Moving Forward

I know writing about politics isn’t my forte. I realize that a lot of the things I’ll say here have been said already. But after two days of thinking, talking to myself (as any self-respecting writer would), and watching people react to the election results, I thought I’d go mad if I didn’t say anything.

Now please keep in mind, what I’m about to say is based on what I believe. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If we agree, we have something in common. If we don’t, we can both get over it. With that said, here are my thoughts.

Like nearly all of Clinton’s supporters, I was disappointed when I found out the results. Even though I wasn’t her biggest fan, I believed she was our best chance of saying no to a lot of the things Trump advertised in his campaign. For me, the Clinton vs. Trump campaign was never just about Democrats vs. Republicans. The election as a whole certainly started that way, but as time wore on it became much more personal than that for everyone involved. By voting for Clinton, I voted to say yes to feminism, yes to racial diversity, yes to immigration, yes to equality, yes to civil rights, and yes to unconditional love. Again, if you disagree with this decision or the way I viewed my vote, that’s your right.

When Wednesday morning came, the weight of the whole thing didn’t hit me until after I got to work. What does this mean for the future of my friends and family? What does this mean for the school I love that thrives on celebrating diversity and culture? What does this mean for my friends, former classmates, and co-workers who are Latino, African-American, Asian, LGBTQ, or disabled? What does this mean for the people who moved here from different countries that decided they liked America enough to stay? What does this mean for my friends who were harassed and/or raped? What does this mean for our future generations?

As the day unfolded and our sadness turned to anger, it seemed like everything went from bad to worse. Say what you will about the reactions from both sides of the argument, but frankly I found neither of them hopeful or encouraging. While some Clinton supporters burned American flags and swore to leave, some Trump supporters ripped a hijab away from a Muslim woman without warning or consent and put a sign on a gay couple’s car reading “I look forward to seeing your marriage dissolve, #Godbless.” And at the time I’m writing this, it’s only the end of Day 2.

I won’t lie, I’m still tired. I’m still sad. I’m still angry. I’m still disappointed. But as an American citizen who wants to see a better world for everyone, giving up is a luxury we can’t afford. Obama, Clinton, Sanders, and other government officials have all promised to keep working to make America a better country than the one we woke up to just a few days ago. And even if they won’t, we still can. It starts with us as individuals and groups promising to do our part to make the world a safer place to live in.

With this last thought in mind, I leave you with these things I hope to live by from this point on.

I will control my anger before speaking up. I will harness my sadness and turn it into empathy. I will listen to what you have to say, even if you disagree with me. I will get the facts before I make any judgments. I will admit when I’m wrong. I will define good comedy as a means for spreading joy, not hate. I will offer hugs to anyone who needs one. I will put aside my cowardice to stand with people who need justice. I will try to set an example for my nephew, as well as any children I may have in the future. I will educate myself and stay up-to-date with news around the world. I will show kindness to people of all faiths, genders, and cultural backgrounds in any way I can. I will draw attention to both evil and good so that we may know the difference.

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