The first thing I ever learned in school was how to say stand up straight, put my hand over my heart, and recite the pledge of allegiance.

Some of the first stories I ever learned were those of Betsy Ross, Paul Revere, and Johnny Appleseed. I had memorized the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “My Country Tis of Thee” before I could divide fractions. As the daughter of a veteran, I knew before I started middle school that a flag can never touch the ground and that there’s only one word that every letter of the alphabet can be “as in.” (“Did you just say ‘A as in apple?’ Are you kidding me?”)

I am an American, born and bred. I was taught to love this country from day one. In retrospect, a young five year-old Catherine probably could have benefitted from a slightly broader worldview—(to be clear, I do not blame my parents for this)—but I am certain that my upbringing was the primary contributing factor to the strong American identity I hold today, and it is an identity I treasure deeply.

I have never questioned my place in this country. I have always believed that I belong to it and it belongs to me. After all, I was part of a “melting pot” of races, ethnicities, religions, etc. “How cool!” I remember thinking. “A country that anyone can call home.” I held my five year-old head high with pride.

My worldview has widened in the last fifteen years. In high school and (mostly) college, I have become more aware of the complexities that come with being a nation of nations. But even as these complexities have caused me to consider the dark side of nationalism, at my core—in my heart—that pride I felt in Kindergarten every time I stood to say the pledge has never wavered. My version of nationalistic pride stands for inclusion, for acceptance, and for love.

The results of this year’s election caused me to question that pride.


The past 72 hours have been a whirlwind. The first 24 were marked with an impressive despondency rivaled only by my memories of September 11, 2001. The day after the election, glances in the dining halls were met with knowing eyes and half-smiles. “How are you?” was asked with an intonation that indicated deep concern. The typical responses offered a mutual sentiment. “I’m alright,” “Not great,” “Holding in there.”

mic
Me and Michaela sharing a sisterly tale

The night after the election, I sat outside of Memorial Church and called my 13 year-old sister, who was sitting at home 2,000 miles away in the conservative midwestern town of Barrington, Illinois. Michaela is much smarter than most people her age. She’s thoughtful, curious, and incredibly intelligent. When I prompted her for her thoughts on the president-elect, she had only one question for me.

Ate, why is this so bad?”

I looked up at the face of the golden church and took a deep breath. Why was this so bad? Why was my mother crying today? Why can’t I stop crying today? Is the sky really falling? How bad can it be?

church
Where I go to clear my mind.

I searched for the words to explain to my sister that the win for this presidential candidate was a win for bigotry and hatred. I wracked my brain for a way to tell her that millions of Americans, myself and her mother included, now have to fear for their own safety and sense of belonging in the place that they had previously called home. I fumbled for the words to convey that it was real people out there who actively supported the divisive principles of the president-elect’s campaign with their single, precious vote. I wanted to explain to her that this candidate who had just been elected to the highest office in the land just spent eighteen months attacking not what people believe, but who they are.

I did the best I could to explain all this with the words I found under the churchlight and the stars.


To my great relief—and admitted surprise—the sun has risen every day since Tuesday. And as the days have come and gone, the feeling of hopelessness brought about by the election results have slowly been weathered by sunshine. Conversations with my peers and my family have helped me to come to grips with the reality of the next four years, and have even left me feeling motivated to be the difference. (Like f*ck a politic, but now that Michelle’s no longer in the White House and Oprah’s out chillin’ in retirement, young women across the country are gonna need somebody to look up to…)

So despite the results of the presidential election of 2016, I’ve decided that I still believe in the America I was raised to believe in. It’s the America that stands for love and acceptance, that strives for progress, and that demands justice. I’ve known that I belong here since I was five years old, and nothing and nobody can change that.

This is my America, too. Donald Stupid Fucking Trump can’t take that from me. Only I can give it up. 

After all, when they go low, we go high.

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**A previous version of this post said the presidential election of 2018. Yeah idk. I guess I  need to sleep more.

