By Rylie Frohock
The Scene staff
Many Hillary Clinton supporters were stunned by the election of Donald Trump, and that includes students and faculty at Forest Park.
Computer animation major Jamari Jackson, 20, followed election coverage on the Internet during her figure-drawing class on Nov. 8.
“My mind was blown,” she said. “I don’t take (Trump) seriously. I thought it was a joke. I was like, ‘You have to be qualified for jobs, so why did he just get hired?’”
Jackson is concerned about the aftermath of Trump’s campaign, which she believes stirred up hostility against blacks, Muslims, Latinos and other minorities.
“I feel for them because I could be in the same situation,” she said. “I think it’s crazy because we’re all people, and the fact that this group of people have to fear for this reason, and this group of people need to fear for that reason, it’s too much. It needs to be more simple than that.”
Emergency medical technician and paramedic student Calvin Davis, 22, wasn’t supporting any candidate and didn’t vote after being called into work on Election Day. But the next day, he expressed concerns about Trump.
“I think we’re going to end up in a lot of wars and a lot of trouble,” he said. Trump “is outspoken, and whenever people are outspoken, they offend a lot of people, like he already has. And people in other countries don’t react how we react. They go above and beyond.”
Disappointed but not surprised
Economics major Samantha Higgins, 22, watched election results with her mom until 11 p.m. before giving up and going to bed.
“I’m not exactly surprised, but I was disappointed,” she said. “I knew that a lot of people would come out and vote for him. … These are people who used to be middle class, whose parents fought in wars and came home, lived the American dream. They bought a house, and now they don’t have the money to do that. … They came out in droves to support Trump, and people did not come out like that for Hillary.”
Despite being a Clinton supporter, Higgins admitted that Trump’s campaign strategy worked brilliantly.
“Trump won because he is not an idiot,” she said. “Trump supporters voted for him because he told them, ‘Hey, look, you can hate this. And this is your problem. Here are your issues. You don’t have money and people are forcing their weird beliefs down your throat. You don’t live your life the way that you’ve lived it for generations, and you want your money back. Look, these are the people you need to hate. This is why things are the way they are. We need to fight for old-school American values.’
“I don’t believe he means 90 percent of the things he says,” Higgins said. “He just said it to get elected.”
Like Jackson, Higgins is concerned about the consequences of Trump’s campaign for minorities.
“I am not afraid of Donald Trump,” she said. “I am afraid of his supporters. The people that I love and care about are a very diverse, very mixed bag of people, and those people are very afraid for very valid reasons. I understand that, and I’m afraid for the people I care about.”
Irritated by protest votes
Humanities professor Mark Kruger described many people he came in contact with the day after the election as “pretty depressed.”
“Information was still coming out about what had happened, and people were just kind of moping around,” he said.
Kruger has been working for progressive causes in official and unofficial capacities for decades. He wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about Clinton’s candidacy but felt he had to vote for the Democrat.
“I did attack a few people who had said they were voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson as a protest against the two nominees,” he said. “For weeks, I had been telling them that this election was too important. The Supreme Court was at stake for the next 30 years, that this was not a normal election, and if it were Tweedledee and Tweedledum, that’s fine. But the most important thing was to stop Trump, and not to vote for somebody that’s only going to get 1 percent of the vote.”
Kruger feels Trump divided the country by “attacking women, attacking Muslims and attacking Mexicans.”
Trump “released all these right-wing lunatics who have been in the margins for the past 50 years and made them all mainstream,” he said. “He encouraged them, enabled them, and they all came out. That’s why I think it was so important that he had to be stopped. Even if it meant four years of a mediocre president with Hillary, because I don’t think she would’ve been more than mediocre. I’ve never had anything against her, like all these people who just hate her. I figure that just comes from watching Fox News.”
Kruger made a few predictions based on Trump’s past actions and behaviors.
“I feel like the next four years will be, in one way, entertaining, up to a certain line where it becomes dangerous,” he said. “I think Trump will do stupid things, and I think he’ll do things that are totally in his interest that have nothing to do with the country whatsoever.
“His whole life has been geared towards him and just accumulating as much money as possible. I assume most of the things he’ll do will only benefit him. I’m not as worried about him as I am worried about Mike Pence, who is ideologically dangerous, but I think Trump is dangerous in a different way.”
Trying to stay positive
History professor Deborah Henry knew in her heart that Trump would when she went to bed on election night. She wasn’t happy.
“This is the first time in our history that we have a newly elected president who has never held a political position and does not have a military career,” she said. Like Trump, “if Hillary Clinton had five different children by three different husbands and had filed for bankruptcy a number of times, there is no way at all that she would be the Democratic candidate for the president of the United States.”
Henry had some of her students do a post-election exercise to help them better understand how American leaders make important decisions. They pretended they were advisers to President-elect Trump, divided into groups and tried to agree on what issues should be prioritized.
“When we came back, (one) group wasn’t able to agree on anything, and the other was only able to quasi-agree on a couple things,” Henry said. “I said, ‘So can you imagine sitting across the aisle in Congress or in Washington, D.C.? Do you see the challenges it takes to be able to compromise, discuss and reach the best solution?’”
Henry is trying to stay positive, even though the election didn’t go her way. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I don’t want to have any preconceived notions,” she said. “Hopefully, all the mudslinging will be over, and I listened to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech on NPR. She spoke nothing but support and recognition of Mr. Trump as the president-elect and said we have the responsibility as citizens of this nation to give him a chance and let him lead. It is our job as citizens to make sure we protect our rights in this country. … That’s what we need more of, the civility.”