Edit desk: Terrified by the targeting

Emily Ward

Emily Ward

On Tuesday morning, I woke up with a naïve sense of excitement.

I threw on my Hillary Clinton shirt and walked to class, ignoring judgmental stares from Lehigh students and faculty alike.

After all, I’d be the one laughing tomorrow.

My liberal friends, and even some strangers, expressed their approval of the shirt. A few said they wished they had one of their own. I responded, “You can always get a matching one when she’s president.”

While leaving the polling station that afternoon, I saw my friend waiting in line. He expressed his fears about the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency, but I dismissed his concerns as ridiculous and unthinkable.

On my walk home, I paid no attention to the Trump signs that littered yards or decorated windows. When I walked through my front door, I announced to my roommates that I had just helped to elect the first female president of the United States.

Not once in the 2016 election had I prepared myself for the possibility of a Trump presidency. Not many people had. But it’s not necessarily our fault.

Virtually every poll predicted a win for Clinton. Nearly every major newspaper or media outlet considered Trump’s campaign a joke. They never seriously considered an outcome that didn’t include Clinton in the White House. It was simply out of the realm of possibility.

Beyond the failure of media coverage, there was always one thought that lingered in the back of my mind: America couldn’t possibly elect a man who is a fascinating combination of everything our country claims to oppose. He is a racist, misogynist, fear-mongering xenophobe, a pathological liar and a sexual predator. Surely his character isn’t one with which Americans would relate.

I was wrong.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up to the horrifying reality that our country had been set back 50 years in a matter of three hours.

In retrospect, this archaic, hateful way of thinking had been brewing in the U.S. for a long time. It was merely heightened when Trump announced his candidacy.

I chose to ignore it by convincing myself that Trump supporters were few and far between. In the process, I underestimated the power of hate and overestimated the character of the American people.

As a woman, I am terrified of what the future holds. As a straight white woman of comfortable socioeconomic status, my fears pale in comparison to the fears of minorities across the country.

Under a Trump presidency, my reproductive rights might be limited further. Roe v. Wade might be overturned, and Planned Parenthood might be defunded. Those are realities that directly affect the trajectory of my life and attack my identity as a woman.

But there are more identities aside from gender that have been attacked in this election: race, nationality, disability, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status, to name a few.

Possessing one of these identities and defending any of them against attack should not be mutually exclusive. Here are some realities that are not a direct attack on any of my identities but that I nonetheless care about:

  • Marriage equality might be reversed.
  • Obamacare might be repealed.
  • Muslims might be banned from entering the country.
  • Immigrants who sought refuge in the U.S. might be deported.
  • LGBTQ members and disabled people might live in fear of being mocked by their own president.

You do not have to be a woman to fight for my right to reproductive health care. I do not have to be disabled to feel outraged when Trump mocked a reporter with arthrogryposis last November. We should feel compelled to fight against prejudice and bigotry wherever we see it, regardless of whether we’re the ones in their line of fire.

Over the course of the next four years, it’s possible that prejudice and bigotry may come from our own president. If that’s the case, these upcoming years are going to require courage, compassion and love. When there is so much hatred that exudes from the highest office in the country, all we can do is send unconditional love into the world.

Tuesday night, after Trump was declared the winner, I received a text message from my mom. Her words brought me comfort, and I hope they comfort anyone else grappling with the decision we made on Election Day.

“It’s not the end of the world. It may just feel like it.”


Emily Ward, ’18, is the deputy lifestyle editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected].

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  1. Lehigh Engineer on

    Get over it Emily as your liberal agenda was squashed by the legitimate process of the democracy your forefathers & parents have designed & respected. Take your contraceptives & you won’t have to make a choice to murder your child.

    • “Lehigh Engineer”, while you are happy to hide behind this very clever name, I commend Emily for being unafraid to voice her opinion in front of a wildly republican student body. Aside from your argument being trash, your inability to own up to your words is exactly why this country is in its current position. Goodnight sweet prince.

    • Well lehigh engineer whoever you are, you actually got it backwards. It’s the democratic process itself that was squashed. By an arcane idiotic electoral college process from the 18th century. The truth is a majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton And when you throw in the votes for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson a clear majority of Americans did not vote for Trump. Millions more voted for someone other than Trump And of all of them no one got more votes than Hillary Clinton. So the old lilly white establishment gets to rule once again. With their old staid outdated shortsighted thinking and ways. Even though they are in the clear minority. In fact in six of the last seven presidential elections dating back to 1992 a Democratic candidate won the popular vote. And in two of those including this most recent election however the democratic candidate who won the most votes did not get to become president and thus the will of the people and the democratic process itself was thwarted or “squashed” to use your word. So now the majority will have to live with these antiquated old white establishment ass backwards ways of doing things. And the last time that happened George W. Bush was the president for eight years and, well we all know what a disaster his tenure was and how he brought our country to near financial collapse and sent us to war for no purpose at all only to lose thousands of lives of young Americans So Lehigh engineer come out from behind your mask and show us who you are and stand proud be in the minority of people who voted for Drumpf – The self-admitted pussy grabber in chief. A vile Man will now stains the sacred office of the White House where such great Americans like Lincoln and Kennedy and Truman and Reagan served our country so selflessly and brilliantly.

