An overpowering silence blanketed Andover’s campus on Wednesday morning. The mood was somber; students gathered on the steps of Sam Phil and in Commons, some crying, some expressing rage, fear, and despair. Other students celebrated the election of Donald Trump, who was just elected as the 45th President of the United States in arguably the largest upset in modern American politics.
According to The Phillipian’s 2016 Mock Election, approximately 73 percent of students and 94 percent of faculty supported the Democratic nominee, Secretary Hillary Clinton. Her loss to Donald Trump this week has brought tremendous fear and sadness to our community.
Though many of us disagree with the results of the election, we cannot escape the fact that Donald Trump will become President of the United States. We must accept his victory, regardless of how we may feel about the president-elect. Accepting Trump as president, however, does not entail accepting every action, word, or idea of Donald Trump. It is our right and responsibility as American citizens living in a democracy to question and scrutinize our elected leaders.
Trump has called for the ban of Muslims entering our country, bragged about groping women, openly mocked the physical ability of a reporter, insulted a five-star military family, and called all Mexican immigrants rapists, among other egregious claims and behaviors. He has been accused of sexual assault by at least 13 women, and he has attacked millions of Americans, rejecting and condemning core facets of their identities. His victory has already and will continue to have profound ramifications for groups he has mocked, degraded, and scapegoated, including the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, immigrants, religious minorities, people of many races and ethnicities, and women.
Trump’s bigoted comments and ideologies cannot and will not be tolerated on Andover’s campus. We, as a community of friends, students, and human beings, must draw the line between moral values and political opinions and denounce his hate-promoting, xenophobic, and discriminatory behavior and language. We must not let it define the community we create for ourselves. While Andover is an institution founded on acceptance and tolerance, asking students — especially marginalized students — to treat Trump’s morally corrupt views with the same respect as concrete political beliefs would be ridiculous. No one may ask marginalized people to condone the oppressive beliefs of those who marginalize them.
As an international campus, we realize that not everyone in our community is experiencing this week’s events with the same intensity. For some, this election may not feel directly relevant to their lives. Others may be fearful of what this election will mean for their continued education in the United States, or how it will change their home country’s relationship with the U.S.
We urge all students, regardless of nationality or citizenship, to uphold our standards of morality; we must not allow the person in power to dictate how we view and treat one another. Now more than ever, we must remind ourselves what we stand for as thoughtful, considerate people, and we must make a conscious effort to defend our ethical principles of mutual respect.
As we wait to see how history will unfold, we must turn to one another not only with support and love, but in pursuit of goodness and moral integrity. It is from our relationships with one another that we may draw the greatest strength in this time of sadness and uncertainty.
This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian, vol. CXXXIX.