By Faith Neece, Contributing Writer
On election day, normal life at Asbury came to a halt. The silence in chapel was deafening, an uncanny replacement for the customary chatter in Hughes. Tears were common, and a pervasive fear spread across campus and across the nation. Even Trump’s supporters on campus were unusually quiet.
I wondered that day, as many others did, if any good could come from a Trump presidency. Fortunately, the answer to that has been yes. Trump has actually strengthened America, though not in the way he expected: he has united Americans in their opposition against him.
Many unexpected but welcome changes have occurred since Trump’s inauguration. First, Americans are paying increased attention to politics. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in July 2017 found that 52 percent of Americans reported they are paying more attention to politics since the election.
Women have especially increased their attention. Fifty-eight percent of women say they are paying increased attention to politics compared to 48 percent of men. Trump’s unusual election has sparked interest and awareness in politics that did not exist before.
The Pew Research Center also reports a 15 percent increase in rally participation, with 67 percent of people participating in protests against Trump. These statistics show how Trump’s presidency has increased interest not in supporting him but fighting him.
Trump’s election not only increased political awareness, but it increased political action. A surge of marches and rallies occurred directly after Trump’s inauguration, with the Women’s March being the most attended. According to the New York Times, 47,000 attended the march in Washington D.C., alone, nearly three times the attendance at Trump’s inauguration.
Thousands of marches occurred in cities across the United States, and women were also represented on every continent. Resistance against Trump’s sexism was felt all over the globe, standing in the face of his election. Though the march sparked some controversy, overall, it prompted unity for women and men. The numbers represented at these marches brought a sense of hope and a powerful opposition to the president.
Finally, Trump’s election sparked a movement of women willing to run for politics. The lack of representation for women in government was felt long before Trump’s campaign and election. According to the New York Times, fewer than 20 percent of those in Congress are women, and the U.S. ranks 97 worldwide in terms of women participation in government.
However, according to Emily’s List, a national political organization that recruits and supports women who run for office, an “unprecedented” wave of 10,000 women have expressed interest in running for office after Trump’s election. This is roughly ten times the number of women who expressed interest in 2016. Trump’s blatantly sexist comments have encouraged women to stand up for themselves and to express their voices in the political sphere.
Trump’s election discouraged many, but it has not held his opposition down. Trump cannot silence the voices of those who resist him. Our government is still incredibly divisive, but Trump has brought millions of people around the globe together. Ironically, he has prompted greater unity, respect and strength among American citizens. Though not in the way he intends, Donald Trump is making America great again.