A blank stare was all that could be seen across my face. I had been glued to my TV on Election Day watching the results. Now, as the night wore on, I realized my hopes were fading fast that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. At around 11PM, I turned off CNN and sat there in my dimly lit room. All I could hear was the crackling sounds of wood and flame coming from the fireplace. The room felt cold and empty. I felt alone in my home in North Carolina. I had poured my heart and soul into doing everything I could to get Secretary Clinton elected. I canvassed, knocked on doors, made phone calls and donated money to her campaign. I helped people register to vote and traveled to key areas in the country to get-out-the-vote. I was fired up along with countless others. Yet on November 8th, it all came to a crashing end. A great battle had been fought but a greater loss was at hand. Flabbergasted and feeling numb, I sat there thinking of what this meant for the future of our country. What would become of us now? How could this happen in America? How could this be our new reality? All I could think about were the negatives, the horrors, and the loss. I felt defeated and kept asking myself one thing; Who will save us now?
Days went by and I went "off the grid" in order to avoid hearing about the election results. Then, as if an angel from above, a friend reached out to me. In a long and beautiful message, he told me that he regarded me as his hero for all the work I had done for equality, civil rights, voting rights and the Clinton campaign. His words made me realize that being resentful, giving up and feeling vanquished would be a waste. Failure is not determined by how hard you fall, but how long it takes you to get back up. We might have lost the election, but we haven't lost our resolve. I'd been searching for a hero to save us, a hero who'd make everything better. Let me be clear though; there is no superman that will answer our calls for help. The mental S.O.S flares we shoot into the night sky will go unanswered. There is no ship coming to sail us safely home. Nobody is coming for us. Why? Because WE are the superman we've been waiting for. WE are the help we've been calling out for. WE are the ones that can ensure America continues to shine and be a beacon of hope.
Shutting down, giving up and holding a grudge is not the answer. We must forge ahead with hope, love, and determination. We must continue the good fight and know that whatever may come, we will face it together. No matter the outcome, remember this:
We don't know what the future holds but a divided nation cannot stand strong for long. Trump's vast array of supporters are not the enemy. They are human beings with hopes, dreams, and needs. They are contributing members of society and their votes must be respected. Instead of lashing out with words of anger and hate, let us learn to reach out with love. Hating another person for a different opinion and refusing to listen to them is a dangerous slope that will do nothing but further divide us.
My entire family voted for President-Elect Trump: My mother, father, six sisters and younger brother - all of them. Do I hate them or think any less of them? Of course not. I love them and will always cherish them. I respect their decision to vote for Trump. We should all try loving more, listening more and finding the goodness in each of us more. Let us work together to find common ground because in the end, love - not hate, will always win.