Aubrey L. Kamppila '18, Gettysburg College
Student Research Paper
Date of Creation
I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy on November 9, 2016, when I awoke to the news that Donald Trump had been elected President. To say it was a shock was an understatement, like many Americans, I had never dreamed the scenario possible. At that moment, I felt more powerless and disconnected from my country than ever before. For the next few weeks, I struggled to comprehend how I personally could combat the assault on my political views and values, what stand I could take, and what impact it might have. Finally, on one of many emotional phone calls with my father, he reminded me that positive change can happen regardless of who the President is, so long as people like me refuse to be silent on the issues that matter. When I was presented with the offer to participate in the English Honors Program, I knew I wanted to use this opportunity to understand and give voice to my unique perspective on this unprecedented political moment.
This collection of poems is titled Seismic Waves in allusion to the seemingly unending series of events that have rocked this nation since the election of Donald Trump. Travel bans, healthcare battles, the firing of James Comey, Neo-Nazis marching in the streets, the ending of DACA, an ongoing investigation into Russian collusion, the looming threat of war with North Korea – and those are just the highlights. But the waves have come from more than one side, as we bear witness to the rise of everyday revolution and resistance. Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, #MeToo, Time’s Up, and #NeverAgain are just a few of the movements that have garnered unparalleled support and spurred incredible action throughout the world with their clarity of message and strength of conviction. Finally, Seismic Waves deals with my personal aftershocks, exploring the lasting ways the result of the 2016 election has altered my life and relationships, and allowed me the catharsis of working through painful memories and emotions by the age-old act of putting pen to paper.
Seismic Waves is everything that we’ve lived through since the election and everything that waits in the future. No matter what happens next, we’ll certainly feel it coming.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Kamppila, Aubrey L., "Seismic Waves" (2017). Student Publications. 625.