Multi-Platform Positivity in the Aftermath of the Election 2016

The 2016 presidential election was divisive. Before the election, it seemed like there was another scandal, blunder, or horrifying allegation at every turn. Since election day, there have been repeated reports of Trump-related attacks on minorities, and multi-day protests happening in America’s metropolises. All in all, the election has been exhausting for most, and terrifying for many.

But nevertheless, media heavy hitters, pop culture figures, and ordinary folks alike have worked to make the light of positivity shine since the election using their respective platforms – big and small.

Ellen DeGeneres delivered a monologue on her show, saying that while the American public is probably the most divided that it has ever been in recent history, we all share something great:

“People have been very passionate about this race, and I think it’s because we all love our country, we just have different ideas on what’s best for it – which is part of what makes America great,” she said. “And I believe that we can all come together because if you take away the labels, you realize that we are far more alike than we are different.”

Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, did a live show during the election, and delivered a somber monologue tinged with laughter – calling for unity. He lamented the divisiveness and seeming ubiquity of modern politics, calling the 2016 election “poisonous” and saying that Americans had “overdosed…[on the] poison.” He then turned the conversation back towards comedy, saying “you cannot laugh and be afraid at the same time. The devil cannot stand mockery” and advocated for a unanimous vote for several unanimous principles. “Work email sucks” and “Kit-Kats should be eaten in segments, not bitten into like a normal candybar, you animal.”

Similar sentiments were seen beyond the daytime talk show and late night circuit and in social media. The morning after the election, YouTube child star Kid President (whose Twitter is operated by his brother-in-law) tweeted, “Grown ups. Your presence is vital today in the lives of children. Show them what love looks like.” Three days after that, he tweeted again “Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Then go love some more.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and original star of Broadway musical Hamilton, tweeted on the morning after the election. “‘This too shall pass.’-My mom. And she’s never been wrong about it.”

Miranda also released a song titled “Immigrants” on November 11, written and performed by a Somalian, an Englishman, a Puerto Rican, and an American with Mexican parents. The song is based around a popular line from Hamilton: “Immigrants, we get the job done.” Miranda tweeted that the release “could not be more timely” and called the song a “musical counterweight” to the “xenophobia and vilification” in this election.

It wasn’t just public figures, however, who tried to share positivity on social media. In New York, 19-year-old NYU student Sydney Miller hosted a Love Rally in the Park on Friday, where attendees were encouraged to come and “let Muslims, women, those who have disabilities, latinos/latinas/latinx people…know that this country doesn’t hate them.” The Facebook event also specifically welcomed Trump supporters to “express that their support for him DOES NOT INCLUDE support for this hate speech.”

In the District, similar events followed suit. One day after the election, a group of George Washington University students had created a Facebook event aimed to “come together and process these emotions – standing in solidarity with all of the communities that will be directly affected by a Trump presidency,” as well as to help “mobilize for a brighter future in the face of unapologetic white supremacy.”

Students gathered in the campus’ Kogan Plaza to vent concerns, read poetry, and spread support for those who had negative feelings due to the election result.

“I came out here to show solidarity with my brother and sisters, the marginalized and the vulnerable on this campus who are living in such fear right now, who are discouraged and confused and scared,” said GW Student Association Senator Devan Cole, in an interview with The GW Hatchet. “We are here to support them.”

The election was exhausting, but a more positive and less volatile future is possible.

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