We’ve known who Donald Trump was all along. We became numb to the shock of the terrible things he says because he has never changed.
My disappointment in these election results resides less in the fact that he won, and more in the fact that we voted for him.
The majority of us chose with the very worst of ourselves—hatred, bigotry, misogyny, religious discrimination—all because we fear that equality takes something away from us. Whether Trump supporters voted directly for these reasons, or accepted these along with whatever other reason they might have voted for him, the worst part is that those who did now feel even more vindicated than ever—free to spew threats and hateful language with the encouragement of the president-elect.
Especially as the campaign season drew to an end, I began to realize that the importance of the candidates themselves had dulled in comparison to what they represented to the people voting for them. They became mere mascots in a war of ideologies, which has torn our country in half.
I do take solace in the fact that this race was so close. It means that it only takes a small fraction of current Trump supporters to change their minds and hearts in order to shift us from a split nation to a majority seeking to rise above this fear state.
The hardest part I am dealing with right now is having my eyes opened to the immense presence of spiteful prejudice still present in our land. It’s not that I didn’t know it was there, but I was naïve to its ubiquity. As a straight white woman I take for granted daily privileges I am given without even realizing it. Many people like me are finally coming around to recognizing that, and my hope is that we use it to the advantage of as many others as possible in these days ahead.
When our gay friends and family wonder if their marriages will stay legal; when our Latino friends and family wonder if they will be harassed whether born here or not, and if their immigrant friends and family members will be deported; when our black and Jewish (just to name a couple targets) friends and family fear the physical and verbal attacks of a more public KKK; when our Muslim friends and family fear they will be rounded up and persecuted—we must stand up with them and for them.
It is up to all of us in our beautiful, multi-faceted diversity to harbor peace and love. Fear got us here, and only love will move us forward. We must continue to nourish ourselves and teach our children kindness, empathy, and inclusion.
I truly hope that through this pain comes the growth we need as a country to be strong again and move on from this place of weakness.
Maybe we need the severity of this moment to find our strength to stand tall. We would be wise to take a lesson from indigenous people all over the world demonstrating their support for the Sioux at Standing Rock, who are invoking the power of peaceful prayer, unity, and love—love for each other, love for the earth, and love for all of us who support them from afar. As they protect their most precious asset of clean water—the essence of life—so must we protect our most precious asset of brotherhood—the essence of a nation indivisible.
As dark as it is right now, remember that it is only half of the country who voted for Donald Trump. Yesterday thousands of people traveled to Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite and decorated her tombstone with hundreds of “I voted” stickers. Imagine what it must have been like in her day, facing much heavier adversity, and still she and all the Suffragettes of every color triumphed. Imagine what it’s like for our elderly population of modern progressives who survived war and The Great Depression and voted Roosevelt in. They have lived 90 years or more with much more than half the population against them, but they have steadily built upon each victory with a greater and greater one through the election of Barack Obama for president and the achievement of Hillary Clinton even being able to run. Let’s honor them in continued forward movement, sharing their stories with the younger generations and channeling their courage.
It gets better from here!