You woke up this morning.
You went to class.
You headed to work.
More or less, your life was the same as it was the day before — whether the results of the presidential election left you with a pit in your stomach or hope in your heart.
At this point, we don’t know what will happen next. If there’s anything this election cycle has taught us, it’s that American politics are unpredictable.
What we do know is that within the next four years our country will change. But what we don’t know is whether those changes will be good or bad; right or wrong; progressive or regressive.
Still, when faced with an uncertain situation it’s easy to let our minds jump to conclusions. For some, the results of the election will inspire visions of a country on the rise.
For others, their thoughts won’t be as optimistic — they will immediately regard this election as the point when the United States took a turn for the worse.
Whichever side you stand on — or if you fall somewhere in between — don’t forget that democracy doesn’t stop at the ballot box.
The United States is not defined by its president, but by its people.
Our country’s greatest triumphs, from the push for women’s suffrage nearly 100 years ago to the success of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, have all started with people — not politicians.
If you feel as though your voice wasn’t heard on Election Day, that doesn’t mean you’ve been silenced forever. If you think that your opinion rang true on Nov. 8, that doesn’t mean you’ll always have your way from now on.
Our country has had great moments, great leaders and great movements. We’ve had great innovations, great breakthroughs and set great examples.
But contrary to the messages preached during the campaign, the United States has never been — as a whole — entirely great. Each chapter of our history has been marred by huge injustices that belittled, limited and discriminated against fellow Americans. A country cannot be great, unless it is great for everyone.
The United States is a work in progress. No single action can perfect it and no single action can destroy it — not even the election of a president.
So continue with your morning.
Go to class.
Head to work.
Nov. 8 might change the course of our country for the next four years, but it won’t define it. The people of the United States have always held the power to create change, and they will continue to hold that power no matter who is elected president.