The historic election of Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States has resulted in student protests and “cry-ins” at some of our most prestigious colleges.
For example, some Cornell University students decided to organize a “cry-in” to deal with the trauma of Trump’s victory. According to noted columnist John Leo, Zoe Maisel, co-president of Planned Parenthood Generation at Cornell, said she and co-president Cassidy Clark led the election night cry-in. “We need to just take a break and just cry before … tomorrow we get back up and keep fighting because people feel really, really powerless.”
Alanna Salwen, design chair for PPGA at Cornell added, “This event was just to come together and support each other because we’re all in shock right now.”
As far as I know, there was no “organized crying” at Yale. Instead, students there participated in something called an election “primal scream,” held outside Sterling Memorial Library at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. The Yale Daily News reported, “The scream offered students a chance to come together, process the shock of the moment and use that energy to move forward, said a sophomore at the event.” She added “the primal scream is in no way incitement or an invitation for reckless behavior, but rather a contained period of expression that hopefully enables its participants to express their frustration productively.”
Pardon me if I turn a dry eye toward college cry-ins and a skeptical ear to primal screams. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as enshrined in our Constitution. However, I view these antics by students at some institutions of higher learning as self-indulgent and sophomoric.
Even worse, these acts of immaturity are all too often being aided and abetted by irresponsible college administrators and educators, who, for whatever reason, wish to curry favor with their students.
The better course of action for those theoretically charged with educating our nation’s youth would be to take Trump’s victory as a “teachable moment.” They could use their experience and expertise to nudge their naive students out of their crying jags and into the harsh realities of American politics, warts and all.
The harsh reality now is Donald J. Trump won the presidency where it counted, by trouncing Hillary Rodham Clinton by 306 electoral votes to 232. He did so by cleverly and energetically besting her in 30 states, though barely in some. Moreover, he confounded her-and most of her devotees, by breaching the walls of so-called “blue state” bastions the Clinton camp erroneously took for granted.
So, for all the sore losers out there in academia and beyond, here’s my advice. Have some cheese with your whine, followed by some sober reflection on why Trump won, and how to deal with it in ways more constructive than cry-ins and primal screams.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.