By Elijah Coombs, Amanda Hill, Owen Howland, Charles Miller and Katie Wasierski
University of Mississippi student James Cameron was glued to the TV Nov. 8 awaiting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Cameron, who is studying liberal arts and wants to become a writer and editor, said it’s obvious the country is divided, and he believes the media is to blame.
“The way the media has portrayed what is going on with the police, veterans, and women makes victimization easy to relate with,” said Cameron, adding that he believes the more often we see small cases of victimization, the more people who aren’t victims will feel like one.
“If we make people feel like a victim, and show them how they are still needing to break down barriers, like the news and election has proclaimed the past year, there will always be a divide in this country,” he said.
In the seventh and last story of a series on post-election coverage, we asked citizens if they think the election has caused division in the country, and how we can move forward as Americans after the election.
UM student Scott Bell is also happy with the outcome of the election. He doesn’t believe the election created a division in the country. It was already present.
“The division has been growing,” he said. “…We had the division already. Things have been more and more polarized as time goes on, and it will only get worse.”
Bell said he wants to see fewer undocumented immigrants in the United States, and he wants to stop terrorism. With Donald Trump as president, he is confident these changes will occur, and he believes the entire country will change.
“This is like the swinging pendulum,” he said. “When you drag something so far to one direction, something has to check that, and bring it back into balance. You can’t let liberalism or conservatism get too strong. It has to be somewhere in the middle. I’m thinking we’re going to swing back to the middle.”
Bell hopes Trump can restore balance and maintain equilibrium.
International studies major Christina Pendergrass of Atlanta believes the country is heading towards turmoil. The independent voter did not have much hope for either candidate in the presidential race.
She believes the election has caused division in the country, and that candidates verbally attacking each other has allowed no leeway in this election.
“People don’t think they have a voice in this election anymore since the candidates spend more time bashing one another, rather than telling the country what they are going to do for it,” Pendergrass said.
She said voters who lost must “accept defeat and try to be more open-minded towards Trump and his supporters.” Those who won must “handle the win as maturely as possible and not become overzealous.”
Pendergrass said if Americans can find it in their hearts to work together, the country will be stronger.
Kelsey Downie, a senior UM exercise science major, plans to become a nurse one day. The Republican Trump supporter said she was thrilled with the election outcome.
“I believe there is a huge division,”she said, “and that it is due the the fact that there is such a lack of communication between Democrats and Republicans.”
Downie believes the one way the country can move forward past this election is for everyone to collectively accept the results, because, “Clearly the people have spoken, and and the people have made the right choice.”
Downie said this was a different type of election because of the diversity of the candidates and the intensity each brought to the table.
“I think that we will have a similar election in the future,” she said, “because more than likely, Trump will run again, and the intensity will continue.”
Georgia native Mac McDonald, 20, is a UM student who identifies as an independent voter. “It all depends on the actual candidate and what they stand for in order for me to vote for them,” she said.
McDonald believes there is clearly division in the country following the election. “I think this has set us back a bit, but I am optimistic, so we will see where this goes,” she said.
McDonald said the country has to move forward as a whole. “The worst thing that could happen is if we don’t move forward and progress together,” she said.
McDonald said she isn’t really sure if we’ve seen a new type of presidential election because she’s young, and this was the first election she participated in.
“I think that it is definitely possible to see more of this in the future,”she said. “With the generation we live in and social media, who knows who our next candidates will be?”