By Abby Fisher ‘19
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tapes in mid-October, many Hillary supporters had been sleeping soundly in their beds. Conversely, Trump’s followers had long resigned themselves to the likelihood of a Clinton presidency. Because of this general consensus, it is safe to say that all Heschel students came to school in a state of shock on November 9.
Understandably, teachers reacted in different ways. While some jumped at the opportunity to engage in meaningful, sensitive discussions about the current state of the world, others felt students needed normalcy and a day of regular learning.
Many students found it frustrating and even unreasonable that teachers could go on with their lesson plans without addressing the GOP elephant in the room. Alternatively, some were relieved current events were not addressed, either because the topic was too raw or simply because they were tired of rehashing the same debate.
Within our community, there are three main attitudes to the outcome of this election. There are the ecstatic Trump supporters, now strolling down the halls with newfound pride in their improbable candidate-turned-president. There are the dejected Hillary supporters, whose grief-ridden shock has turned to moral outrage in the last few days. And, there are the soft-spoken students who would rather not involve themselves in the contentious and polarizing world that was the 2016 election.
Sophomore Mathias Salmon, an outspoken Trump supporter, noted, “I didn’t want to say anything [about Trump] because I didn’t want to gloat. There’s nothing anyone can do to change it [the result], so what’s the use of rubbing it in?” He also expressed annoyance toward the protests now erupting across the nation in response to Trump’s election. He believes they are uncalled for and will have virtually no effect other than obstructing traffic and disrupting the peaceful transition of power. However, even he, an unwavering Trump supporter, expressed some concern about the president-elect’s unpredictable and sometimes volatile nature.
Though talk about the election has simmered down, the school is still quite focused on politics. Sophomore Elana Nussbaum-Cohen, a disappointed Hillary enthusiast, has taken to pinning a safety pin to her clothing, a trend that has taken off since Trump’s win. She explained, “After the election, many people said they were afraid…I just want people to know they’re safe, that I’m with them.” She mentioned that her choice has been questioned a few times, but mainly people are supportive.
She made clear that her decision was not motivated by her support for Clinton, but rather after she heard some Americans’ deep fear of Trump. She felt that even doing something small like wearing a safety pin could help make the new reality a bit less scary.
Though in our pluralistic school a wide scope of political opinions exists, every American shares in the hope that President-elect Trump will unite everyone living in our democracy.