Bowdoin is in a unique position following the results of Tuesday’s election. People are feeling many things—from elation and joy to pain, sadness and fear. We have an opportunity as a campus to recognize our privilege of living in this intellectual environment, where we are encouraged to think critically and question openly.

For those who want to fight the bigotry of the incoming administration, we must begin to engage actively and productively with those who feel the outcome is the best move for America so that we can demonstrate actively and productively.

This is not a plea to come together and blindly accept the outcome of the election. This is not a plea to suppress the feelings of anger or fear. This is a plea to reform our method of discourse.

If you want empathy from those that did not vote for your candidate, you need to show empathy to those individuals. As difficult as it may be, we must accept that a significant number of Americans feel that Donald Trump’s proposed policies are valid and the change needed for America. While many of us do not agree with this subset of America’s thought process, there are some real fears at the root of the votes they cast.

Dialogue and communication where we listen and fully understand another’s point of view before beginning to respond is how we ought to engage with America’s next four years. In doing this, we can recognize the validity of the fears many Americans feel on both sides of the political spectrum. We can use this understanding to stand up for what we believe in and to fight what we don’t.

For those of us who are disheartened, outraged and otherwise affected by this election outcome, this is the time to mobilize. We can take our better informed discourse and propel it into productive activism. This is the perfect opportunity for different groups to bridge gaps and come together to affect change.

Bowdoin can help provide the skills and tools to push back against the sexism, xenophobia and racism that still runs through America’s veins. Some professors here fought the good fight in the past—our classes can give us the intellectual perspective and speakers and workshops can refine activist skills.

There is a lot to be learned from movements in the 1960s and 1970s in this country that fought for civil rights, women’s rights and against the Vietnam war that can help us ensure that everybody’s civil and human rights are protected, no matter their class, race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc. It’s time to act now.

This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Marina Affo, Julian Andrews, Steff Chavez, Grace Handler, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert.