Article Written By Brigitte Rec
Photos Courtesy of Roanoke College
After Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 Presidential Election, many Americans, especially students at Roanoke College, woke up the Wednesday after the election disappointed and fearful of the future of the U.S.
Before the country voted, RC had arranged for the associate editor of The Washington Post, Bob Woodward, to visit on November 17th and deliver “The Meaning of the 2016 Election: What Just Happened?” speech, to explain the unique election and what it meant for our country. After the results on November 9th, many would probably agree that he couldn’t have come at a better time.
The famous journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner began his speech by asking the crowd to raise their hands for the candidate they voted for in the election. Donald Trump voters filled about 15% of RC’s Bast gym, while the remaining people raised their hand for Clinton or a third party candidate. Noting this important split in the crowd, it became evident that many audience members were there to seek comfort and a true understanding of what actually happened a week prior to his speech.
Providing a bit of comic relief to the crowd, Woodward suggested to, “Keep your seatbelts on and consider a shoulder harness” for Trump’s upcoming presidency. Expanding on the role of the media in the election, Woodward described the step by step process that The Washington Post took to introduce the public to the political candidates. Writing daily articles about the accomplishments, life, and set backs of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Post did this to help readers develop their decision on who to vote for in November. However, in his speech, Woodward wasn’t afraid to declare his disappointment in the media during the election, and how different media outlets failed to recognize the hidden gap in voters that changed the course of the election.
Bob Woodward also shed some light on President Obama and the drastic shift in leaders that America will be experiencing in January. Gaining a familiarity with Obama through past interviews for The Washington Post, Woodward also had the opportunity to talk with other world leaders about our nation’s president. Mentioning a specific time, he sat down with the previous British Prime Minister, David Cameron. Woodward noted that Cameron didn’t fear President Obama nor did other leaders of the world. Woodward pinned this as a weakness for POTUS, and expanded on his friendliness by stating, “The president has the armor of a good heart.” Perhaps the shift in fear amongst world leaders once Donald Trump moves into the White House will be the change the world sees.
Connecting with the audience using his amusing stories of his experience interviewing influential leaders of the free world, as well as entertaining the crowd with his sense of humor, Woodward finished his speech by offering a foggy view of the future of America. He stated, “I would offer this: we don’t know, we don’t know what Trump is going to be, we don’t know what’s inside.” He encouraged the crowd, “We need to find new ways of thinking of things.”