"The worst thing that can happen in a democracy-- as well as in an individual's lifetime-- is to become cynical about the future and lose hope." -Hillary R. Clinton
Yes, I'm in shock and, yes, I'm angry. Yes, I'm nervous and fearful. And, yes, I'm completely bewildered at how it actually happened. I woke up this morning unable to form sentences, unable to process the reality we are now all facing. I took my kids to school, I went to work, I went through the motions, and I cried at various times throughout the day when I needed the release. I was in mourning-- and still am.
All day, I felt like I was passing through the various stages of grief, just as one goes through after having lost a dear loved one. Except, I was morning the feared loss of social progress and what was put in its' place: the political equivalent of that weird, close-minded has-an-opinion-about-everything-yet-no-solution-to-speak-of uncle (through marriage, of course) who somehow manages to royally piss off every one in the family, even the cat who can only be bothered to lick his own ass. He's that awkward and inappropriate familial imposter who showed up a few years ago and refuses to leave, sometimes standing a little too close, and whose crude, repulsive, and disruptive behavior forces you to spend the majority of holiday dinners profusely apologizing to other guests for.
Anybody familiar with a guy like that?
Yeah, me neither.
I will also not place blame onto anyone, though it may make me feel better. I will not bash President-Elect Trump or Third Party voters. I will not be what I vehemently despise which is a sore and arrogant loser. I will not accuse Trump voters of being ignorant, bigoted, uneducated, or even arrogant assholes because, according to polling data, most of them aren't. What I will blame is the wall we have allowed to divide us from them, you from a person you have only made assumptions about, and the rising fear ignorance allows to breed and flourish.
Do I wish the outcome had been different? Fuck yes, I do. Of course, I do. Half of the country is completely heartbroken and I'm no exception. I also respect the system of democracy and not just when it serves me or plays out in my favor. I respect it always, even when I resent it. I will not say he is #NotMyPresident because the reality remains: he IS my President-elect.
When giving her concession speech this morning, the person I believed in and casted my vote for asked me to give President-Elect Trump a chance to lead this great and beautiful and opportunistic country and, in honor of her and her lifelong-devotion to the families of this country, I will try my hardest to honor her and do just that. I may spend every single day of the next four years questioning how on planet Earth we got here but I will give the man-- the man who the people of the country I claim to be a patriot of elected in a peaceful and free election-- a chance to do as he promised. During what I can only describe as an uncharacteristic and surprisingly gracious acceptance speech, he promised to the people, even the people who didn't support him or his platform, to be a president for ALL Americans and aid the reuniting of this fiercely divided country of citizens.
Because I stood with her, I will give him a chance to do his job.
Meanwhile, I will also be doing mine.
I have not been granted the privilege to wallow in defeat. I woke up the morning on November 9th, 2016 the same human I was when I went to bed the evening of November 8th, 2016. In spite of our country's newfound reality, my resolve as a mother will not be weakened, only strengthened. My determination will never waver, only become more steadfast. My conviction has always been, is, and will always remain unconditional.
My job is to raise decent humans and, goddammit, that's what I'm going to do.
An election doesn't have the power to determine the kind of mothers and fathers we are or the kind of people we raise unless we allow it to. However, the divisiveness cannot be ignored. The uncertainty and fear many of us are feeling is obvious and palpable and if we're as decent of a nation as we claim to be, we'll start learning from our mistakes and begin listening with humble ears. And we won't just listen to the people who speak as loudly as us, creating an even more deafening collective chorus of ignorance. We will shut our mouths, we will listen with an open mind, and we will attempt with every last damn fiber of our being to better understand what we need to in order to move forward and aid the healing of our wounded nation.
And we will give a damn about what the other side has to say.
We can not and should not pass off someone else' existence as not our problem because it absolutely IS OUR FUCKING PROBLEM. You want to live in a country where each vote counts? Well, I suggest you start giving a shit about the person next door to you regardless of his or her skin color, nationality, gender, sexuality, or religion. I suggest you start giving all the damns about your neighbor because human decency wasn't up for a vote. Being a good person isn't a bi-partisan obligation.
It's a fucking human obligation.
Human decency can only be fostered by opening the window of your mind to the possibility that we are all capable of learning something from someone if we'd only turn our inherent prejudices off for a single minute and give people a platform to use their equally-important voice. Human decency is only facilitated by igniting what can be a painful conversation for many while also not being afraid to face a reality that looks vastly different from your own. Human decency is only implemented by planting a seed of tolerance, kindness, empathy, and one giant dose of humility in the minds and hearts of our children and by encouraging them to stop pointing fingers and to start extending their hearts in an effort to mend these fragile and broken relationships.
The one thing that gives me comfort through all of this is knowing how I can help contribute in making this world less of the scary shit hole it often reeks of: by doing my job. It can only begin with the job I swore my allegiance to over four and a half years ago-- the single most influential role in the history of our planet.
I will contribute to society's betterment by being a mother who doesn't raise assholes.
Motherhood is the job I promised my babies I would do my best at, no matter what odds were stacked against me. (Which, by the way, seem to be increasing with every passing day.) The moral obligation of not being an asshole and not raising assholes isn't only owed to the tiny people of tomorrow; it's owed to the human race if any of us want to live long enough to see anymore of it. Though it is challenging, it is our duty and of utmost importance to remain human even in times that feel starkly void of any semblance of humanity.
This is only my opinion but raising our children to understand one another' differences versus drawing arbitrary lines in the sand that only further divide us from them seems like the most logical place to start. Instilling in them an unparalleled level of tolerance in a world whose current and most recent attempt to legitimize intolerance is gaining momentum would be a very close second.
We must also lead by example with giant doses of empathy, humility, and good will towards others thrown in for good measure. We must show our kids that, above all else, doing the right thing is always the right thing to do. We must exemplify and over-emphasize the importance of being a good person, even to those who may not deserve it. Our integrity and commitment to what is right and just must always speak volumes louder than incorrigible and pervasive ignorance.
Some may label me as naive and I'd like to tell those people that I refuse to allow the outcome of an election to dampen my devotion to the greater good. I will not lose hope in the belief that, one day, we will be able to find a way to unite over the same differences that are currently tearing us apart and ripping us to shreds.
Today, November, 9th, 2016, was a very difficult day to stomach for many. Collectively, we should not be disheartened. We simply can't afford it and, furthermore, doing so would be what I consider to be the real loss... to give up on one's own hope for a better tomorrow.
Instead, I will invoke positivity and demand the same from the humans I'm raising by choosing November 9th, 2016 to be remembered as the day I was given the unique opportunity to explain to my oldest daughter the one thing I've always, always, always believed to be true and the one thing I will never, ever lose faith in: when faced with a choice, no matter the consequence, always choose love.