Powerful together: the need to rebuild Macalester’s left

The members of the Macalester community who supported Hillary Clinton did so for all the best reasons. She promised a more inclusive America and a political-legal system that encouraged it. After watching my home of Philadelphia endure hate crime after hate crime, it certainly appealed to me. Media predictions of an easy victory calmed my fears. On Tuesday, Republicans won Pennsylvania for the first time since the ’80s. Why? While the Clinton campaign reached out and offered a platform that seemed empowering to those oppressed because of their race, gender, sexuality or religion, it failed to offer one empowering to working people. Voters trying to survive in the industrial corpse of central Pennsylvania supported Trump’s promise for the reanimation of American industry. In our immediate future, political messages that declare workers, like Latinx, Blacks and Muslims, unnecessary or superfluous are the greatest enemy of an inclusive America.

The Janus-faced character of the social-liberal/fiscal-conservative is a dangerous, walking contradiction. My fight is for an America where everyone meaningfully belongs; not because they contribute to the economy, but because we are “stronger together.” Hillary’s message will remain unrealized until we disavow the neoliberal policies that foiled her campaign. We need to shift our thinking from liberal to left and organize hard, because this twisted landscape is infertile for the futures that deserve to be realized.

Over the last 20 years, the infrastructure of the left at Macalester has dwindled. On many occasions, I have been lucky enough to meet with alumni that have testified to this statement. The successes of Anti-Racism at Mac have been an inspiring start, but our campus needs to stand against so much more. The next four years will be years of resistance, and we need to start building it now. Right now, each individual on campus needs to step back and identify where they have power. Right now, we are afraid. As a professor consoled me, “fear is just a distortion of love. You’re afraid because you don’t want the things you love to be ruined. Be afraid, but never let it paralyze you. You need to protect the things you love.” Right now, we are afraid together. Tomorrow, we need to protect the things we love, together.