  2. Lehigh Engineer, I am extremely proud of Emily and her ability to clearly state her opinion without fear of ridicule and the small mindedness of bullies. As you are hiding behind a fancy pseudonym, I can only wonder if your mother is as proud of you.

  3. Lehigh Engineer…your comment was horrifying! You are an example of what we “liberals” are petrified of…boundless hate, anger and undeserved scorn. You would elect Hitler if he returned from the grave, and you embrace Trump because he resembles him so closely! You are a scary, creepy douchebag. You are what we fear will be guiding our political agenda for the next 4 years. Horrifying!

    • Emily and your Mom, take care and don’t be afraid. Most Trump supporters are not racist, sexist, xenophobes as the media would have you believe. They are people just like you. They see things differently but they are not evil. Unfortunately political races are about defining your opponent the way you want them to be perceived. On both sides that process focuses on the worst elements of the opponent, it does not necessarily focus on the truth. So while Trump supporters did feel that Obamacare was a failure, and the economy was not working for them. They did not feel that because they are evil they just look at the numbers differently than liberals. They also think some solutions that liberals propose are misguided, not because they are racist or sexist but more likely because they are realists so free college for everyone may sound good but it would not work. Taxing everyone making over 200,000 may sound good to some to others it sounds like a money grab. Take heart though Trump and his supporters are likely not as racist, sexist, as you seem to feel, which means the USA will not dissolve however things may go in a different direction, hopefully the tone of discourse on both sides will improve so progress that solves all our problems will be made.


    “LEHIGH ENGINEER”, you do not speak for Lehigh engineers. I resent even the whiff of an implication that your views represent those of that group of people.

  5. @Lehigh Engineer: I understand we live in a democracy and sometimes one party will win and sometimes another will. The problem with DT and his campaign is that he was filled with hate and devisive behavior. Judging by your absolutely inappropriate comment, you are cut from the same cloth. Are you a pussy grabber? Do you have kkk followers as friends? I am hopeful and praying that DT will learn how to represent our country with dignity and grace. You, on the other hand are obviously an asshole.

  6. Lehigh Engineer on

    You appear to be the angry one with boundless hate Cindy. I simply pointed out that the people spoke on the liberal agenda. Take heart in the fact that Trump is the first ever candidate to have a female campaign manager! Your candidate was seriously flawed & a very nasty person who only cared about herself.

    • Lehigh Engineer, nasty person? Now I am going to have to insist that I meet your mother!! She can reach me through Emily’s email. Proudly displayed above.

  7. Lehigh Engineer on

    Trump won under the ground rules well established under our democratic republic. Those of you not dealing well with this result need to buck up & respect the outcome. Trump is far from a perfect person but to pretend that he is our first elected President to be such is naive considering Hillary’s husbands verified behavior & JFK to mention a couple of known democrats of fame.

    With regard to allegations of Trump affiliation with the KKK, remember that the KKK was founded by democrats as part of a plan to control the black population. This plan iincluded democrats setting up abortion clinics in inner cities. Hillary & Democratic Party have perpetuated that plan under the guise of women’s’ rights.

    Trump on the other hand has a plan to bring good manufacturing jobs back to employ inner city blacks & shut off the drugs that cross the Mexican border that ruin the lives of inner city minorities. He has a better plan than simply government handouts & population control promoted by liberal democrats for the minority community. In addition he actually gives women responsible positions in his company & campaign leadership–something Hillary didn’t do.

  8. Lehigh Engineer: This race far surpassed a simple democratic vs. republican difference of opinion. I understand that you may not have voted for Trump because of his racist/homophobic/misogynistic/sexist etc. views “(or maybe you did), but giving him your vote means that you condone the behavior and comments that he has continuously portrayed throughout his campaign. I do not believe that all Republicans are racist, just as I don’t believe all muslims are terrorists. But, by voting for this man, you are either condoning his actions or you are generally apathetic to those that his election DOES effect. And that is where the problem lies.

    It is everyone’s responsibility to understand why people are fearful. Look at what is happening in our country in less than 3 days. Minorities are being mocked and there has been hateful graffiti appearing on school campuses. By electing a man with these views is giving this country permission to act that way as well despite all the progress that we have made.

    By the end, this election became more about the issues of social justice. As for your comments about Democrats supporting the KKK, party lines switch all the time. The argument you made is completely invalid. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, but today would be considered a democrat and was against slavery. Andrew Jackson was a Democrat, and committed mass genocide against Native Americans with racist excuses. Surely today he would not be considered to be a Democrat.

