expanding web, every post catching more and more supporters. Social media inspired those to talk in person, and a year later, the host of Celebrity Apprentice is heading to the White House. Luckily, this medium is not available exclusively to those who are fearful. Now it is time for us to use those same methods to counter and conquer the fear it helped spread.
All it takes is one Facebook post, one tweet, one passing comment to a friend or family member, to keep faith alive. All the things that people will tell you are irrelevant, as the things people will say can’t truly affect change. Those things do matter. If your Tweet is seen by only one person, that’s one more person than before. Collectively, those numbers build, and that is how despair and pain transition to hope and defiance.
I assure you, if we allow ourselves to be persuaded by the oppressive rhetoric that we alone cannot make a difference, darkness will prevail. If we allow ourselves to be told we should stay silent unless we have power, tyranny will reign supreme. In the words of the Irish statesman Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I trust that my fellow students from grades three up to twelve are good young men. I trust our school community is comprised of good men and women. Faced with the single greatest danger to world stability in decades, we must make sure that we good men and women resist the impulse to do nothing. We are blessed to have a free voice in both our community and beyond. Let’s make sure we use it.