The Celebratory Letter That Almost Was

I find that it is almost more appropriate now in the wake of crushing defeat.

Author’s Note: While I clearly had too much faith in the electorate, having pre-written this piece the morning of election night, I find that it is almost more appropriate now in the wake of crushing defeat. This now serves as my love letter to all that was lost in tonight’s election, as well as a commitment to effectuating the change that is even more needed than I originally thought. 

The day has finally come. We’re actually here. The culmination of the Presidential Election 2016. Or, as John Oliver would probably say if there were to be another segment prior to the polls closing: “The electoral equivalent of a dog eating his own feces, then vomiting it back up, then re-eating it in vomit form 2016.”

As anyone who has a Facebook account can attest, this election cycle has been a particularly tumultuous one, and at times I have actually felt a tinge of depression as I tried to navigate its rocky terrain. Because no matter how many times it’s explained to me, I will never understand the support for Donald Trump. I don’t care how much my taxes were set to be lowered, I could never vote to make more money if it were going to come at the expense of someone else’s human rights. After all, as I wrote in a post the other week, that’s what this all comes down to: humanity. And when something as significant as that is in play, interactions that demonstrate a shocking lack of respect for it can leave you feeling hopeless and dejected.

But that all ends today.

Today is the day that my faith in the American people is restored. The day where our votes confirm that we do want equal rights for the LGBT community. The day where we stand up against religious persecution. The day where we decide not to shut our doors to people escaping oppression, out of fear of facing a similar fate, but instead empathize with their position and take them in, as we’d want others to do unto us. The day where we say no to police practices that disproportionately deprive people of color of their right to be free from search and seizure.

Today is the day we take ownership of our progression toward full equality and reiterate our refusal to go backward, when so much can be gained by looking ahead.

Today is the day we celebrate each other in all of our various forms: gay, straight, aromantic. Christian, Jewish, Muslim. American, Mexican, Syrian. Black, white, orange.

Today is the day that we embrace our differences, knowing that a melting pot of diversity leads to the growth and development of a nation, not its demise.

Today is the day I finally let my guard down. Not because there isn’t a ton of work to do (oh how this election cycle has exposed how much work there is to do), but because I know that we’ll have a president working with us in our mission to unite, not against.

But tomorrow?

Tomorrow, we get to work.

Because never has it been more obvious what a dire need there is for further education. And never has that sobering fact been more evident than it was in the e-mails I received in the wake of my last post. There was the one from a 70-year-old, white, Christian woman who told me that gay people weren’t born that way, but had made a calculated choice to become homosexuals (in response to which I asked her to tell me about the day she woke up and decided to like men). There was the man who told me that conversion therapy “works” and that we had a moral obligation to shun anyone who encourages 38 week abortions (also known as birth). And then there was the person who admonished me for assuming racism on the part of Trump supporters…and then proceeded to ask me if I didn’t feel the need to preserve “white culture” in America and likened taking extra precautions around black people to taking extra precautions around dangerous animals in the wild.

So yeah, there’s work to be done.

And look, I get it. I too fear black people…who are lined up opposite my quarterback. But that doesn’t mean that I get to introduce legislation to ban them from every team not my own.

And therein lies the difference. For although I disagree with Trump supporters and the majority of the tenets upon which they rely, I do not seek to deprive them of the fundamental rights to which they are entitled. I do not think that they should be required to register in a database. I do not think that they should be subject to unreasonable search and seizure. And as much as it inspires in me an uncontrollable tic, I still think that they should be allowed to get married and (tic) procreate.

But there are people out here who genuinely believe that others should be denied the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness based on inalienable traits. And I cannot help but be reminded of a time when the proposition of equal rights for women and African Americans was met with similar resistance and disdain. Years from now, we will look back on this time and condemn these ideologies of hate and discrimination, just as we condemn today those unjust actions of days before. But that road to enlightenment won’t be traveled overnight, and it will require that all hands be on deck.

So today, take the time to celebrate being on the right side of history.

Because tomorrow, we begin the movement to educate those who were not.