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From the Thunderbird Student Newspaper Das Tor - T-Birds Respond to the Election

January 23, 2017

This article is part of a conversation about the future of internationalism post-2016, featuring Thunderbird faculty and students. Related articles are available here.

 By Chris Barton, Das Tor Staff Writer

Thunderbirds are a special group, and an especially important group in the world we find ourselves in. The exact attributes that make one a Thunderbird – a ‘global mindset,’ an enthusiasm for multiculturalism, and a strong history with globalized trade – directly correlate to some of the most important issues at stake in this election. The Thunderbird perspective is especially relevant to this election, and we set out to capture it. Our survey, administered over the last week, reached 123 students and alumni, and reflects how some T-birds feel about the outcome of the election.

Most of the respondents identified as from the USA, though there were quite a few Indians, Mexicans, and Latin Americans, as well as a sprinkling of other nationalities.

Disclaimer: The graphs below show student reactions following the election results from Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Das Tor news

Das Tor news

Worried’ and ‘Uncertain’ were the most frequent words given to describe how T-birds feel about the future. Next most popular was ‘scared’ then ‘afraid,’ ‘concerned,’ ‘fearful,’ ‘hopeful,’ ‘anxious,’ and ‘optimistic,’ all tied. Other notable submissions were ‘bleak,’ ‘gutted,’ ‘confident,’ ‘confused,’ ‘fine,’ ‘motivated,’ ‘resigned,’ ‘insular,’ ‘disheartened,’ and ‘open.’ Although the verbiage used was very diverse, most of the responses held a negative connotation.

Many, many people took the opportunity to share their thoughts in length. All responses that we were given permission to reprint can be found here. A list of some of the most insightful and representative responses is included below:

“People are highly over reacting to the results and only time will tell what will happen. Either way, we have the capabilities to move through the next four years with grace if only everyone will approach it that way.”

“In a world that is so beautifully diverse, I think we all should take a step towards, not away from, the opposite side and see where the other is coming from and how we can cooperate to make a better tomorrow for everyone… not just those like you. I, admittedly, was absolutely astonished and devastated by the results of the election, because it seems our country chose hate over all else. In light of those results, we need to choose to show that love truly does trump hate. Having lived abroad in and among many different cultures (and even at home in neighborhoods much unlike my own), I know that diversity and learning about others helps erase the ignorance that can lead to a nationalistic, closed off mindset in which one looks out for oneself. I think all of us here at Thunderbird can take a look around us and see this whether in class, at the pub, or in the Commons. I have a lot of faith in our wonderful Thunderbird community that we can be change makers who help eliminate ignorance and bring about a mindset of inclusivity and empathy. Because alas, there are many ways a Trump presidency can really change the course of our country, but let’s not forget how we, too, can have a part in that course of action by communicating with our local senators and representatives, getting involved in local government, and simply showing love and compassion for everyone. We must stand up and speak out for peace and love. We as a country are so far divided, and this should drive us to want to figure out a way to unify and work towards a community, a United States, and a world that looks more, acts more, and feels more like Thunderbird where inclusion and diversity are cornerstones of success.”

“I think that people truly don’t recognize the driver of people’s anxiety, fear, and anger around Donald’s campaign and election. This isn’t about the fact that Donald won the election, or that Hillary lost. On many levels, I don’t think it’s even really about politics.”

“These are scary times for Immigrants, especially the brown ones. I pray that these 4 years pass quickly.

"These results were neither all good nor all bad for Thunderbird or the world. The process worked. It is likely we will have a peaceful transition of power – for the 44th time over roughly 240 years. Our institutions will continue to function and perhaps we’ll begin to see a larger exercise of balance of power in our federal government. That is good for the world. Those whose careers and interests lie in the area of increased trade and global business will face different challenges (which is nothing new, in itself). But, there will be no decrease in demand for those who can manage in a VUCA world. That is good for Thunderbirds and the institution. Divides which have existed in our country since its beginning are even deeper and wider than was acknowledged prior to the election. Acrimony has not decreased with the final election results. We have not (yet) seen leadership from various sides (there are far more than two) step forward to begin to heal the rift. These things, if they remain this way, are bad for the world and the Thunderbird community. They do, however, present significant opportunities to make a difference for those who will step forward and lead the nation into the future. This is what makes me hopeful.”

