Like many of you, I woke still reeling Wednesday morning... disappointment coursing my veins and a pit in my stomach as I pondered how I would explain Trump’s election to my kids.
After all, hate and bullying weren’t supposed to triumph over inclusion and compassion. Yet somehow a campaign built on fear-mongering and cleverly repeated nicknames managed to seep into the crevices, further cementing a divide that must have been greater than we ever imagined.
So what did I tell them? I said, as hard as it is to see right now, America has come a long way. Less than 100 years ago, women couldn’t vote, were generally expected to be homemakers and endured shame for not being married by a certain age. The thought of becoming president was science fiction, let alone running for office. Since its founding, this country has slowly evolved its definition of equality beyond the straight white male, but that plight has been far from easy... and more often painfully frustrating.
My tears Wednesday morning were far different from those I wept eight years ago as we elected our first African American president... and equally different from those I shed as I watched my LGBTQ friends and family finally gain the right to marry. Tears of joy—of progress—so completely unlike the defeat we’re feeling now. Those moments of elation represent hope at its finest, the hope that we’re heading in the right direction, that this human experiment isn’t merely in vain.
The truth is it’s a long, challenging path to real enlightenment. At times, you’ll face giant setbacks for every two steps forward. At times, it will feel as though the path is obscured altogether.
What’s most important is not letting go of hope for a better future. Find ways to inspire change positively (apathy is a huge part of the problem). And, PLEASE, don’t let disappointment lower us to those levels we’re fighting to change. Be good to each other no matter how bad it hurts. Let love and hope win, realizing it’s a long, long road ahead.