    If you are allowed to voice your opinions then Emily, and everyone else is allowed to as well. You can not talk down to those who wish to voice their opinions because you do not understand their point of view. It is not your place to decide how others can feel.

  9. We all all minorities of one and we all deserve to be loved. I love you as I love all Lehigh students. I even love Lafayette graduates.

    That being said, I seriously disagree with some of your positions as I am sure you do of some of mine.

    See diversity rally comments.

  10. Lehigh Engineer on

    Republicans have never been nor are they today the racist party. Lincoln was a Republican, Republicans pushed for women’s voting rights not democrats. You have to be kidding about post election stuff as liberals are hanging Trump in effigy & burning American Flags.

    Liberals can’t accept opinions from others if it differs from theirs while berating all Republicans & calling us racist. Hillary Clinton is a bigger liar & an outright criminal–you really think we should have endorsed that behavior?

    • Lehigh Engineer, I commend you for continuing to defend your opinion in this dialogue. But, I need to point out that you lost any hope of respect for your points when you started the dialogue by ANONYMOUSLY insulting a woman. A woman whose assignment it was to write an opinion piece. Try to consider that in the future.

      • Lehigh Engineer on

        I agree that my initial post could have been more politically correct but I did not view it as insulting to anyone. I simply suggested a practical solution if Rhoe vs Wade is overturned which was a major concern made by Emily in the article.

  11. Amy Charles '89 on

    Emily –

    Your editorial gives me a lot of hope. I’d come back here very tentatively to see Lehigh’s reaction to this election, and am pleased and somewhat surprised to see how things have changed among the students there.

    Don’t forget that you guys are the future, and it comes along faster than you think. Work hard now, though. Read history, read novels, read economics, read about the rest of the world. Read about how things have gone under autocrats in the last century; read the letters and documents from this nation’s founding. Read the philosophy, bearing in mind all the people it left out. And don’t forget what you expected from the world, what you thought you were going to wake up to on November 9th. Be ready to be that next generation in power.

    Amy Charles ’89

  12. Caroline Power Gangl on

    Lehigh Engineer: When I attended LU, my engineering classmates took electives in history, philosophy & religion, among others. Apparently you have not.
    Hitler’s rise to power started this way.
    A great number of Americans are forgetting (or never learned) history and could be dooming all of us to repeat it.
    Caroline Power Gangl
    President, Class of ’85.

    • Lehigh Engineer on

      Caroline-you can’t really be serious given the 3 branches of government structure of our nation. Just so you understand our team could have felt the same way about Obama 8 years ago as he came out of nowhere with extremely radical views & voluminous radicals with whom he associated. To this day no one at Columbia University has come forward to acknowledge knowing him–He remains the “Manchurian Candidate”.

      When we lost 8 years ago we didn’t riot in the streets or ask for grief counseling. People need to accept the outcome & move on with their lives. Trump will be a great President for this country & bring national pride back that Obama destroyed over the past 8 years.

      The liberal agenda & pendulum went too far & the country rejected it soundly as evidenced by democrats losing thousands of local & state representative positions again in this election. Moderate democrats need to take back their party from the left wing Saul Alinsky followers or it is doomed to extinction in my opinion as well as others in the party.

  13. “Lehigh Engineer” started with an inflammatory comment but has re-confirmed my confidence in the value of a Lehigh education with comments that followed. This election has become too emotional for some people. My viewpoint is that emotions tell us something important is happening, in emergencies action is immediate; otherwise start using your brain.

    Twenty-four years ago Bill Clinton was elected. This was followed by Rush “is a Nazi” Limbaugh’s ‘America Held Hostage” campaign. In my mind this is when the “he’s not my President” silliness started to be taken seriously in American politics. As a result President Clinton was impeached for reasons not directly associated to the task of running the country. Fighting an omestic witch hunt became more important than solving the problems of our country. I believe this is when Osama Bin Laden gained strength. Sixteen years ago the Democrats emulated the Republicans and attempted to repudiate George “Dubya” Bush because they voted for Mr. Gore.

    Mr. Trump is who the electoral process determined to be our President. If he is harassed he will waste his valuable time to the detriment of our country.

    Mr Trump is my President; he is your President too.

  14. Robert F. Davenport Jr on

    A little over four years later and Ding Dong the “Witch” Is Dead ( or at least out of office and kicked off twitter ). We are now out of Afghanistan and Mr Biden is “not my president” to many on the right and subject to calls for impeachment. More stupidity for outliers on the political spectrum. Will president Biden pursue unconstitutional executive orders to satisfy the far left in his party? Will developments in Texas split the country further? Is there anyone who can lead this country to a better place; will anyone follow?

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