Written by Catherine Goetze

Catherine Goetze www.cathincollege.com Find me on social media! Facebook: www.facebook.com/cathincollege Twitter: @catherinegoetze Instagram: @catherinegoetze SnapChat: @catherinegoetze Contact me: cathincollege@gmail.com

17 comments

  1. Seriously..? Do you seriously think that half of the American population was stupid and bigoted enough to vote for a misogynistic and racist freak? Really? Is this how low you view the other fellow Americans who supported Trump because of their morals and ideologies? I love reading your blogs about colleges, but I cannot stand people who are so blind to the actual reality, believing in just liberal propaganda of how racist and misogynistic Trump is. Do you just choose not to see or believe the fact that Hillary was covering Bill Clinton’s ass in his rape cases where she even told some of the victims to keep quiet about the rapes? If anything that sounds a hell a lot more misogynistic to me. Of course the media decides to hide most of Hillary’s flaws but blows up on every single comment Trump says.
    The reason why Hillary Clinton lost was not because of half of America is dumb enough to support racism, but rather, it is because people woke up to reality. They realized that the media has been covering up so much dirt and lies to earn the public’s favor into the Democratic nominee.
    From Clinton’s mysterious emails and the mishandled 6 billion dollars by her State Department just show her incompetency. The WikiLeaks, throughout her campaign, led to overwhelming evidence that the Clinton Foundation was utilized and manipulated for empowering the Clintons with money, which would further give her more access to control. This gave her all the free time to conduct e-mails outside of the government system and to destroy thousands of emails that would’ve been evidence against her. She lied to the public repeatedly to hide the corruption of the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Not to even mention, her corruption is further seen through the State Department’s approval of a deal which gave away close to 1/5 of the US’s uranium mining to Vladmir Putin. Whew, I’m not even through covering just half of the corruption and flaw of Hillary Clinton and her campaign. She would’ve sold out the country behind its back for her own self gain, while telling all the sweet lies and promises that she would never keep. She says she fights for women’s rights and inclusion, but all of her actions stray from her words. Do you think if Trump ever did this, the media would try to cover his ass by blowing up stories about Clinton? Not really.
    But despite all of this, the media still tries to blow up stories about KellyAnne Conway’s feet on the couch at the White House. Btw, she was sitting like that because she was trying to get a picture of everyone and had to climb on the couch to take the pic.
    But, I understand that Trump is not the perfect candidate as the president as his careless mouth was seen on numerous occasions during the primaries and debates. He still has many ambiguous policies he needs to clarify and carry through. I understand how his immigration policies have offended many people, but to be honest the government is only taking precautions. After seeing the London terrorist attacks, the French building a fence to protect the Eiffel tower, or the huge jump of rape cases in Germany, the people and the government is realizing the risks of a radial ideology. The government is taking an isolationist policy to protect the American people. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to risking human lives. This is not racism because Islam isn’t even a race in the first place; it’s a set of ideas, a religion. Even with what happened with the Christian Crusades, radical ideologies and religion can lead to huge dangers and death. Which, is why even Christianity had to be tweaked a bit by leaders like St. Augustine to make it less radical so Christianity will not be a extremist religion. However, most Muslim countries where terrorists originate from still believe that homosexuality should be made illegal and even punishable by death. This is not diversity; it’s radical. I’m not saying that all Muslims believe this, but the few radical terrorists follow the radical code and will not hesitate to commit violence for it. This is the reality that the voters feared, which is why Trump got voted.
    When you weigh the graveness of their offenses to the American public, Hillary Clinton is one of the most corrupt politicians in American history. Of course, now that I’ve clearly defended Trump, I will be labeled as a misogynistic racist. I am here to prove to you that I’m not a racist or a misogynist. I actually do study and keep up with politics and know what the hell is actually going on. I don’t look at what race a person is or what gender that person is. I only see the person based on their thoughts, ideas, morals, and their decency; and, that is what truly should matter. If you truly do love your country and believe in the inclusion and the diversity you always talk about, you should consider the diversity of thought instead of calling all Trump supports as hateful or stupid.

    Sincerely,
    A young Asian girl who is a legal immigrant and is not a racist or misogynist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just watch Trump’s speeches and you will see a person with low moral standards. Not to mention he has went bankrupt 4 times in 15 years. Bragged about sexually assulting women (even when i was in high school we would look down on a person who would grab women without their consent, we called them rapists). This man is 70 years old! but hey he only lost by 3 million votes and his approval rating is the lowest of any president ever at just 38 percent, Obama had 80 at his start.

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    1. Just watch Hillary Clinton. She might act and say the right words to seem like a person with moral standards; however, her corrupt actions are completely in contrast to her sweet words.

