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Witnessing the USA Elections Overseas

clinton-concession

Source: Getty Images

by Sonia Pérez

It’s been almost two weeks since Trump won the elections back home and was selected to become the 45th president of the United States of America. The fact that that sentence holds truth today is hard to swallow.

Born in South Carolina, raised in Florida, and of Mexican descent, my identity makes the election hard to take in. Since I’m currently studying my Master’s here in Stirling, I stayed up with some of my flatmates and witnessed how the map of my country was overcome with red states that far outnumbered blue.

In the end Trump easily managed to win more than 270 electoral college votes, the magic number to win the election. It was around 8am in Scotland when he gave his victory speech and that’s when most of America began to mourn.

In the aftermath of the election, the world woke up to news that Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote.

However, since our lovely country is adamant on the continuation of the Electoral College system, the popular vote isn’t taken seriously.

What I found most comforting was the amount of protests that erupted across America. There were protesters everywhere, walking the streets of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.

I was getting texts from friends back at home that were anxious to go out and join the movement. I had never seen anything more encouraging than the union of people who stood by all groups: undocumented students and parents, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Veterans, and women.

I was sad I was thousands of miles away from home and couldn’t participate, but at the same time I kept up with the news and applauded my friends for getting out there and speaking up for those groups that were feeling afraid.

The protests made me realise just how important the popular vote can be. Although it may not select the president directly, the American people didn’t stand by idly; they went out to the streets and created a movement that stood up against bigotry, sexism, xenophobia, and racism.

If that isn’t a fight for freedom, I don’t know what is.

Today, I am looking forward to going home and celebrating Thanksgiving; there is one thing I am forever grateful for: my parents’ bravery to migrate to America and make it my home.

The election felt, to a lot of Americans, like a step back and an interruption to the endless work Obama has done to benefit the diversity of the country.

All and all it’s only four years and Clinton was right when she said, “I still believe in America, and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept the result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

As an American citizen I could argue about why the country doesn’t owe the elect-president anything, however, as an American citizen I also need to help the country move forward.
It is not in the American gene to give up. We must remember that America’s openness to embrace different groups of people is what fuels the country’s diversity, it is why we are and will continue to be the melting pot of the world.

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