Op-ed submission: Looking forward

Noah Silverman | Student Union Senator

Fellow students,

Like many of you, this election has shocked me to the core. It’s made me question some of the American values and freedoms we take for granted. I have spent the last week listening to many of you, reading your posts, conversing with you.

In times like these, it’s easy to feel powerless. It’s easy to be angry. It’s easy to be frustrated. I keep asking myself, “What can I do?” What can we do?

We have the power to ensure that our community, the Washington University community, will be a safe and welcoming place for all people, from all backgrounds, of all genders, of all sexual orientations, of all races and of all abilities. From our community, stems the power to ensure this for St. Louis, the state of Missouri, our country and ultimately the world.

We’ve failed to understand each other. Our country is massive; it’s incredibly diverse and the American experience means so many different things to different types of people. Now, more than ever, we are so close yet so far apart. We can fly coast to coast in a matter of hours, and communicate instantaneously with almost anyone around the globe. Yet we separate ourselves into groups who all have the same opinions as ourselves.

It’s natural to live in a bubble. But it is our responsibility as Americans to break out of the bubble, to understand those who may have differing perspectives, opinions and political beliefs than ours.

The first step to understanding is listening. I’m lucky—I’ve met a lot of people, and I strongly believe that ultimately, most people are good people. Blind hatred is never constructive and only leads to division. It is critical for us to understand why someone voted for Clinton, Trump, Johnson and Stein rather than fall into the trap of name-calling, yelling and other dismissive rhetoric.

We took a hit last Tuesday. It hurt. But I’m confident we can get up, regroup and be stronger than ever before.

I haven’t given up on America yet.