November 8 was an eerily perfect day; the temperature fell in the 70s with the familiar warmth of Miami’s sun, cooled by the occasional soft breeze. Hillary Clinton supporters had been in high spirits for weeks, with The New York Times predicting an 84 percent chance of a Clinton victory and the FBI officially ending the investigation into her private email server. Both developments seemed to reassure a likely win. America would follow up the first black president in 2008 by bringing the first female president to the Oval Office in 2016 with a positive, inclusive message.
Throughout the day, both those wearing “I’m With Her” gear and “Make America Great Again” hats seemed to be optimistic, relishing in the spirit of Election Day.
Yet as 10 p.m. approached, the red of Trump support bled across electoral maps on television stations and news sites, and the mood of The Hurricane newsroom sharply shifted. Slowly but surely, as more precincts across America reported their results, Clinton’s chances were narrowing.
By midnight, The New York Times presidential barometer had swung to the opposite side, giving Trump a higher than 95 percent chance of winning the presidency. All other news media and polling site projections were also pointing to Trump as the clear winner, and many on our staff were sitting in a mix of disbelief, despair and uncertainty. At 2:50 a.m., Trump delivered his victory speech as president-elect.
No matter how untrustworthy, impersonal and “crooked” Hillary may be, it was difficult to absorb the fact that fellow Americans – many of them on our own college campus – chose vulgarity and empty promises instead of the leadership of an experienced politician and advocate.
Yet it is during times of confusion, fear and apparent hopelessness that our values become more important than ever, even if it feels like they have taken a beating beyond repair.
Our staff is made up of individuals with their own opinions, beliefs and aspirations. But as journalists, it is our responsibility to put bias aside and cover this historic event as fairly, accurately and respectfully as possible. We will strive to avoid the ugly rhetoric that has tainted this past campaign season. We will continue to provide content that aligns with one of our industry’s fundamental missions – holding those in power accountable – and the highest ethical standards.
When we feel as though our country is doomed, we must reevaluate our mindsets, take a day to process what has happened and then look to the future. The only appropriate reaction to such an inappropriate leader of the free world is to rise above. Just as journalists must recover from an election cycle that shattered the conventions of reporting we, as Americans, must cherish and embody the values of our communities like never before: diversity, equality, fairness and innovation. We should hold ourselves to the standards that this country was founded on, whether or not those are the standards preached by our new leader.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.