Anti-Trump or pro-america Toeing the line between holding on to your beliefs and holding onto your nationalism

It's been two weeks. I needed time.

Sometime around last January, I splurged on a Marc Jacobs x Hillary shirt. It was overpriced, with a simple holographic design and a red trim around the collar.

I took it out of my closet to wear November 8th; a win was implied.

The worry flushed in around 9 p.m. when I saw Rachel Maddow's eye twitch. She was stuttering, bursting out and struggling to maintain her composure. She was like a flight attendant on a plane that was going down, but insisted going down the aisle and handing out the peanuts.

And the people of America sat dumbfounded, holding on to their seats and the plane bumped and swayed. This was supposed to be a smooth ride. We were supposed to get results by 11 p.m.

I ugly cried that night not because Hillary lost, but because Trump won.

There is a special kind of emotion that warrants an ugly cry. An ugly cry leaves you gasping for air. Your eyes get puffy and your cheeks get red. An ugly cry is not just sadness, it's desperation and helplessness.

I still wore my Hillary shirt the next day.

As I headed into New York City for my photography class after school, I was warmed by the idea of finding shelter in the liberal arts studio. As I approached the building, a passerby spotted my shirt and shouted, "She lost."

Oh, but America lost.

Entering the studio I was taken aback at the scene. Everyone was wearing slick black, bags hung under their eyes. Someone broke into the vending machine and its contents were arranged on the table; people circled and chatted. It was a wake for America. People cried, people hugged, and someone sang.

Departing the wake, and wandering the streets of the city, something struck me. Yes, this was a wake up call, but a wake up call come much to late. It was just now, after years of struggling with civil rights, years of shaky iPhone videos released of black citizens being chased by white officers, after years of living with the wage gap, people sat back that faithful Tuesday night, and thought, "Hm, there might be a problem."

America might be racist. America might be sexist. America might not be as tolerant as we think.

Well, yeah.

But when your alarm clock goes off late, you don't roll over and sigh, "Oh well." You spring out of bed, and rush to get ready. Yes the wakeup call came late, but better late than never.

This was not an armchair election. So I set out to do something, and to report on the people doing something. Attending the protest originating in Union Square on the Saturday morning of November 12th, I arrived with my camera, hiding my Hillary shirt under my jacket in an attempt to remain an objective reporter.

I pushed my way to the front, exchanging casualties with people who had been there for hours, raising handmade signs made in a hurry of political excitement. The man who organized the march announced over his bullhorn that the march to Trump Towers would begin at 2 p.m., and until then we would rally and "make noise." The people did not agree.

Police barricades that separated the mob of people from the New York City traffic were jumped, pushed and stampeded. The people marched onto Fifth Avenue, weaving between frustrated taxi cabs and other fluster drivers.

People aboard sight-seeing buses shouted their approval while filming the sea of people below.

It became clear at once that the marchers did not fall under a certain demographic. Their ages were varied, race diverse, and of all genders. The faces of the movement were colorful, all painted with a desperate passion


I began covering the protest as an objective reporter. I filmed the chants and took furious notes with a green pen. I tried to capture the noise rather than add to it.

Around what must have been 3p.m., I awoke from something of a passionate political blackout, and found myself sitting upon a walkway traffic light leading a chant.

"Show me what democracy looks like!"

"This is what democracy looks like!"

I don't even know how I got up there.

The emotion was infectious. It was an intense celebration of love and people, and impossible to not get sucked in. It was there from my elevated view, grabbing onto the ledge of a construction scaffolding for support, I could see how far back the people extended. The energy was contagious; those standing on the sidewalk gawking in amazement at the sheer number of people were drawn into the horde of people by an invisible magnetic force.

This is so much bigger than all of us.

As the crowd approached Trump Towers, the emotion became more desperate. Now engrossed in the protest, covering it from the inside, I was hesitant to join in on chants such as "We reject the President-Elect," "Not my president," or simply, "Fuck Trump."

Because he is our president. And to reject the presidential nominee would be undemocratic. Passion turned to anger and hope turned to fear as the mob encroached on Fifty-eighth Street

I'm a strong believer in political activism. I'm a strong believer in holding on to what you believe in, but it is our democratic society that allows us to do this. To drag it through the mud would be hypocritical.

I received a passive aggressive text from my "Papa" the morning of the march. He explained that though he and my grandmother "applauded my drive," it was a lost cause. When receiving the text, I was incensed and blinded with frustration; it made me feel angry and misunderstood. However, after sitting with it for awhile, I decided on a simple response.

To echo the pin of a protester from the weekend, "First mourn, then organize." Donald Trump will be our president, it's a fact we have to accept. He's not the president I would have picked, but that is democracy: sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but at least we get to fight the fight at all.

I'm not anti-Trump. I'm pro-women, pro-equal pay, pro-choice. I'm pro-LGBT, pro-equal rights. I'm pro-people.

It will soon be a month since the election, the official mourning period is coming to a close. Wipe those tears, and if you want to do something, get out there and do it, because that is what democracy looks like. The best way to stand up oppressive forces is to live loudly in their face.

The biggest takeaway I got from the march on that bitterly cold Saturday morning, as a looked upon the sea of thousands of people, was this: I can't imagine anything dramatically horrible happening to this country, because there are far too many people who won't let it.

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