The news of the presidential election hit Kenyon particularly hard. Wednesday’s gray skies matched the vacant stares of the students walking the campus.
Emails from Vice President of Studnt Affairs Meredith Bonham ’92 and Student Council President Phillip Gray Clark ’17 encouraged the Kenyon community to support and speak with one another. Events yesterday and today aimed to help students share their feelings and concerns following the election results.
The Kenyon community itself may be at a loss, but our surrounding county is not. Sixty-six percent of Knox County voters chose Donald Trump as our next president. Meanwhile, we struggled to find Trump voters at Kenyon to include in articles and editorials.
The boundaries of the Kenyon bubble could not be clearer: Kenyon occupies a different world than the rest of Knox County.
And, ultimately, that boundary does us all a disservice. Over the last few days, we’ve heard numerous statements from bleary-eyed students shocked anyone could vote for a candidate who has openly preached misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia and racism.
It is easy for our majority-liberal student body to write off anyone who voted for Trump as the same. But almost 60 million Americans voted for Trump. As wonderful as the Kenyon community has been in helping their peers process this news, we cannot seclude ourselves if we want to improve and strengthen our country.
We need to step off the Hill and the first step is to engage with local Knox County residents to understand why they voted the way they did. We need to connect with the students of the East Knox school district. We need to volunteer for local organizations, like New Directions, a domestic abuse shelter and rape crisis center, or the Ohio Eastern Star Home, an assisted living center. If we can reach greater understanding, we can begin to take steps to unify this broken country.
The Kenyon bubble has burst, but it doesn’t need be a bad thing.