Trump wins presidency; find ways to combat hate

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born” -Yeats

When I was in kindergarten, our room was transformed into a kindness castle. When you did something kind for someone else, you would receive a piece of paper with a sketch of a brick to add to the creation of the castle. The purpose was to show five-year-olds that being accepting and respectful of others creates a foundation for something much bigger than themselves.

As a child, I was taught that being mean to people wasn’t considered cool”

, and by middle school I knew that children who teased others didn’t know another way of getting attention. My mom told me those kids would grow out of it once they understood bad attention wasn’t the same as good attention.

Now, fast forward 12 years and the girl who was taught inclusion and acceptance are the key principles of decent behavior has a president who lacks either ability.

As I sat by my mom watching the election 12 years later, what she taught me wasn’t panning out. The boy that had such low self-esteem and thought any attention was good, made it to the highest position of power in the country. The boy that teased and made fun of others wasn’t growing up.

It wasn’t a childhood phase. The worst part about it was that the country backed that behavior. I sit perplexed and baffled as my inner, naive five-year-old bangs against my head, confused as to why this behavior is reinforced by adults when kindergarten classes around the country know better.

I sit numb and unable to move, scrolling through Facebook hoping that our angry and sad voices will reach Washington. I kept wishing that it was all a joke and that Americans who value the equality of all would be loud enough to silence the hatred that has become morally acceptable.

Two weeks later, I slowly came to terms that this is our new reality, and we have two choices. To sit on the sidelines or get up and figure out a way to maintain our respect, equality, and acceptance. The goal now is to be the adult he is not and to continue to teach five-year-olds that what they learn in kindergarten should never be forgotten.

Our next step is similar to the purpose and building of a kindness castle. It took time to build although each day it grew because of new acts of kindness. There were children who didn’t receive any bricks because they didn’t show respect towards everyone or lend a hand to someone, but it never stopped the castle from being built.

As our national castle seems to be in danger, there are acts we can take daily that will impact the preservation of it. Volunteer for local immigration organizations at Canal Alliance, and LGBTQ+, Islamic relations, or racial justice associations.

Donate to Planned Parenthood, climate change organizations such as Global Footprint Network, or organizations designed to stop rape and sexual assault. By doing our part, even if it is small, we help ensure these issues continue to be at the forefront of our priorities.

In this rare, uncharted time we are faced with many things we didn’t fathom. As we venture forward, we must keep hold of our basic rights like never before and fight for a hopeful, positive progression of our country.

We are the foundation of the castle we create. We decide how to build our future, which will determine whether we crumble or stand tall.