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From the Editor | Taylor Kirby

One year ago, we elected a new president

Photo credit: Bobby Jones

Nov. 4, 2016. I was representing the Sentry at President Bill Clinton’s surrogate rally for Secretary Hillary Clinton. My former Managing Editor and I spoke with other members of the press, discussed the templates we’d already drawn up to report the election of our first female president. We also joked about how we’d prepared for the worst-case scenario. As he spoke, President Clinton’s tone was victorious. We thought we were already celebrating.

Nov. 4, 2007. Barack Obama became the president-elect of the United States. During his acceptance speech, he shared his vision for a hopeful future after claiming a landslide victory. We thought we were making irreversible progress.

A year ago today, on Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency. I got home after sending the newest issue of the Sentry to the printer and mourned with my roommates for hours. On Wednesday, campus felt like a wake 50,000 bodies strong. The lawns were empty. My professor wiped tears from under the sunglasses they wore indoors. I presented a guest lecture through the Writing Center, and the instructor apologized for how few students had made it to class.

We thought this could never happen.

I still haven’t come to terms with it, and I suspect I never will. To do so would be to lose all the faith I have left in this country. On Nov. 9 of last year, another professor reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous quote (one that Obama had sewn into the rug of the Oval Office): “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I believe that. I believe that there will come a time when everything that is happening right now will be condemned with something approximating a consensus. But we will have to work to bend the arc back in the just direction.

Though my column as Leisure Editor last year gave disproportionate space to criticizing Trump’s ideology, I haven’t written much about him in the wake of the election. The scale of the tragedy is too large, and my capacity for words too limited. Better writers than I share their grief and anger concerning the presidency every day—what more could I possibly add?

But while I watched actor Uma Thurman deliver her response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations, as I saw her rage surge behind her eyes, I wondered if there might be more to it than that. “I’ve been waiting to feel less angry,” Thurman said. “And when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.”

I can’t help imagining what she might look like if Weinstein had been elected President of the United States.

Taylor Kirby
Taylor Kirby

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