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Op-ed

Remaining Hopeful for the Next Four Years

Today I woke up, walked downstairs and saw the newspaper sitting on my kitchen table. The headline read, “America First,” in bold lettering and above it was a picture of the new President of the United States, Donald Trump. Despite seeing him win the presidential race this past November and watching his inauguration yesterday, the reality of him being president did not settle in until this morning. I felt like I would never see the day where his name was attached to such a prestigious title, but since November that reality had been inevitable.

It’s hard for many people to remain optimistic during this time. I see that especially in my high school. Many of my friends and fellow classmates are scared for the next four years. None of us have any idea what is in store. For most of our lives, Barack Obama was our president. We grew up with him. We felt like we knew him and his family.

We knew Obama’s views and stances on topics, whether we agreed with them or not. We were rarely shocked by things he did or said. With Donald Trump, we have no idea what to expect.

Many adults think teenagers do not care about the future of our country. They think we live our high school years oblivious to what is going on in the world around us. If we show our opinions, some adults still will not listen to us solely because they believe we can’t possibly know what we are talking about. That is not the case. We do care.

Yesterday, the majority of my classmates showed that they had genuine and valid opinions about the future of the United States. There were kids walking around in Trump shirts and others wearing shirts that read, “Not My President.” Throughout the day teens were debating and expressing deep concern for the next four years. When we watched the inauguration during my history class, some kids looked away while others spoke the final line of Trump’s Inaugural Address with him.

Today, I was given hope about the future. The Women’s March on Washington took place today and other Women’s Marches took place around the world. All day, I have been watching the live streams of speeches from the events and seeing photographs. Women and men standing together to fight peacefully for what they believe in has given me hope. People are using social media platforms to speak out and prove that their voices cannot be silenced. That gives me hope as well.
None of us know exactly what the next four years will bring. I’ll be the first to say that it took me a while to try to find something positive in an outcome I never would have imagined, but I have. Despite my initial shock, I’m finding hope and inspiration everywhere from my peers to celebrities to everyday people trying to make differences. Donald Trump may be the President of the United States, but even he is not able to limit or silence us. This thought keeps me hopeful.

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