There is a sick sinking feeling in my stomach today. I was hoping for relief on November 9, 2016, and I was hoping to start again on the trek to unity which we have strayed so far from this year. And now it is November 9, 2016 and Donald Trump is our President-elect. To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I am appalled. In the spirit of Brexit the American people have chosen to continue add to the legacies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama a demagogue who jokes about sexual assault, who would ban a religion from entering the US, and who champions nativism and xenophobia. My dear America, we have a lot of work to do.
It hurts, I know, to admit this, but we are not as progressive and accepting as we had thought. Yes, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (and barely at that), but 200,000 votes separated her from those who thought Trump would be a better option. There is no going around the fact that he is racist, xenophobic, sexist, and discriminatory. And yet almost half of the people who voted this election thought he was the best choice. We are far from our goal of achieving equality. It is a painful realization, and one we should have made quite a while back. We were barely ready to accept a black president. We are not yet ready for a woman.
I am a proud American, and therefore I think we should all strive toward a higher standard. We cannot settle here, assuaging ourselves with the empty idea that we’ve done enough for equality. It is not enough and perhaps won’t be in our lifetimes. So let’s not settle. As one of my friends says, we are still trying to reach the asymptote of y= we are all created equal. Perhaps we were farther away from that elusive point than we had expected. That is a slap in the face. Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, and every other person who has fought for social, economic, and political equality for all people, must all be shaking their heads now. But they would also say that we have to keep moving forward. We have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and charge ahead in honor of them and in honor of every person who struggles because they do not enjoy the privileges we can call rights.
We cannot do it alone, however. The biggest challenge that faces our country is the divisiveness that is so deeply entrenched. Please, I implore everyone, let’s try to put it aside. I understand that some hurts go deep, and that sometimes it feels impossible to work with the other side. But we will get nowhere like this. For me, personally, it is difficult to throw aside the lightness with which some have been treating Mr. Trump’s disrespect for women and minorities. It is hard to disregard my feeling that an undercurrent of this election was the refusal to have a female president. And since these beliefs are so personally dear to my heart (and to the hearts of many) I will not let them go. Nor do I expect anyone to do so for their own causes. But I do ask that we all try to listen to each other a little more. We may all learn invaluable things from listening more to others. Diversity, in every shape and form, is good and will do us all good. This is no time for hurling insults. This is the time to rise above.
In these next four years I will advocate strongly for causes I hold dear, and I hope and pray that after the nastiness of this election, everyone is a little more willing to work together. Do we want another election like this? No. We, the people of the United States have the honor and responsibility of ensuring that no other election is characterized by such anger, hatred, insults, and division.
Three simple words in the Constitution give me comfort. We, the people. Not we, the white people. Not we, the men. Not we, the minorities. Not we, the women. We, the people of the United States. This is who we are. The word American encompasses hispanics, blacks, whites, men, women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Native Americans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Mormons, pro-life, pro-choice, and so much more. We are the epitome of diversity. And in the spirit of moving forward, we must learn to embrace that wholeheartedly. It will be difficult. It may be painful. Progress might be slow. So let us start now.
The sinking feeling in my stomach might take some time to go away. But it will not replace hope. I have hope and belief in this country. We have a long history, and not all of it has been pretty. We have endured the Depression, the Civil War, two World Wars, Jim Crow laws, and slavery. We are now being tested again. But we shall overcome. And then we will go on in pursuit of that asymptote.