From US Election to Inauguration – How students experienced it

Donald Trump’s Inauguration

I woke up at 5:30 this morning, to make my way down to DC for Donald Trump’s inauguration with some friends. Earlier this week I was too scared to go to the inauguration, but my friends and family convinced me to go out and experience this historic event. While driving, nervousness created a knot in my stomach. I was worried. I had heard and researched about the protests that would take place, including DisruptJ20, which my friends and I, thankfully, made sure to avoid.

As we walked down towards the Washington Monument around 7:30am, the streets looked nothing like the way we had expected: Empty. The only people we saw were policemen and National Guard troops, working hard for our safety today. Their warm smiles and “good morning”s made me feel better. Then, we arrived at our original destination, the Washington Monument. Still no people. We decided to keep moving and as we walked it started to rain. It was cold and the city looked gray and downcast. We walked towards the Capital as more and more red hats appeared and walked in the same direction.  While we walked carefully and quietly the speakers suddenly roared: “This is the end, take one breath and count to ten”. Skyfall was the first song played and it only added to the eerie and gloomy atmosphere. “It feels apocalyptic”, my friend whispered.

After getting our bags checked by security, we made it to the Washington Mall. It was still empty and the unexpected playlist continued: “You can’t always get what you want”, “My heart will go on”, “Revolution” and “I’m still standing” played over and over again along with other fitting song choices. “Maybe someone hacked the playlist” joked my friend. We shivered in the cold and waited for hours. Trump supporters from all across the country were slowly piling up in front of the Capital. Red baseball caps and beanies, numerous pins with Trump’s face on them, huge American flags. Every now and then a protester would show up carrying signs saying “Say no to racism” “No more walls” “Impeach Trump”. These people were often interviewed by few of the many reporters surrounding the area.

There were screens lined up across the mall, broadcasting all the live action. Trump was on his way to the Capitol and the crowd was getting excited. People began chanting some of Trump’s most well-known quotes: “Build the wall!” “Drain the swamp!” “Make America Great Again!” I had never seen so many passionate Trump supporters in one place. The chants “U.S.A U.S.A U.S.A U.S.A U.S.A” and “Trump Trump Trump Trump!” are still ringing in my head. But there were not only powerful chants – angry boos appeared even louder and stronger than the cheers. When Hillary Clinton appeared on the screen the crowd showed its hatred by booing her vehemently. Obama too was booed by many, but there were enough people who greeted him with a thankful cheer so that the sea of boos was drowned out. When Donald Trump came out the doors mouthing the words “thank you” and giving a thumbs up, the crowd went crazy. It felt surreal. While listening to different speakers, I noticed a few people turning their heads and looking behind them nervously. Amidst all the red hats, large signs had caught their attention: “Soon he will HANG for TREASON” said one of them… “They don’t even hang people anymore” remarked the red-capped student next to me.

Then it was close to 12pm. In just a few moments Trump would officially be the next President. It had been cloudy all morning but when he began to take the oath of office, the sun came out. “Here comes the sun guys!” I heard someone shout. However, when Trump began his speech it started to rain. The crowd enjoyed his speech and said his final words with him proudly: “Make America great again”.

When Trump’s speech was over, almost everyone began to leave the mall. Outside the gates of the Washington Mall, we were greeted by more protestors. Most Trump supporters ignored them, but there were a few who yelled back. At this point we just wanted to leave and make it out safely. It had been a long day on our feet. The news about the disruptive protestors who burned cars, smashed windows, and attacked policemen was very upsetting.

I’m finally home and thinking about all I saw, heard, and felt today. And this is my biggest thought: Love alone is worth the fight. If you feel hatred, do not fight back with hatred. Donald Trump is the president of the United States and we must learn to accept it. We need to stand for peace peacefully and for love lovingly. Together, please.

-by Katharina S.

The week before… 

It is January 1st 2017. I pull aside my blanket and look out the window. Usually I see a beautiful rose-coloured stripe greeting me good-morning (my window perfectly faces the east). Not this morning. No, the sky is gray. And so is my mood. After a, for my German standards, mediocre New Year’s Eve, (I grew up with extensive fireworks), I wake up in 2017 and I am really not looking forward to anything. After all that has happened in 2016 – countless terror attacks, the near break up of the European Union, the election of a racist businessman, another record hot year and more war and poverty in the middle east and Africa – and all that 2017 promises – possible atomic attacks of North Korea, possible dictatorship in turkey, the fall of the European Union with the election of more right wing populists in France and possibly Germany, more war in Sudan, more corruption in Congo, and more terrorist attacks, I really have nothing to look forward to.

It is Monday January 16  2017, Martin Luther King Day. I wake up and look out my window. I witness a orange-rose light fighting the darkness of the night. Temporarily exuberated, my mood drops. This is the week. This is the week of the inauguration. This is the week where hate trumps love. This is the week where walls trump bridges. This is the week I am going on the streets, I am going to tell this idiot that he is not my pre…

But wait…hold on. The light is still shining. What did Martin Luther King say? “You cannot fight darkness with darkness you can only fight darkness with light.”

I should go on the streets. I should defend my stance. I should speak up and raise my voice. I should say that I care about the planet, that I care about foreign relations, that I care about the millions of children who left their families behind in Mexico, I should speak up…

Because this is the year, where we can look forward to democracy. Yes democracy, demos, the people. People participating again. Not sitting back and raging about the status quo behind their own four walls. Democracy is the rule of the citizens. So I am excited in 2017 to see young people all over the world, taking on their role as a citizen and sharing their interest, their care about the world. I am looking forward to seeing the young generation shining their light, full of hope, kindness, open mindedness, tolerance and love.

– Pauline F.

On the election outcome

 

This election was the most raunchy and brutal election that the U.S.A has ever endured. For the United States it showed, very clearly, the divide that this country has amongst its people. Half of the country feels very strongly against Donald Trump, and the other half was very much for Trump, with a mix of other feelings as well. But following the outcome, there have been a multitude of protests of anti-Trump youths and adults who feel that this president elect does not represent them in any way. Whether it is in their beliefs or otherwise, there hasn’t been such an actively anti-president elect movement that many people can think of, as there is right now. In terms of the future of the country, Donald Trump plans to leave NAFTA and end the TPP. He also has shown strong interests in constructing a wall that borders the U.S and Mexico, in an effort to keep, in his own words, “them from us.” He wants to strengthen border security and reinvigorate jobs by pouring more money into the defense budget and into coal and oil industries. Trump also vowed to “drain the swamp,” in our nation’s capital. Meaning that he wants to clean out the lobbyists from politics, and bring on term limits for members of congress, except that he has begun hiring members of his transition team and members of his cabinet, and they are all part of that “swamp” he wanted to drain. The point is that there will no doubt be huge ramifications for not only this country, but for society, because of this election. Going back to the divide within the country, it is more of a manifestation against the language and ideas that Trump made “okay” for people to use. The blatant racism and misogynistic comments and actions that Trump made, have fueled the fury which is boiling over in the country. Some people looked past it, and voted for someone they thought would bring change, while others have stood by their beliefs that the progress which was made in this country shouldn’t be disbanded by hate and distrust.

-by Sam P.