(Note: I turn the blog over to my niece Brittany Neil for a perspective from a college student in the swing state of Wisconsin. Thanks, Brittany, for putting your thoughts down!)
For a majority of the year, I live in Appleton, Wisconsin where I attend Lawrence University. Lawrence is a liberal arts college that exists within its own liberal bubble. Less than 1% of the 1,500 students supported Donald in the election, and we did not even have a College Republicans group last year. Our county, Outagamie, still went red.
Hailing from the Chicago suburbs myself, I voted absentee as I have every year since leaving home in 2014. Illinois and the district where I cast my vote both went blue. Part of me is proud to have elected the Democratic Representative in our area, but part of me regrets not voting in Cheese Country. That regretful part feels like what I did wasn’t enough. The phone banking. The retweeting. The post sharing. The canvassing. Donald still won.
As I write this, the electors cast their votes which Congress will approve before Vice President Biden announces the results. Activists I know are pushing for reversals in their home states, but I try not to get my hopes up like I did in November. Every day I read tweets from people convinced that the 306-232 divide will narrow. These hopefuls have flooded my Twitter feed since before Secretary Clinton even received the Democratic Party nomination. Even as I read the names of people of color killed by police, even as I watched news coverage of the Pulse shooting, even as I researched the struggle at Standing Rock, hope remained.
Of course hope still remains, but my liberal bubble does not. The election results as well as the instances of hate that occurred in the aftermath forced me to realize how much bigotry remains in this country. Back in Appleton, Lawrence’s staff photographer captured a man wearing Templar and KKK garb while walking down the main street in town. Students organized large groups to walk a mile to the local Walgreens. Professors cancelled class to attend a campus conversation with the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion.
Even the day of the election, standing in a room full of Wisconsin Democrats before getting out the vote, I felt I needed to do more. Now without my flimsy bubble to distort the true state of our country, that feeling remains. While on break from school, I joined over 100,000 other people in Shaun King’s Injustice Boycott [http://www.injusticeboycott.com/] which I believe holds potential to impact tangible change. For too long I lived in a social media utopia while attending a progressive liberal arts university. I hate that this election was a major source of motivation as I started to change my mindset, but now hope is my inspiration.