It’s a little after 6 a.m. here in NYC the morning after Election Day, and the world my 8.5-year-old daughter fell asleep in appears to be the same one she will wake up to. New York City is still loud with tall buildings and the leaves are changing colors in Central Park.
But so much about America and who we are as a nation and the values we hold dear has also changed. I am in shock. And when my daughter wakes up, I will need to tell her the news.
Yes, in January 2017, Donald Trump will become our next president.
Trump’s use of hate and fear and the mechanics of his win remind me of a cancer that keeps growing despite different attempts and treatment protocols. Cancer is basically a cell that forgets it’s supposed to die, so it keeps growing and multiplying, eventually taking over other cells and compromising organs and limbs. This is the same as the power of hate and fear, especially in an election cycle. Trump’s vitriol multiplied, and despite our best efforts in some states we could save, others were compromised. The hate and fear prevailed.
But I have hope in the America that I love. My two bouts with cancer taught me that you can never ever lose real hope. Hope is not fixed to one person or thing. It is a feeling that sustains you, that gets you out of bed in the morning even when your world is falling apart. Yes, I am now worried about my health care. Yes, I am now worried about my savings. Yes, I am now worried about the safety of my friends and family in the military and the possibility of a nuclear war. But I have hope in the institutions of our government, in our Constitution and our checks and balances, and in the thousands of vocal activists I know. The preamble to our Constitution guides me: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” I have hope that we will keep fighting, with our Constitution in hand, from the grassroots up to the grasstops so that love can triumph over hate.
Cancer also taught me that time is a precious and limited resource. So let’s enjoy as much as we can these next 9+ weeks as Obama finishes his historical term as our president. Celebrate the wins we achieved this election cycle, the seats that were flipped, our local candidates who won because of our work and the idea that a woman could be president. Maybe not this coming January, but one day. Maybe not this woman (which breaks my heart), but one woman. Hillary is human and still my hero.
And for each of you involved with the campaign, remember how it felt to be empowered and to be a part of something bigger than yourself when you knocked on doors and made calls for Hillary and down ballot candidates. Do not forget that feeling. We will need it in two years when we campaign to flip Congress and in two more when we fight for a Democratic president in 2020.
I will always be proud of the work I did with the California Veterans and Military Families for Hillary Clinton. Our work crossed party lines and the results from our efforts in Nevada, and our colleagues’ work in Virginia and Colorado, prove that we have a voice that makes a difference. Don’t let the election results from other states quiet your voice.
And if you need a dose of progressive compassion and action, the entire west coast of California + Nevada + Washington + Oregon + Hawaii is ready with open arms. We love you Canada, but we aren’t going anywhere. Our home is here.