Archive for Thursday, November 10, 2016

In Lawrence, young women reflect on Clinton’s loss, what Trump presidency means to them

Free State High School Young Feminists Club co-president Meredith Shaheed, left, addresses members of her club during a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the high school, 4700 Overland Drive. Club members spent the meeting reflecting on the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Free State High School Young Feminists Club co-president Meredith Shaheed, left, addresses members of her club during a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the high school, 4700 Overland Drive. Club members spent the meeting reflecting on the results of the 2016 presidential election.

November 10, 2016


Young women who attended a pair of recent Lawrence forums in the wake of Donald Trump's victory on Tuesday often expressed a shared thought: It wasn't supposed to end like this.

Clinton supporter Meredith Shaheed expected to celebrate a Clinton win with friends and classmates at Wednesday afternoon’s meeting of the Young Feminists Club at Free State High School.

As election returns began to trickle in Tuesday evening, “I just kept thinking to myself, ‘Why does America hate women so much?’” Shaheed later recalled to a group of some 20 students — mostly girls — who had gathered that afternoon in Free State’s choir room.

Shaheed, a Free State senior and co-president of the school’s Young Feminists Club, knows that’s not completely true. Sexism — and how it plays into politics — isn’t that simple, either, she admits.

But the election of Trump over Clinton, a candidate Shaheed admires for her early work as a Children’s Defense Fund attorney and advocate for women’s rights, feels that way right now, she said.

“She has done so much good for the world, and it doesn’t make sense,” Shaheed continued. “The equation doesn’t add up, that someone like that could have lost to someone like Donald Trump. It hurts.”

Trump has been accused — by at least a dozen women now — of sexual harassment and assault. He bragged in leaked “Access Hollywood” footage from 11 years ago about groping women and kissing them without their consent. During the campaign he frequently was condemned for resorting to demeaning or vulgar language to criticize female opponents or members of the news media.

And yet roughly half the country — plenty of women, too — voted for him despite it.

As polls have shown, Clinton failed to energize some female voters too. Local female supporters of Trump in post election interviews have cited issues ranging from concerns about Clinton's handling of classified e-mails to her stance on abortion to just a general need to have someone who is not tied to the political machinery of Washington, D.C..

On the University of Kansas campus, women struggled with what the vote meant and other post election issues at a forum on Thursday afternoon. About 60 people, mostly women, gathered on the sixth floor of the Kansas Union to process the election results.

In the case of KU student Valerie Swisher, a Clinton supporter, she has “struggled” over the course of the election to understand her father's support of Trump.

“I just try to look at him, because I have a sister, and it’s like, How do you see me? Do you see me as worth not having rights? Am I not worth as much as men?” Swisher said, speaking to a visibly emotional group that circulated a box of tissues around the room throughout the hour.

“Trying to deal with that in people that I truly, truly love is one thing that has been so hard for me to just wrap my head around,” she continued. “Because, how do I look at him the same way when he voted for someone who’s so blatantly against everything that I stand for?”

That’s partly why the election of Trump, she said after Thursday’s safe-space meeting, has left her feeling somewhat despondent about her future. This year’s election was the first presidential contest in which Swisher was old enough to vote. She cast her first vote for the candidate she hoped would be the first female president.

Now, for Swisher and other young women, those hopes are dashed. At least for the time being.

The girls who gathered in the Free State High School choir room Wednesday, many of them just months away from turning 18, held each other and wiped away tears while watching Clinton’s concession speech on a projector screen that afternoon.

But they also hadn't given up. Shaheed spent last weekend with the Clinton campaign in Iowa, an experience she looks back on now as only solidifying her interest in public service.

“As a teenage girl who’s really into politics,” Shaheed said, she couldn’t help but feel devastated by Clinton’s loss.

“By the time I’m running for some sort of office, maybe we still won’t have a female president,” she mused. “Maybe we still won’t have a woman at the highest office in the world.”

“It hurt to get so close,” agreed senior Aubin Murphy, the club's co-president.

Still, when asked if they expect to see a female president in their lifetimes, both girls said, with certainty, that it will happen. They’re not sure when, but they’re sure just the same.


Bob Forer 1 year, 5 months ago

I would like to thank all of those brilliant people who chose to support Hillary over Bernie because "we needed to stop Trump." This, despite the fact that the polls at the time showed Bernie doing much better against Trump than Hillary in a hypothetical race. In fact, Bernie's advantage would have probably been enough to keep Trump out of the White House.

You fools helped to set in place a new government that will significantly diminish the lives of the average working American for decades.

Shame on every last one of you.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

American voters rejected the worst major party candidate ever to run for President. It was a job well done.

Bob Forer 1 year, 5 months ago

Bob, read my comment below. I don't know if she was the worst candidate ever, but to choose the consummate Washington insider when everyone--dems, repubs, libs and independents were fed up with the establishment--was beyond stupid.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Yes, they did. Unfortunately because of the electoral college, the majority of voters were overruled and he became president anyway.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 5 months ago

Same goes for Kasich or several others over Trump, so there's some accountability there too.

