We have selected three stories from Illinois high schools concerning the election of Donald Trump to the office of president of the United States. The first opinion piece was written as students from New Trier High School in Winnetka went up to Waukesha, Wisconsin, to campaign for one of the candidates. The other two stories were written after the election and after a considerable level of protest erupted around the country, including in our high schools.
Mr Trump will have some tough decisions to make as he learns about and plans for his new administration and how he will govern. But what is completely clear, after reading students’ writing, is that he has no better grasp of the decision-making process than any of them do. His decisions admittedly have bigger consequences, but the process of internalizing information and going with his gut, as President George W Bush was fond of saying, is the same.
The factors and events that shape our lives and just about everything we do are not a decision but a curiosity, really. What engages us in our world, and why? What are we curious about, and what goals do we want to pursue? Mr Trump asks the same questions these students do.
Staff editorial, New Trier News
The future effect of this elected president makes this election crucial for our generation. Our generation is on the cusp of adulthood; not yet old enough to vote, but old enough where this election matters for us.
It is up to you to determine the values and issues you deem important. It is up to you to support a specific candidate. But in our effort to reflect the needs of the student body, find it necessary to reflect on the skills and values we believe our future president must exhibit.
The future president must be knowledgeable about global and domestic affairs. In order to be the president of the United States, the candidate must be aware and educated on the issues plaguing the nation and the globe. Avoiding issues such as social justice, gun violence, and the environment shows a candidate who is neither aware nor concerned with issues afflicting millions of Americans.
To put it in different terms, everyone wants a doctor who’s been to medical school to evaluate their health, not a doctor who only studied chemistry. We know that a doctor who graduated medical school has more experience and knowledge about the human body than a chemistry major. The presidency is similar. To be president of the United States a candidate must have experience in the political world. Voting for a candidate without experience is putting our county in inadequate hands.
The future president must also have a good temperament. The president must ensure national security and in order to do this the president must remain even tempered. Sure, situations in politics can get heated, but a leader must be calm and collected. Not only does the president reflect themselves, but how they handle global situations reflects how the world perceives all Americans. The future president must not make rash decisions based on actions or words only meant to provoke them.
As our leader the president must reflect our own values. As Americans we all share common values of freedom, equality, and self-expression. Our president must reflect these values and continue to exhibit why the United States is still the leader of the world.
The president’s job to reflect our values also means the president cannot be weak. The new president must have a good temperament, yes, but this person must also be stern. As a global leader, the United States must be a voice that is heard, not one that can be ignored.
How the president-elect is both inspiring and dividing the nation
By Nabeela Syed and Eric Wong, The Viking Logue
For some, Trump’s election was a joyous moment. In a rally held in a New York Hilton hotel ballroom, Trump supporters grew more and more ecstatic on election night as Trump surged forward in the polls in battleground states. Once Trump was announced to be the next Commander-in-Chief, celebrations broke out as Trump’s campaign finally ended in victory.
Many who were displeased with Trump’s election took to the streets to voice their anger and frustration following the election results. Demonstrators in major cities such as Chicago, Oakland and New York marched on public property, chanting “not my president.” Similar to how controversial this past election was, these protests have also stirred up controversy.
Violence has been increasing at these protests. Vandalism, attacks on Trump supporters as well as those who oppose Trump’s presidency, and fires have been reported. In Portland, demonstrators smashed shop windows and damaged public property, resulting in the police arresting many. Peaceful protests have also been conducted in many cities, claiming their purpose is primarily for solidarity.
With the reports of violence surrounding the protests, junior Alex Grundman believes they’ve become unproductive and unnecessary.
“The protests won’t change anything. It just shows hypocrisy because they are violent protests. In some cases some people are taking it too far and hurting Trump supporters,” Grundman said. “Hillary supporters supported peaceful protests; that’s exactly what they preached and now they’re doing the opposite.”
In addition to the demonstrations, many have been reporting a rash of verbal and physical altercations throughout the country. Trump’s policies throughout his campaign have targeted many groups such as Muslims, the LGBTQ community, as well as undocumented immigrants.
The LGBTQ community has recently just been granted the right to marriage in 2015 under the Obama Administration, but with a Vice President strongly opposing this community, they feel as if their social rights are in jeopardy. Concerns by Muslim Americans have been voiced concerning the “Muslim Ban” and Latinos have faced backlash from the results of the election.
Many instances of assault and harassment against these groups have been reported. Women have had their hijab ripped off, Latinos have been the victims of verbal attacks, and concern shook the LGBTQ community as individuals in that community have been assaulted.
The past eight years have been shaped with progressive policies under President Obama, but freshman Sanjana Gorre is worried that this recent election is going to result in America regressing.
“Many minorities are being affected and it’s actually really disappointing that they’re being discriminated against,” Gorre said. “These minorities were already discriminated against in the past, but the campaign has made a bigger impact on their lives. This just shows that he shouldn’t have won the election.”
Although Trump fueled his campaign with numerous promises, many are also wondering whether Trump will actually follow through. Some of Trump’s policies, such as building a large wall on the Southern US border, restricting immigration from terror-prone countries and also removing gun-free zones, including schools, would mean that he would need to repeal many existing acts or raise money the government does not have.
To focus the results of the election back on his policies and his plan to “Make America Great Again,” Trump brought attention back to his 100-day plan. With goals to limit lobbyist influence over the government, focus more on America’s infrastructure as opposed to climate change programs, and repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump plans to take action quickly.
Rather than being worried about Trump’s future actions, senior Mingda Zhang is more concerned about his potential lack of action when it comes to the environment.
“I’m most afraid of his environmental policy especially considering his transition team for the EPA is led by a climate change denier,” Zhang said. “It’s scary to think that our most influential environmental agency is going to be led by someone who doesn’t believe in basic science.”
Despite all these plans, there has been speculation over whether or not Trump will stick with Republican principles during his presidency. Social studies teacher Jacqueline Dickens explains basic Republican ideologies and analyzes if the 100-day plan would contribute to supporting them.
“In general, the Republicans are going to go for a smaller government so in the 100-day plan, Trump plans to get rid of two regulations for every one regulation that he adds which leads me to believe that if you have less regulations, you have a smaller government,” Dickens said. “But on the other hand, he also wants the immediate deportation of undocumented immigrants which would also show a potential increase in government employees. So we will possibly see a decrease in the size of government in some areas, but an increase in others.”
By Jacob Ballmaier, Staff Writer, Perspective
… According to [AP government teacher Donald] Fulmer, Trump’s main problem lies with the United States’ fractured political climate.
The campaigning leading up to this election has been the ugliest in modern politics, and it brought out major skeletons from America’s closet. Rivalries and tensions that have brewed for decades—rural areas versus urban areas, elites versus the working-class, liberals versus conservatives—all spilled forth during the election cycle. Despite Republican control of both houses of Congress, it is clear that Trump will have to overcome the deep divisions that already mark the political landscape.
Many Democrats and Republicans in Congress have agreed to cautious compromise: they say they are willing to work with Trump, as long as he does not pursue the racist, xenophobic, and sexist policies that characterized his campaign over the past few months.
… The presidency is unlike any political office in the country. The figurehead of the nation, the president, makes important decisions that affect not only the United States but the rest of the world. The office’s learning curve is certainly a difficult one. Add in Trump, the only elected president to have no prior political or military experience, and that curve becomes much steeper.
Of course, a good leader requires a good nation. The United States must come together for the next four years with optimism, not pessimism. It must play the hand it is dealt, and help Donald Trump fulfill his promise to make America great.
Perhaps Hillary Clinton said it best: “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”