Editorial: Taking the High Road

Evan Farrar, Guest Writer

This election has been amongst the most divisive and belligerent political contests in American history, thanks to two major-party candidates who appeared to be as unfavorable to voters as ever. Nevertheless, on Tuesday night, out of the rubble emerged Donald Trump, who pulled off a surprise win in previously Democratic rust-belt states, winning the pledged 270 electoral votes needed to beat Hillary Clinton by a comfortable margin, albeit Clinton received a larger share of the popular vote than Trump.

The divisiveness of the election, along with its unforeseen results, hits very close to home, as proven by the incident last Wednesday, when sophomore Jade Armenio was assaulted by a classmate. In a matter of hours, the story was picked up by ABC7 News, and arguably due to the disturbing nature of the video captured of the incident, many different news outlets, ranging from the UK’s Daily Mail and stalwart right-wing site InfoWars, put their own spin on the story. With Woodside High School in the national spotlight, a striking continuity between the separate stories surfaced: the incident apparently was a result of anti-Trump hysteria. But was it?

Many at Woodside, including me, feel the portrayal of our school in the media has been deeply unfair; this was a central theme at the protest last Thursday which struck a chord with many students and teachers alike. I would argue that most would disagree with the assertion that the incident was a result of the anti-Trump violence which is currently being displayed in cities such as Chicago. Instead, due to separate evidence that has come out recently concerning allegations of racist remarks made over Instagram, many would argue that the terrible violence inflicted against Armenio was the result of a deeply-held sense of racial injustice, in that the remarks Armenio allegedly made over social media were inexcusable in nature.

This conviction was on full display last Thursday at the protest, and continues to fuel anger and resentment on campus. However, what was also brought to light during the protests was the sheer angst and anxiety over the election of Trump, and the prospective policy changes that may follow his inauguration. When Woodside students protested downtown last Thursday night, for example, cries denouncing Trump as “not my president” were recorded and widely publicized over social media. Calls to unbind the electors from the will of the voters and instead vote for Clinton seem to have risen in popularity. Woodside students and others have transformed Trump’s election into a social justice issue, and this transformation carries some serious weight.

It is the central idea of our democracy that the will of the voting majority is legally paramount. Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump is our president-elect. He will be our president, an executive residing over all fifty states, including California. Thus, disowning him is a very serious mistake.

It comes to mind when considering the results of the election that Clinton supporters were very concerned over Trump’s rhetoric regarding the potential results of the election. He even outright refused in the third debate to announce he would concede the election peacefully if he lost. Clinton supporters heavily scorned Trump over the possibility of not having a peaceful transfer of power come next January, and now it seems that the very same scenario has emerged with the roles interchanged. Anti-Trump protesters are now failing to accept and come to terms with the results of the election, and being a staunch Clinton supporter myself, it all seems a bit hypocritical.

It is necessary to shift the focus of these protests, whether they be walking out of class or leading a peaceful forum where concerned students can speak up. Let us Woodside students set an example for not just other worried citizens, but also for the generations to come. To deny the results of the election, and proclaim the Trump is “not [your] president” is contrary to the very core of our treasured American democracy. Instead, let us anxious students take the high road, and fight to protect against injustice at home, like Woodside’s unfair portrayal in the media, not to object to an election which was won fair-and-square by the billionaire businessman.