Nation Divided: Democrats, Republicans Remain at Odds

When President-elect Donald J. Trump delivered his acceptance speech on Nov. 9, he told the nation he’d be a president for all Americans and encouraged those who did not support him to advise him on how to unify the country.

But in the days since that victory speech, voters have remained as divided as they were before the election. As some Republicans rejoiced over President-elect Trump’s win, many Democrats protested in the streets, hurt and outraged over the results.

Protesters rallied in major cities across the United States, including New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In Portland, Oregon, the anti-Trump marches turned into riots on Nov. 10 as protesters smashed windows, windshields and electrical boxes. Since the protests started on Nov. 9, police have arrested more than 100 people in Portland for various charges, including disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer, according to a press release from the Portland Police Bureau.

In Chicago, protests against President-elect Trump have remained mostly peaceful, with only five people being arrested for obstructing traffic, criminal trespassing, reckless conduct or resisting arrest on Nov. 9, according to the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) News Affairs Office.

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Chicago organized the first major protest and created a Facebook event for their Nov. 9 demonstration before the final result of the election was called. About 2,000 people showed up to protest at Trump Tower. Throughout the night, smaller groups broke off and marched throughout the city, shutting down parts of Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive.

At one point, protesters walked down Chicago Avenue, near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus. Addie Testa, a student at Loyola’s School of Law, watched the protest. After seeing social media posts protesting the President-elect all day, Testa said it was interesting to see people actually turn those posts into actions.

“If you were for [Hillary Clinton], this was a hard day for you. What kind of chapter is this gonna be in the memoir of your life? Not to get too hokey-pokey about it, but you know, is this going to be something where you said, ‘This happened and it sucked and I organized and I volunteered and I donated on a national level,’” said the 25-year-old. “How are you going to give and how are you going to bring about that change that you expected last night?”

Loyola sophomore Justice Lawson joined the protest that night at the south end of the Wabash Avenue Bridge, where the main group converged.

“I couldn’t stand to see America have to deal with this,” said the 19-year-old international business major. “[Donald Trump] has no political experience, and I don’t see anything good coming from this.”

The anti-Trump protests continued over the weekend, with the Nov. 12 protest drawing in more around 5,000 people who formed various groups throughout the city, according to CPD Tactical Lieutenant Godfrey Conin. 

Conin coordinated with protesters at demonstrations held on Nov. 9, 10, 11 and 12 to block traffic and clear pathways for the protests to follow. Conin said the Nov. 12 protest was much more organized than the Nov. 9 one, and he said he wants people to protest and to be safe.

Richard Domenico Ehlert, a 19-year-old student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, became the unofficial leader of one of Nov. 12’s largest protest groups. While he was not the protest’s organizer, he helped the group navigate through the streets and coordinate with Conin.

Ehlert said he participated in protests earlier in the week but was shocked to see the huge turnout on Nov. 12. 

“It’s all positive. The crowd is very respectful. The police have been very cooperative and everyone has noticed that,” said the Chicago native. “We are angry, but we are doing this out of love for our country.”

But, Trump’s unexpected victory was good news to some voters, such as Loyola sophomore Christian Geoppo. The 19-year-old said he was “euphoric” after the Election Night results were announced.

Geoppo, who is also the vice president of Loyola College Republicans, said he voted for President-elect Trump because of his stances on foreign policy. Geoppo said he has grown even more confident in Trump’s capabilities since the Republican president-elect delivered his victory speech.

“I think we’re going to see a different Donald Trump than what we’ve seen in the primaries,” Geoppo said. “I think he’s been humbled. I don’t think he really expected to win the presidency. Now, I think it’s weighing on him that he now has to unite the country. I do think he has the country’s best interest at heart … I think he’s going to calm down [and] try to unite the country as best he can.”

Freshman Tiffy Boguslawski, who is also a member of Loyola College Republicans, said she was both happy and surprised at the President-elect’s win but went to bed on Nov. 9 with tears in her eyes.

“It really just upsets me to see this divide,” said Boguslawski. “I don’t necessarily want everybody to love him. I don’t want everybody to change their opinions just because I said, ‘Oh, he’s a good guy,’ … You don’t have to listen to me. Just give him a chance.”

Since the election, Boguslawski said that she’s been called a racist, bigot and Ku Klux Klan sympathizer. She’s even had life-long friends end their relationship with her over her political views. 

Boguslawski also said she’s been disappointed by the behavior of many Republicans who have boasted about the win.

Still, Boguslawski said she has hope that stems from a conversation she had unity. Boguslawski said she realized that a unified group is one in which members can agree to disagree.

With that thought in mind, she reached out to the Loyola College Republicans executive board with an idea: to co-host an event with Loyola College Democrats.

Details of the event, which is scheduled for later this month, are still being planned. Boguslawski said she thinks Loyola students can use it as an opportunity to set an example.

“I feel like it can really show the world, or the nation, that, yeah, we have totally different opinions, but we can still work together because there’s no right or wrong way of running a nation,” Boguslawski said. “It’s about making multiple ideas come together to make it work.”

In response to the post-election fallout, Loyola sent two emails to the university community. The first came from Loyola President Dr. Jo Ann Rooney on Nov. 10, reminding students to care for and respect one another. Later that day, Vice President for Student Development Jane Neufeld and Student Government President Mariana Chavez together sent out an email detailing three events the school would host: a peace circle on Nov. 11, an undocumented and immigrant student support circle on Nov. 13 and a “Where do we go from here?” discussion on Nov. 14.

Despite efforts for unity, protests are already being planned for Jan. 20 — the day of Trump’s inauguration — in Washington, D.C., and cities throughout the country. In Chicago, one Facebook event called “Resist Trump: Occupy Inauguration Chicago” already has more than 2,000 people interested.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Czapski, Trisha McCauley, Eileen O’Gorman and Julie Whitehair.

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