I listened to the gracious words of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling Americans to accept the election results of 2016 to unify the nation. But with all due respect to them, the people who now are celebrating are the same who for the last eight years did not accept the election results of 2008 and 2012. Those suddenly wanting acceptance are the same responsible for the tone of the land today, and because of this, before I can graciously accept I deserve first an apology.
For eight years I had to witness an obstructionist Congress, covers of news magazines depicting the 44th president and first lady as animals, and the escalation of hate toward other Americans such as LGBTQ persons. I deserve an apology!
I am told someone has to win and someone has to lose, and to be a good sports person. But a game on a court or a field cannot compare with the game that has been played the last eight years. I cannot accept the eight years of propaganda, xenophobia, sexism, racism. I deserve an apology!
To accept attacks on my right to vote, a corporate court, attacks on efforts to enhance the health of people in this country, attacks questioning whether or not I am patriotic because I can't stand during a song sung at a sports event, and even attacks on my intelligence because I believe global warming exist is unacceptable.
The weight of bridging the great divide is now on me? I now must accept that women exercising their constitutional right to abortion should be "punished," or accept that others were right with every disparaging comment about immigrants, specifying Latin-born immigrants? That I cannot do.
Acceptance says the preaching of a gospel of hate and division by certain evangelical pastors is the gospel of Jesus. It says their portrayal is correct, and the Jesus of unconditional love introduced to me by my mother, grandmother, great grandmother is wrong. That I cannot accept.
Acceptance of "make America greater" is acceptance of eight years of the tone that widened the divide and exploited the divisions. Acceptance means I agree with the eight-year manifestation of real fear of multiculturalism and inclusion, of not wanting a female head of state. Forgiving is hard, but forgetting is harder.
I am an American, and I embrace the sacred words in the Bible as well as the first three words of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution: "We the people." Those words I accept, but without an apology, I will not accept the past eight years of unsportsmanlike conduct, words of hate and disrespect and the creation of a myth that the accomplishments of America during the last eight years meant nothing and caused more harm than help.
I appreciate the graciousness of President Obama and Secretary Clinton who will do all they can, they must to ensure a "peaceful transition of power." As Americans who respect our Constitution and our democratic process, we can say "I accept" to these election results, however painful they may be. But those who have spent the last eight years sowing hate and division, including the one who will soon enter the White House, are called upon to say "I apologize." It's not politically correct, it's just correct!
Minister Leslie Watson Malachi is the director of African American Ministers In Action at People For the American Way.