Wednesday, the day after the election, Troy University Young Americans for Liberty chapter held an event for the campus to express their opinion of the election from their “Soap Box”. We built a small platform to act as the “Soap Box” and gave people a megaphone to proselytize to the masses their thoughts and opinions on the election, the future of America, and honestly whatever they wanted. It started off slow, with people confused as to what was going on, and then more and more people came by and caught onto the idea and participated. Troy is a fairly conservative school overall, but we also have a large international population, so it was interesting to see people come up and speak on various social issues across the political spectrum. We had people bashing on Trump and him winning, others rejoicing that Clinton lost. There was one solemn young man who was just disgusted with the election and the future of America with a Trump presidency. While others came forward in support of Trump and had a soothing optimism for the future. Many more got up and encouraged unity in this time of transition. International students got up and spoke of their thoughts about America and future relations with their countries. Many people expressed a need to turn towards religion and faith going forward.
As I was ready to wrap up for the day something interesting happened, a Trump supporter who had spoken earlier in the day came back and got back on his soap box to speak again, and unlike much of the typical hate and negativity that was wrought by this election he spoke to the people with a great fiery support for the future and as he spoke a crowd gathered around to listen and instead of the Trump supporter just rambling on a dialogue opened up, all of the sudden people from across the political spectrum were talking about issues, not just promises and fear mongering, but real issues. Black, white, Hispanic, and Asian students, members of the LGBT community, Christians and atheists, veterans all came together in a group talking about real issues. In that moment I realized we had accomplished just what we set out to do, free speech had won, ideas were shared and discussed, with civility and without hate. I stepped away from the group and heard as people were walking by them commending people for expressing their opinions, many not even agreeing with them, but respecting them for taking a stand and expressing their thoughts.
This brought people out from behind their keyboards and perceived views to face one another and look towards the future together. And with this, in a peaceful manner, helped people reach out of their mental boxes, and discuss the future. Despite who won the election, free speech and the free expression of ideas won at Troy in the wake of the election.