Bob Forer 1 year, 5 months ago

‘Why does America hate women so much?’

An absurd question, given that 51% of the population are women. The question presupposes that a good portion of the majority of our popultion are self-haters.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Not an invalid assumption. Women can be misogynistic. Many of them voted for someone who openly bragged about sexually assaulting women and dismissed it as mere boastfulness, even after several women came forward to say that he had assaulted them.

Steve Jacob 1 year, 5 months ago

CNN exit polls have white women going 53% Trump.

Richard Neuschafer 1 year, 5 months ago

Canada's CBC network reported the same figure. 53% of white women voted for Trump.

Bob Forer 1 year, 5 months ago

The vote had nothing to do with the sex scandals. People were mad as hell and weren't going to take it any longer. Congress has a paltry 12 percent approval rating. The early and strong emergence of Bernie Sanders, a virtually unknown politician, and Donald Trump, a man with absolutely no political experience, clearly demonstrated a strong disdain for the establishment. And despite that fact, the DNC pushed for the poster child of Washington insiders, and the RNC tried to distance themselves by a man they saw as a sure loser. \

The results clearly demonstrate otherwise. The insider got her butt whipped but good against a man whose campaign started to unravel from day one.

Both parties need to take notice.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

You were wondering about women who hated other women? Yeah. That.

Bob Summers 1 year, 5 months ago

Science has profoundly explained why people like this behave as they do.

They are not "fools". They have not been "brain washed".

They were born this way.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

With the ability to make and retain friends, yes. We've read the research you posted. I'm sorry you are without that skill. You were just born that way.

Bob Summers 1 year, 5 months ago

thanks Barbara

You do realize the study was orchestrated by Scientists with the condition?

What other type of human would want to know why they are such wonderful, "friendly" ideological people?

narcissism is one of the many symptoms of the peeps with the genetic condition.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Oh dear. Scientists who knew how to make friends made a study? And you cited this research over and over again claiming it said something other than what you're saying now - until somebody read it? Who cites research like that unless they're science illiterate and have no idea what they're saying? Huh.

Rex Hargis 1 year, 5 months ago

Ms. Shaheed needs to watch the Clinton interview where she discusses getting an accused rapist off on a technicality, and laughs about it. So much for the advocate of women's rights.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

Yeah, but the whole thing. And then you'd know she did no such thing. Also she didn't get a rapist off. She got him to plea because she served her obligation as a defense attorney.

But whatever makes you feel better about voting for a racist, misogynistic, unqualified mocker of the disabled.

Aubin Murphy 1 year, 5 months ago

As disappointing and hurtful as it is to read these comments, I still feel the need to share some information: My name is Aubin Murphy, one of the girls (barely) mentioned in the article. Unfortunately, this article doesn't cover the topic which was originally supposed to be the focus.

The Free State Young Feminists Club is hosting a menstrual hygiene product drive from now until November 21st. We are collecting tampons, pads, etc. which will be donated to The Willow Domestic Violence Center here in Lawrence. This is an important issue to both me and my co-president, Meredith Shaheed. We hope to receive enough donations to positively impact impoverished individuals who requires such items. If you would like to donate, please leave boxes in the front office at Free State High School with a "For Free State Young Feminists Club" label. We appreciate each and every item. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at, or at our twitter: @FSYoungFeminism. Although they don't appear to be in this comment section, our club receives amazing support from both Free State faculty, students, and parents alike. Meredith and I are PROUD to be presidents of a club that is an important safe space, learning environment, and progressive place for so many Free State students.

a flyer regarding the drive

a flyer regarding the drive by Aubin Murphy

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 5 months ago

I feel like gloating today. Trump won. Yay. Republicans easily defended the majority in the House of Representatives. Yay. The Republicans maintain their majority in the Senate. Yay. Wait a minute, the Republicans now control the ENTIRE legislation generating branches of government! AND.............there is almost a certainty of two and maybe three Supreme Court appointments coming up in the next few years. What was it that President Barack Hussein Obama said to the Republicans in that meeting, right before they rammed through the ACA? Oh yeah, elections have consequences.

Relax Ms. Shaheen. You poor thing, you were just lied to by the main stream media to make you believe a narrative that wasn't true. You see, Ms. Shaheen, we no longer live in a society where the media holds the leaders accountable. Instead, they now have a vested interest in the power structure and so therefore profit from being on the "inside." Hillary was an insider who would lie, cheat, and steal to further her self service. The sycophantic media fed you horror stories about Donald Trump, repeatedly apologizing and excusing Secretary Clinton, forever painting her as a victim. The major media companies of this country exist in the major urban bubbles of the east. They see life only within those confines. All of us in between the two coasts are ignorant, unwashed bumpkins, unable to see the truth as they do. I have news for you, Ms. Shaheen, the miners and steel workers of the Ohio Valley region don't like it when the sitting President promises to bankrupt the coal fired power plants. The Democrat nominee for President says that they will be putting a lot of coal miners out of a job. What was her plan to help them? Public dole or retrain them in, I don't know, software engineering or something. She was saying to them, I don't care about your lives. I don't care that this is what you have done for generations and you will do things our way or you will suffer. That is what the voters heard.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 5 months ago

I would feel uncomfortable also with the election of the molester-in-chief.

