On November 9, 2016 I woke up to find that the candidate I supported and felt would effectively fulfill the position of President for the next four years lost. I’m not mad or filled with hate. I can certainly appreciate opposite views and just because I felt passionate about one candidate doesn’t mean other voters views must align with mine (obviously). Isn’t that what living in this country is about? We have the freedom to form opinions and not be ridiculed for them. That is amazing!
I am, however, disappointed and sad. I am disappointed because after listening to months of the President-elect’s campaign, it feels that all strides made towards moving forward are now at risk of being pushed back. I am disappointed not just solely on his platform but how he has treated others. I don’t expect people to be perfect, mostly because I’m far from it, but I do expect people in the position of power, to show some grace, restraint, dignity, and kindness. I do not expect to see hostility and the promotion of violence, name calling and pointing out a persons disability, or unwelcome and inappropriate advances on anyone, but in this case specifically on women. I am sad because people around me, some I’m honored to call friends, could be affected if forward progress is stopped, or worse, thrown backward.
I would also like to address the President-elect’s campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.” First and foremost I want to be clear that I would love for America to be great and when thinking about what that means, my ideal definition is: a world where everyone, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual identity are all equal and discrimination against anyone or any group is non-existent. When thinking about this particular slogan, I really just get stuck on the word “again.” By definition, again means “for another time; one more time; to a previous position or place.” So where exactly are we going? Perhaps we should go back before 1920 when women didn’t have the right to vote. Perhaps we should go back to the early 40’s when anyone of Japanese ancestry was placed in an internment camp. I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to a time when is was commonplace to have separate bathrooms, checkout counters, train cars, water fountains based on a persons race. I, under no circumstances, want to go back to before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that the Defense Of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, which allowed some of my friends the opportunity to get married.
And no post would be complete without a personal story. Last night my husband and I were at our local pizza joint waiting for our to-go order. After catching a glimpse of our President-elect on television, we struck up a conversation with the lovely woman who took our order. It eventually came out that she voted for Donald Trump and out of curiosity, I asked why. She explained her views and her reasons and while I didn’t agree I also don’t know her daily struggle. I respect that she made a judgement call to vote for who she thought could make a change for her and even though politically we didn’t agree, we did have some views that aligned. Most importantly she and I agreed that the violent protesting will not solve anything. You can’t fight hate with hate. Ostracizing a neighbor, friend, relative, just on the sheer fact that their view does not align with yours is wrong. Instead, develop an environment with constructive conversations.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Acknowledge movements like black lives matter because even though you might not know someones specific struggle that doesn’t mean you can’t show them empathy. You can understand their feelings because you have struggled in something.
So what is my point in this post? I want to ask the President-elect to prove me wrong. Prove that we won’t move backwards; that we won’t take away a persons rights based on the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation. Show that there is more love than hate; that your past actions will not dictate how you lead this country. I don’t want to build a barrier around us and cut us off from the rest of world. I don’t think closing out others makes you a better person so I find it hard to believe it would make us a better country.
I want to ask you, as the reader, to continue to look forward. If, as President, Donald Trump can not provide to us what we need, than I urge everyone to take in these four years, think about what happened, and learn. We need to grow from every event, positive or negative, and choose the next President based on these experiences. Before November 8th, and even now, I firmly believed that Donald Trump was not the answer for the change we needed but this is what was decided and maybe in the end we will still get change. I know that no matter what, I intend to try again in four years.
America is not ruined forever.