UIS opinion: The U.S. presidential election

The Journal's Sean Blackwell curates a range of opinions from UIS faculty and students on the election results from last week.

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UIS opinion: The U.S. presidential election

Sean Blackwell, Staff Writer

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“The beginning of this election was a sign of hope – hope for change, hope for new policies that would help Latinos. We were hoping for equality – more equality amongst women, amongst people who for so long have been marginalized, oppressed. … Of course, now this [election] means something a lot different.

Now that [Trump] won, it means getting together, and working with one another. It means fighting. I think it means remaining strong, trying to be hopeful for something better. Organizing, mobilizing our people – that’s what this election means now. Now we have to act.

When [Trump] won the election, it felt unreal. It was upsetting on so many levels. I was deeply saddened to realize that a person who has targeted specific groups of people, that has been outright racist and sexist, could have won.

It was extremely disappointing to see that the American people could elect such an individual. It was heartbreaking. It truly was.”

-Sonia Hernandez, legal studies and political science major


“As a sexual assault survivor, who heard so many women come forward about the way in which [Trump] has harmed them, I’m deeply troubled that he was elected.

I’m also concerned for people of color, who have already been feeling unsafe … about people of various religious persuasions that may not feel as welcome … about immigrant law. …

However, I think that there’s hope, because he can be a motivating and unifying person for those of us who disagree with many of his stances. So, it can be a tremendous moment to organize and make some serious changes, and find each other.

We have a huge opportunity here, and we should take it right away.”

-Heather Dell, associate professor of women and gender studies


“When the Democrats portray those who voted for Trump as being racist chauvinist bigots (no doubt quite a few are), they are performing an act of silencing and shaming on voters who weren’t particularly bigoted, and mainly voted for Trump because they detest the ruling elites and the rentier class on Wall Street and the free trade and neoliberalism that has harmed them so badly, and thought Trump might do more against those perceived (?) enemies than Clinton would.

Calling Trump’s victory a victory for fascism or racism or xenophobia is only a half-truth, and the non-ideological Trump-voters who aren’t supporters of fascism, racism, or sexism who hear this complaint are more likely to respond with hostility and deepening suspicion toward liberals than they are to feel shame or regret for voting for Trump (at least for now).”

-Eric Hadley-Ives, associate professor of social work, from his blog post http://hadleyives.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-thoughts-in-reaction-to-2016-election.html


“A majority of people did not vote for Donald Trump.

A majority of people supported Hillary Clinton. …

We live in a rational society that, for the most part, advances the cause of justice. It oscillates, but the net bent of our history is to advance the cause of justice. This is a speed bump in the grand scheme of our nation. So, that’s the silver lining that you can take out of this historic election.”

-Ty Dooley, assistant professor of public administration


“I feel like it’s time for us to really tune in to our politics. As young people, we can no longer ignore what’s going on. … We need to stop with this division. We need to acknowledge that there is a division.

We come to college to be a part of a diverse community. And we all are here; and, yet, we all are separate. That doesn’t make sense.

It’s hard for us to engage each other, especially when you don’t have the knowledge. … If you come here to be a part of the community, and you don’t want to understand the people around you, then you are creating the problem.”

-Jasmine Griggley, sociology/anthropology major


“What you had here in the Rust Belt, and also across the country, is an unpublicized, unspoken deeper support that could be expressed at the ballot box, but wasn’t expressed very publicly or vocally. …

What it shows us is that political scientists and the media and the whole polling industry is, in many ways, so deeply flawed in ways it doesn’t want to admit. … The fact is, this is a poor way of studying politics. It’s unreliable. The algorithms are not as good as they claim to be. … It also means that the country is deeply resistant.

Deep down in the bone marrow of the country and the culture, there’s a lot of racism, there’s a lot of sexism, there’s a lot of white supremacy, which does not speak out loud in the same old ways, but it did speak out at the polls.”

-Richard Gilman-Opalsky, associate professor of political science


“I think racial tensions are going to be exacerbated in this country. Not just because of what he says, but because of the responses it amasses … So when he says very divisive things – whether it be against Muslims, against Mexicans, against minorities – he’s cheered by the thousands; and those are the people that scare us the most, not him. He’s not going to go out and burn a cross. When he says certain things, those tensions become fueled; those feelings of supremacy and superiority come to the fore.”

-Ali Nizamuddin, associate professor of political science


“People are in bad situations in a lot of places; and people don’t want to take personal responsibility for their situation oftentimes. And that doesn’t matter whether you’re a poor middle-class white person, or an inner-city black youth. People like to blame other people.

And so when somebody comes along and says ‘Look, we’re going to blame this group over here for everything bad that has ever happened to you,’ people vote for them. People rush to them. And that’s what [Trump] did; he gave people somebody to blame.

It wasn’t the right thing to do, but it worked for him. It doesn’t mean some of the things he says aren’t true. But, ultimately, I think Donald Trump is more of an opportunist than anything else.

I don’t think he’s a conservative. I don’t think he’s liberal. I think he’s more interested in making Donald Trump great.”

-Richard Stokes, instructor of biology

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