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  3. I had the same exact feelings. I am a white 15 year old male living in liberal surburban Philadelphia. I watched the election results come in and felt as if someone died. I went to sleep crying and in the morning when I woke up I thought as if it was a dream. I went and took my shower and cried. I didn’t talk to anybody the entire day. I walked into homeroom with some people crying and others wearing “Make America Great Again” tshirts. Even though I could not vote, I supported Hillary Clinton from the beginning of the primary’s. I invested in her campaign, I volunteered for PA Dems to get people to register to vote, I was at the Democratic National convention in Philadelphia when Michelle Obama said those very words. I stood there inside the Wells Fargo Center with purple sign with her name (MO) on it and was a proud American. Writing this today, the third day of the 115th Congress, waiting for all the repeals and reverses to what has been done in the last year. After reading this I realize things ain’t gonna be so bad. Life will move on continue over the next four years. I have always been conscious about the environment and always knew I wanted do something related to that. I want to work in environmental policy, and my dream job would be working for the EPA. I’m sorry for the long post. I just want to say thank you. #imwithher and always will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I disagree with you. Not all those who voted for Trump did so with hate in their minds. And for you to demonize half the US population by saying so is naive. However, I appreciate you sharing your point of view…. but you shouldn’t cry over the election. So much of it is sensationalized. I would fear a nation under Clinton way more than one under Trump.

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    1. Not to get anyone’s panties in a twist but I actually disagree with YOU, Most of trumps policies are democratic anyways, he’s always been a democrat up until this election, and just like I won’t judge you for negative incidentents in your past, you should not judge someone for theirs either. Things change…

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      1. She is not being naive, she is looking out not just for herself but as well as the well being of others. Sure, – by the looks of it – she comes from a stable family, but the reality is that there is many of us out there who aside from the sacrifices made by our families, can’t pursue a better life, because we are descriminized as ‘rapists’ and apparent ‘drug lords.’ We come here to seek what is characterized as the ‘American Dream,’ one that you are too privilaged to be aware of, but everyone seeks. After all, you could’ve just voted 3rd party if you didn’t like that aspect of trump; just like you eliminated Hilary.

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  5. Hey Cath! I LOVED this post… I am not from America and have only visited the US once but the gravity of this election and Trump’s victory has been a huge talking point here in Australia also. At first, I too was devastated because I felt that Trump’s win represented a step backwards in all of the progress that I felt our global society had been making in terms of equality, respect, and general moral decency. As an ambitious young woman it was also very disheartening that Hillary, someone almost over-qualified for the job of President, couldn’t just smash through that front door of the White House (metaphorically) and make history. The response of many of my peers, particularly on social media was overwhelmingly negative. They seemed to go through a brief phase of shock and disbelief, then sadness, followed by utter anger. Initially I had the same response. This was until I watched Clinton’s concession speech and read the open letter that Aaron Sorkin wrote to his daughter. Each of these things made me realise that feeling disappointed was ok but that letting this disappointment manifest into anger and hatred was entirely unproductive and, in a way, represented succumbing to the hateful behaviour that I so despised in Trump. I could not agree with you more in that the way to overcome this heartbreaking defeat is to take the devastation of this loss and use it as an impetus for moving forward. In some ways, Trump’s election is a good thing (bear with me) as it has forced us to evaluate exactly where we stand on so many issues, to reaffirm our values, and it has grounded us in that we can see how hard we still have to work to overcome so many of the challenges facing our world. In this sense, it has encouraged people everywhere to demonstrate their morals more obviously through their actions, to really look out for and take care of minority groups within our society, and to fight hard for our own dreams without letting anyone or anything stop us – in this sense, Clinton’s defeat cannot possibly be thought of as a loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DR, thanks so much for your comment– It’s amazing to hear how the results of the election have impacted people all over the world. I agree with you–finding ways to turn our anger into motivation is absolutely critical right now. Let’s never forget this feeling so that we can continue to create progress in our world despite setbacks like these. -Cath

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  6. This was incredible! I’ve struggeled with trying to figure out exactly how I felt and feel about the result. As a liberal southern Californian, you’d know, I’m in an almost mecca of Trump protest and hate and while I would have voted for Hillary in a heart beat, I don’t justify these protests because it really isn’t going to get anything accomplished; he is still our president. I’m proud to be an American and while especially Californians are going to need all the legal pot available to get through the next four years, instead of hating, we need to move forward. Reading this helped me come to the realization that we need to work together to make positive change, and maybe protests (emphasis on peaceful) are the way to do it. Thank you.

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