I went to sleep last night uncertain of what was going to happen, knowing that I would need sleep no matter what happened. I woke up and since then I feel like I have been stuck in a bad dream.

I am a high school graduate of a small town in rural Minnesota and currently a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Denmark. I have aspirations to become a political journalist. I am proud to come from a caring family and a state that voted for Hillary. I am horrified that Trump was elected.

I confess, my reaction was not pretty. I am overcoming a cold, so I spent the first half hour coughing and crying up a storm. How my country could elect a completely unqualified sexist, racist, homophobic, and bully of a man breaks my heart. It’s going to take a long time to process all of this and completely recover, but it is important we must.

“When they go low, we go high.” It is more important now than ever that we go high. I don’t know the damage that a Donald Trump presidency will create, but it’s not going to be pretty. It’s going to be especially horrifying for any minorities and women.

We can’t predict what will happen for sure. However, it is likely that much of the progress our nation has made with deals will go back.

My friend Kyle from Minnesota in Belgium stated it best: “And as far as the election goes… Trump isn’t the only thing we need to look out for.. Washington is now under complete right-wing control, Trump has been appointing the worst of the worst, monsters, I’d say. And on top of that he pans on immediately pulling out of the Paris Climate Change agreement, tearing up the Iranian Nuclear Deal (which was a great accomplishment towards world peace), and repealing Obama care, which was a really good step in the right direction towards national health care. Four years… an absolute disaster.”

Whether you agree with these stances or not, we still will have to deal with a lot more sexism, racism, poor treatment of disabled people, and homophobia. It’s going to be a dark time.

We can control how we respond. I have no doubt that Donald Trump will say horrible things about women, disabled people, immigrants, LBGT members, and people of color. I am guessing his policies will reflect that. It is up to us to normalize the correct treatment of women. We need to stand up for the disabled and fight for their rights. It’s vital to stop racism and homophobia. Macklemore summed it up pretty well in FDT with this little bit here:

Party in the streets when Hillary wins,
If she don’t, my girl’s half Canadian
Actually nah, I’m not gonna stay with them 
I got an eagle on my arm, I’m a patriot
I’ma stay right here, I ain’t livin’ in fear
With my people who are Muslims, Mexican and queer
And we ain’t gonna let you f*ck up four years
Ain’t gonna let you f*ck up for years

To my fellow American exchange students, it’s time to tell and show people about the true American values of inclusion and acceptance. To the rest of the world, it is necessary  to bond together against the hate that Donald Trump will bring. To my fellow Americans, it is okay to mourn, but we have work of inclusion to do tomorrow. Love trumps hate, and we need to show that love to everyone, regardless of what they believe politically.

We can’t let Donald Trump stop what we accomplish individually or as a country. I may be a mess today but I am ready to put up one hell of a fight for love and multiculturalism for the next four years. Part of America went low, but it is time for the rest of the world and everyone to go high.

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