What Do We Do Now?

Demonstrators from the San Fernando Valley area gathered to protest President-elect Donald Trump in Los Angeles, California o
Demonstrators from the San Fernando Valley area gathered to protest President-elect Donald Trump in Los Angeles, California on November 19, 2016. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

My first outfit on election night was a white jacket, in honor of the white clad suffragists who marched to give women the right to vote. The morning after the election, I wore black. Like much of the country, I am still in mourning. For over a year, I had one picture emblazoned on my mind; I saw Hillary raising her right hand to take the oath of office with her other hand placed on the bible.

That picture was deleted in an instant. We suffered from whiplash. We cannot give up. I remember Susan B. Anthony who said, "Failure is Impossible."

But my anxiety is larger than our inability to crack that reinforced glass ceiling. I worry about the future of our country. If the president-elect follows through on his campaign promises, we will be endangered by climate change, millions may lose their health insurance, and other millions will face deportations. The list is long and uncertain.

What can we do?

For solace, I repeat the words in Hillary's concession speech. "This loss hurts, but pleases never stops believing that fighting for what's right is worth it."

We can mourn together, but we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by grief. President Obama gave us an elegant example of noble behavior when he welcomed Donald and Melania into the White House, two days after the election. His love of country enabled him to reach for Trump's hand.

Yes, the country is deeply divided; the popular vote in Hillary's favor reveals a deep chasm. And yes, one party now controls both the executive and legislative branches, and will soon dominate the Supreme Court. There are no checks and balances. In a parliamentary system Democrats could become the "loyal opposition." We have no such system in our democracy.

But we must, become a virtual loyal opposition by having our voices heard in a peaceful and constructive manner. President-elect Trump said he wants to be president for all Americans. Let us give him that opportunity. We cannot give up. We must continue to debate the most fractious issues of our time. Pushing from the outside is different than being on the inside of the power structure. It won't be easy, but I believe that organized democratic opposition will have an impact on a Trump administration. Silence will be our enemy. Exercising the power of the people, will be our friend.