Good-bye, 2016. Hello 2017


Leah Newhouse

Leah Newhouse, Managing Editor

Bombs flying. People screaming. Flipped over cars burning.

This is what the world looks like right now.

Just kidding. The world’s not ending, today is just the day that Donald Trump becomes our president.

This is how social media has predicted this dreaded day to look, but hopefully we can all safely leave our house without fearing for our lives. And I hope this continues for all of 2017.

2016 got a pretty bad rep. Over a hundred celebrities passed. Violence burst across the country. An election tore our country in half. But, I’m feeling confident about the new year, even with our new president.

During the 2016 presidential election, I noticed a change in myself and in my peers. I actually started paying attention to the news when I used to just change the channel. I read different articles about the candidates and began to form my own opinions on how I felt about many different controversial topics and each of the candidates. I even went a step further and attended the Bernie Sanders rally downtown in the spring to learn more about his political stance. When I developed my own opinions, I began talking out loud about them. I mean, I’m writing a column about my political beliefs right now, and I never would have done that a few years ago. I unfortunately was born a month too late to be able to vote for our nation’s 45th president, but I did not let that stop me from having a voice in this election. The Saturday after election day, I attended a protest downtown and marched through the streets with hundreds of others to peacefully express my opinion without having to take a trip to the voting booth.

I was in the eighth grade and only 13-years-old when the last presidential election occurred. I remember sitting in class and blocking out teachers while they rambled on about the election, but now my ears perk up everytime I hear people discussing politics.

I have seen this change not only in myself but also in the students that I have grown up with since middle school, and even elementary. Some of the current seniors have gone from not even being consciously aware of the election to being able to take his or her vote to the polls to make a difference. Not only did 2016 give young adults the ability to vote, but it even gave those who cannot vote a voice by holding many political rallies and protests.

But that political high does not have to just stop today.

There’s not just one protest, one rally and one vote that can make a difference in the next four years. Just because the presidential election is over, that doesn’t mean that we need to stop caring about our future. We should still be attending rallies and protests and keeping ourselves informed on current issues.

Those who shouted, “not my President” while parading through the streets have to come to a realization that today is the day that Trump in fact does become our president. However, this still should not dampen the spark that was coming to light in the young people who were able to vote for the first time. It should not defeat the first time protesters, like me, who finally had the opportunity to put action behind their words.

We should be nurturing this spark from the election process and let it grow into a flame. Instead of using sticks and brush, continue building this fire by reading and learning more about the politics unfolding in front of us this year. One of the best ways to do this is by not being surrounded by only those who hold similar beliefs. My goal for 2017 is to not inhibit the growth of my political path by doing so, but instead being open minded to those with differing opinions. I plan to see them for what they are instead  
So, don’t let that light be extinguished, and pick up the torch to let it serve as a beacon to others finding their way.