BY CHLOE JENSEN '20
I’ve never seen Mount Holyoke quieter than I did on the morning of Nov. 8, 2016.
This quietness was not out of disappointment, nor was it silence; rather, it was out of fear. And like most of my classmates, I spent the majority of my day in my own head. When I was not comforting and consoling my friends, I thought about everything I could possibly lose.
I remember coming out at the end of my freshman year of high school. Although I was only 14, I certainly knew I did not have the same privilege as my heterosexual peers, and I continued to fight for marriage equality and non-discrimination laws across the United States. On June 25, 2015, love won, and I remember feeling so relieved that I would be able to get married to any woman I fell in love with.
But as I walked to my classes this morning, I thought about how the president makes an executive decision on appointing Supreme Court justices. It is not implausible that within the next few years, Trump will appoint not only the vacant seat, but one or maybe even two other seats as well, which would definitely be enough to overturn the decision. Perhaps by the time I am ready to get married, I will not be able to.
With a Republican House, Senate and presidency, women’s healthcare issues are more pertinent now than ever before. One day, my sister, a friend, a neighbor or even I may be in need of an abortion for whatever reason. And even if Roe v. Wade is not overturned, it is very likely that with the way the government looks right now, it will be even more difficult and more challenging for us to make our own decisions about our reproductive health. As I sat in the dining hall at breakfast, I wondered what strings I may have to pull for myself or those I care about to get them access to birth control or a safe abortion. I wondered whether safe abortions can even be possible in the years to come. I remembered Trump’s comment about wanting to criminalize women who choose to abort, and wondered how many of my peers and loved ones I would see locked behind bars for trying to make the best decision.
I took a much-needed walk around Upper Lake on this day to blow off some steam. I thought about the economy and job market I would be entering upon graduation in four years. What kind of jobs will be available to me in my field? How will the job prospects completely change with such a wild presidency? Will I have a chance to raise a family and buy a house, or will that be completely out of reach?
When I arrived to class today, I counted the missing people, at least five in each class. I thought about how many of them were mourning, and how many of them simply did not feel safe to leave their rooms. I asked why our country has failed them so much.
And every time I attempted to calm myself, I thought about everything I still have: my family, my friends, an excellent education, support, some base of financial stability and the privilege that comes with my race. I know that so many people do not have these privileges and will lose them throughout the next four years. For this reason, I am going try my hardest to fight for our rights to exist, to love, to be heard, to speak and to live meaningfully. My fellow privileged folk: please listen to those who will be affected most by this election and please fight for them when they cannot.