Kids in middle school are already harassing Hispanic students with Trump posters chanting "White Power". No doubt at the encouragement of their racist bigot parents.

Remember my concerns about the establishment of a fascist Nazi state in this country??

It has started in the schools. We will live to regret this. Well you might, I am 72 and I might miss out on the greatest downfall of a civil and sane society in world history.

It has already happened in Kansas.

Bob Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

"....Kids in middle school are already harassing Hispanic students with Trump posters chanting "White Power"..." Citation, please? Or is that just something you heard on the internet?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 5 months ago

Bob.. check out CNN. The video is there.

Oh...I forgot........"Clinton News Network"...........I guess they staged this with phony students and coached them to do this for the camera. That would work for you, wouldn't it??

Shannon Carriger 1 year, 5 months ago

As the sponsor of the first Young Feminists Club in our district (at Lawrence High School), I'd like to point out the good work these young people are trying to do to better the world in which they live. This group, and the article, are being used to paint a broken and dispirited picture of young people in the wake of the recent election. That is unfortunate. As Ms. Murphy pointed out earlier, they have a meaningful drive happening in their building to benefit women and girls around the world. That should be the focus here.

I disagree with using the club as a place to discuss political outcomes, my feeling has always been that anyone--regardless of gender, political affiliation, etc.--should feel welcome to identify as and participate in feminist discussions and activism. That being said, these young people are engaged, they are determined to make the world a better place, and they believe their voices matter. Many of the comments here suggest they are wrong, particularly on the last point.

Before you downplay or dismiss these students--saying they don't know about past scandals, assuming they are too young to be informed, misspelling their name(s)--perhaps you should sit down and speak with them. I am a teacher and can assure you many of my students, specifically those in our Young Feminists Club at LHS, are more informed regarding the political landscape of this country than adults with whom I work.

Ultimately, all of this boils down to respect. We must show it to one another, we must expect it of our leaders, and we must work to ensure it is the baseline for all conversations and actions moving forward.

--Shannon Carriger, LHS English Department faculty

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 5 months ago

I am pleased to hear of your work with the young women in your group at Lawrence High School. I did not know of it's existence. Keep up the good work!

Mr Smith challenged me on my report of the behavior of students that was presented in 2 videos presented on CNN this morning. I was reporting to him of the existence of these disturbing videos about students behavior in harassing other students. This is not appropriate in any universe, except maybe, Donald Trump's world.

Shannon Carriger 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you, sir. My reference to the last point was not regarding your post, but rather my own final piece in the prior sentence, that many comments seem to suggest the voices of these young people do not matter.

Bob Summers 1 year, 5 months ago

I wonder if the girls were as excited about Hillary Clinton's victory as Chelsea and Bill were in this episode for their race to the WH?

The Clintons ... Chelsea embraces her mother Hillary with the faith, she becomes the next president. Few hours before election results.

Justin Hoffman 1 year, 5 months ago

It's nice to see Barb finally stopped weeping long enough to let go of her H-shaped pillow, get out of bed, and come on here to post her normal drivel.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 5 months ago

It's nice to see your Christ-like grace, Oklahoma. You're surely encouraging the flock towards salvation with your fine examples of how Jesus would have bullied and gloated.

Scott Morgan 1 year, 5 months ago

  1. Good for the young women of Free State.......but

  2. At the first sniff of HRC's massive legal problems surfaced, the Dem Party should have bailed on her. If so, Trump would have lost.

  3. It would be wise to accept the fact Dems ran the most un-electable women in 2016 good ole U.S. of A. No hidden agenda, no vast right wing conspiracy, she stood no chance to win. The fact the party allowed her to run essentially lost the White House. Even with the best speaker in the history of the White House Obama support, national media breaking journalism ethics, and outright cheating, she lost.

  4. There are so so so many great women out there who could have won easily.

Last.......answer these questions and you will understand why Trump won.. In the end many people figured it out. In doing so, voted in Trump.

answer these questions...

  1. What did Hillary ever really do?
    Talk is cheap, what has she left behind of public good substance? Well, she did name a NY Post Office during her Senate years.
    How in the World did two public servants, she and Bill accumulate 350 million bucks and still mounting more wealth? Reminder, they were dead broke when Bill's term was up just a few years ago.

Just think 350 million after taxes, this mi amigos represents a lot of speeches.
Even with million dollar foreign government birthday gifts for Bill, this wealth seems impossible. Last, but by far not least. How in the World did Chelsea become a multi millionaire?

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