I've reflected all day on what to say, and this is it.
First, we should forget about moving to Canada or Sweden (even those of us who hold a passport from such countries). Instead, we should all stay. Roll up our sleeves and get to work. The hard work, harder than ever before, of fighting for equal rights, access to justice, freedom of religion, control of our bodies, freedom of the press, and shattering glass ceilings. The difficult work of advancing our dialogue, promoting the integrity of our democratic institutions, and protecting the dignity of our respect for human rights, all of which are more in danger now than ever before.
We need to look inside ourselves and face our own demons - our own prejudices and implicit biases (because we all have them).
Let's get more involved in local politics. Donate to a charitable cause we've never given to before that assists those most vulnerable. Be kind - and then be even kinder - because the practice of love and compassion and forgiveness and empathy are not for lullaby singing hippies but for the change makers of the future.
Energize the sorrow at the power of bullies and anger at injustices everywhere to fight for justice and silence the bullies.
We will keep teaching our children to see beauty wherever they find it, including in those different than them. Talk to them about right and wrong and everything in between. Empower them to make a difference in whatever way they can - standing up to school yard bullies, or befriending an unpopular kid, or giving some of their toys to those who don't have any, or taking the responsibility to clean up after themselves. Take their little hands and watch the leaves fall.
Turn off reality television. Read more fiction.
Make it a goal to march in the streets for the values of civil society that we wish to promote and maintain at least once in the next year.
This is our country. We will fight for it, even if it seems foreign to us now. These are our people. We will fight for them, even if they helped make this nightmare a reality. This is our life. And we will fight, every day, to live it to its fullest.
And trust me when I tell you things could be a lot worse. I've lived the "lot worse." Many billions live the "lot worse" right now. We will work to prevent that fate for ourselves and to ease the suffering of others.
This is our democracy.
It needs us.
It needs YOU.
Believe in your own free will.
The future is not determined.
You have power.
Every day is another chance to be better, or to make things better for someone else.
Let's begin today. Yours, Shermin Author of Butterfly Stitching
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