Presidential Election Leaves A Mark In the History Books


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Love him or hate him, Donald Trump’s election has caused quite a stir.

Ana Hernandez and Mary West

When the new president was announced on November 8, America felt disquieted and dismayed. Many cheered that  President-elect Donald Trump would finally make America great again.  Others feared that he would set America back by about a hundred years. Many high school students have varying opinions about the the election’s outcome. The Blaize’s reporters asked several students about their thoughts on the new president. 

From the lunchroom interviews, it was clear that many students had concerns and questions about what a Trump presidency means for them and their future. The Blaize sat down with teachers from the social studies department in order to help clarify the most common concerns. The teachers that participated in the interview were Mr. Mohammad Ali, who teaches U.S. and world history, Mr. Jay Iden who teaches economics and the business incubator classes, Mr. Doug Barnshaw who teaches government, and Dr. Susan Center, the assistant principal of RLHS. Here are their responses to the most commonly-asked questions.

“Can the Trump administration build a wall?” Many RLHS students are concerned and scared that their loved ones might be sent away, and the wall Trump proposed early on his campaigns would make staying connected to them very difficult.  But does the possibility of this wall exist?

“Sure, any possibility exists,” said Dr. Center. “We can go to Mars in five years or have aliens land on Earth, but there’s a difference between possible and probable. It’s possible to have the wall built. But will it be probable or likely for it to be built? No. It’s unlikely. Congress has to appropriate or give the money. The president does not have the authority to spend money like that.” Dr. Center also pointed out that not all Republicans think the same, and some think the wall is a bad idea. They think it’s unnecessary, and it would be unlikely for them to spend the money like that.

“One of Trump’s big plans is building infrastructure, which is about one million dollars,” Barnshaw added. “When he’s having to choose, will he be putting all of this money into the wall? Or will he be rebuilding all of the roads, bridges, power grids?”

“Everyone hears the word ‘wall’ and they think it’s like the Great Wall of China,” said Iden.“It’s not like that.” Iden explained that governing is about choices. If Donald Trump is president for four years, and wants to be president for another four years after that, he still needs a plan that will get him elected, which means he has to do what’s best for most of the people.

Will undocumented students still have a chance to attend college here?” Dream Club at RLHS helps young immigrants reach for their goal of attending college. But with Trump’s supposed plans to deport immigrants, many students are worried about being able to obtain a college degree.

“There are some things that will definitely change…about students’ ability to pursue higher education,” said Dr. Center, pointing out that the Obama administration gave undocumented students some abilities. “Under Trump, [those abilities] are virtually certain to go away,” she said.

“[The government] will put conditions on colleges,” said Ali. “For example, if colleges are going to receive federal aid, they must require [that their students show] documentation to the admission process.”  

In short, if a state college is dependent on federal aid to provide its students with money for school, it will be more stringent about not accepting undocumented students. But not all hope is lost for undocumented students wishing to pursue higher education. If a university has enough money that it can offer financial assistance to students without the use of federal aid, that university will be able to accept undocumented students and the government will not step in. And private universities that do not receive any type of federal aid would be totally capable of accepting undocumented students.  “Private universities can function any way they want because they are private and function that way,” Dr. Center said.

“What is the good that can come with a Trump administration?” RLHS students wonder if there is anything good that comes with Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election.

“First of all, there is no such thing as not voting,” said Dr. Center. “You can’t expect things to happen your way if you aren’t doing anything about it. There are things that will change according to the newly-elected president,  but our system is designed to mitigate these extreme things. It helps motivate views.” 

Barnshaw also notes that Donald Trump was a registered Democrat before the elections, and wonders if the president-elect will bring fresh perspectives to politics that will help to unite the parties rather than divide.

Overall, most RLHS students’ initial reaction to the newly-elected president was expected.  “It makes sense why almost every young adult is so curious and frantic to find out what’s going to happen, especially if they’re part of a minority group,” Ali said.  “I just want everyone to know and understand how checks and balances work. And to not be afraid of what might unlikely come in the future.”