Five News-Decoder youth ambassadors share their hopes and fears after Donald Trump becomes U.S. president.

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Donald Trump meets labor leaders, Washington, 23 January 2017. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
We asked News-Decoder’s youth ambassadors for their thoughts following Donald Trump‘s inauguration as U.S. president. Here is what four of them wrote.

“I will let his record determine my judgment.”

– Elizabeth S. Wong

I do not like or dislike President Trump. In my opinion, he is a leader who seems to lack common morals. He is harsh when confronting the public, in person and on social media, and makes statements most of us would not say in private, let alone in front of the entire world.

lwong2 (495x471)His crude behavior means most Americans distrust him. This predisposition makes it harder to spot beneficial elements in Trump’s inaugural address.

Still, I appreciated the overarching message of hope and strength in his speech. The United States will never back down, and we will continue to grow stronger.

I agree with Trump’s ideology of putting America’s interests first. We should not have to apologize to the world for putting our own interests first.

Our country will be better placed to help others if our needs are met before anyone else’s. It’s similar to the instructions you hear before a plane takes off: If the oxygen masks drop because of a loss of cabin pressure, you should place a mask over your face first before you help others.

The stronger we are as a nation, the more capable we will be of spreading goodwill and helping others across the globe. We should consider a new focus on our own men and women, who are in dire need of support and security, instead of global issues that may not affect us as directly.

I believe the country needs a more powerful middle class and a redistribution of wealth in America. Corporations and wealthy individuals should not have special loopholes to lower or avoid paying their full share of taxes.

By creating more jobs in America, we would theoretically boost economic growth and stability. But how feasible is it for U.S. companies to manufacture strictly in the United States?

There are many reasons companies outsource to other countries such as China. Labor can be cheaper, there can be fewer environmental regulations and taxes can be lower overseas. To offset higher production costs, manufacturing companies will insist on significant incentives to return production from overseas to the United States.

Finally, Americans seem divided over their priorities. While there is a strong demand for greater economic growth, some are more concerned about equality, women’s rights and human rights.

I myself am a young, minority woman who identifies as a feminist. But I can’t help but feel there was an inordinate amount of attention given to the marches the day after Trump’s inauguration. The protesters were essentially squeaky wheels.

I believe Trump’s determination to revamp our military, to marshal our own assets and to require other countries to bear their fair share in efforts to eradicate terrorism is consistent with a stronger America.

Still, it is clear that we should not look to Trump to be a role model. My fear, and a fear shared by many, is that he is too quick to react to the media and does not spend the time to think about his statements or the repercussions they may have.

As a powerful business man, Trump has gotten his way most of his life. As the boss, he has been able to do what he wants, when he wants. How will he respond to those who do not agree with him?

Because he is an outsider, I question his motives. Is his ultimate goal to make America great again for the majority of citizens or just for those who support Donald Trump?

Despite these concerns, I remain optimistic. I will set aside his personality failings. I will let his record of accomplishments or failures ultimately determine my judgment of President Donald Trump.

(Elizabeth Wong is a second-year undergraduate student at Chapman University in Orange, California, focusing on Strategic and Corporate Communication.)

***

“We cannot afford to go backwards.”

– Ivy Turinsky

Right now I am tired. Tired of demonstrating, tired of being angry, tired of defending my right to share my opinion. I am tired of having to explain to others why I am scared and furious, why I believe that all people should share equality and respect, why climate change is real, why the press should not be censored.

iturinskyTo those who said we were overreacting last year when Trump was only a nominee, look where we are now. The Electoral College has decided that a racist, sexist, Islamophobic and entirely unqualified man has become the 45th President of the United States.

Already Canadians coming to join protests on Saturday were searched and turned away at the border after being asked, “Are you for or against President Trump?”

Today Trump reinstated the “Global Gag Rule,” banning foreign aid and federal funding of international non-governmental organizations that provide access to birth control and abortions.

On Saturday, I marched in Seattle along with 130,000 people of all ages, religions, sexual and gender orientations, immigration and economic statuses. Millions of people marched worldwide. This is not about being sore losers. We would not have marched in the streets if Mitt Romney or John McCain had won. We would not have marched if any decent person had been elected.

This weekend, humanity came together to defend equality and freedom of speech. We may be tired, but that does not mean we will quit fighting for the truth and for respect for all peoples.

It’s 2017, and we cannot afford to go backwards. And so, together, we rise.

(Ivy Turinsky is a high school student from Washington state who spent last year studying in Rennes, France.)

***

“The boundary between truth and lies will be blurred.”

– Giulia Morpurgo

After the inauguration of Donald Trump, U.S. citizens and people all over the world find themselves in a state of extreme uncertainty as the billionaire now occupying the White House seems more unpredictable than his predecessors, who came from an establishment that voters had gotten used to — and tired of.

Many of his promised policies are innovative, provocative and immoderate. It remains to be seen how the new POTUS and his entourage will turn them into concrete policies.

I believe one of the greatest dangers stems from Trump’s tormented relationship with the media. The use of the term “alternative facts” by his staff during the very first days of his mandate suggest that over the course of the next four years, citizens will be presented with two versions of events.

The boundary between truth and lies will be worryingly blurred. Someone who offers subjective information inevitably threatens democracy. Only the most totalitarian of regimes distorts reality to its own interests.

Still, inauguration weekend offered some hope. Women all over the world marched to defend their rights. The display of solidarity should comfort supporters of freedom.

The challenge to the mistrust, fear and intolerance that led almost half of U.S. voters to support Trump will probably come not from the Democratic Party, which is still reeling from the loss, but from passionate individuals who are ready to raise their voices to turn the United States into a country of tolerance, diversity and serenity.

(Giulia Morpurgo is a third-year undergraduate student at King’s College London, studying Political Economy.)

***

“We need to keep the momentum going.”

– Sophie McLaughlin

After Saturday’s march, I am feeling more confident because millions of people around the globe, on all seven continents, marched in support of women’s rights.

smclaughlin_westoverThis movement is so loud and strong that we cannot be ignored anymore. But to enact real change and preserve our rights, we need to keep this momentum going.

Unfortunately I was not old enough to vote in the recent presidential election, but I will definitely vote in the midterm elections in 2018, work on campaigns for the candidates I support and encourage my peers to vote.

In the meantime, it is important to send letters and make phone calls to state representatives urging them to protect women’s rights.

(Sophie McLaughlin is a student at Westover School, an all-girls boarding school in Middlebury, Connecticut.)

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