“I think both sides have at least some valid arguments but the hate, bigotry, racism and sexism color the arguments from Trump so much that I’m scared about what the future holds. I see a lot of signs similar to pre-WWII – a similar mentality was also seen with the Brexit and it is a part of the political scene in other European countries. I’m determining to do my part to not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

“Though I’m horrified by the character of the man who will lead this country, I saw it coming. There hasn’t been enough leadership in solving the problem of technological displacement caused by globalization. In the end, people voted out of fear of being left behind, and that superseded all other scandals and considerations.”

“It is over.”

“Despite the uncertainty and the mix of emotions involved in the U.S. Presidential election last week, what many don’t realize in this country is the impact it has on other communities around the world. It is very easy for an individual, in this case the U.S. population, to focus entirely on domestic issues like poverty and unemployment. However, every action has a reaction and electing Donald Trump as the future President of the United States will definitely bring some serious consequences to the table. Mr. Trump has plenty of nationalistic views that he believes will grow the U.S. economy at exponential rates, but what many individuals are not aware of is the economic interdependence we live in, which affects multiple states around the world on a daily basis. The repercussions of his plan for the first 100 days could have a HUGE effect on the international political economy, and drastic changes in economic, political, and social affairs. The image of the U.S. around the world has drastically shifted from powerful and enlightened, to one with a retrograde and segregated mentality. Mr. Trump did an outstanding job at branding his image through fear and passion around the U.S., which provided him with a successful outcome that not many expected. Even though he did a great job at campaigning internally, he definitely did not achieve any success in the international scenario. I am sure that based on his tremendous ego he will not jeopardize the role of the U.S. as the hegemon of the world, or at least that is what I’m hoping for, but if he happens to apply many of the ideas he campaigned on; the reactions could be catastrophic. Following Brexit, the idea of Mr. Trump to pull out of free trade agreements and not honoring NATO allies could be the beginning of a fracture in the EU, one that for first time in thousands of years has contained conflict in this region.” 

“Stop panicking, everyone – things are going to be ok. Stop reading the news that leans the direction you wanted, start being objective. The president is not a king and the founding fathers of this country set up checks and balances to prevent one person from having too much power. Trust in their wisdom, notice how many countries have modeled their government after ours. America is not racist, it’s just tired of the status quo – it’s so tired that it chose to elect the only candidate willing to pick a fight with both political parties. If you want positive change, you don’t pick Hillary.”

“Proactive support of civil liberties groups and environmental action and sustainability support groups is one thing that can be done to establish a barrier against the destructive policies that are likely to emerge from the Trump-Pence administration.”

“Didn’t vote but preferred Hillary. Now ready to give Trump a chance. So far he has done well as prez-elect.”

“Electoral College system needs revision. HRC has significantly more votes. Government bodies (FBI) should not be allowed to influence the election results.”

“I am disappointed that the populace would vote for someone whose rhetoric is based on misogyny, hate, racism, and fear-mongering. Someone with multiple sexual assault cases won the presidency and a female cannot win because of her e-mails! It’s utterly disheartening. My one word for how I feel about the future is, disappointed. I am disappointed because I know that Trump’s policies will reverse much of the progress we have made for women, minorities, LGBTQA, and for climate change. My outlook is grim and my heart is heavy knowing that so many of my fellow Americans voted for this and believe in this rhetoric.”

“This election represents an opportunity for real economic growth and to become more globally competitive.”

“It’s going to be ok America – stop being high school theater department dramatic.”

“There are two possible outcomes from this election. 1- Trump and his affiliates will begin dismantling many freedoms that people have fought for including marriage equality, women’s reproductive rights, a more open global perspective turning away from isolation. Or 2- Trump won’t do anything he promised and turn his back on his supporters. And yet the fact that he knew to appeal to people’s fears and hatred without believing it himself is also scary. Either way not a good outlook for the future.”

“Connectivity allows corruption to surface.”

“The election demonstrated the deep divide between economic self-interests and a sense of inclusion. I’m not sure if anyone can be faulted for that.”

“Stay open, communicate with everybody, spread inclusive wisdom.”

Join the discussion! 

What do you think the election of Donald Trump means for the world? For Thunderbird? For you? Share your thoughts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.