My 19-year old daughter posted on Facebook last evening a reflection that struck me with its clarity of thought, honesty, and charity . . . more charitable, if I’m honest, than I feel like being right now (although I’m working on it). But sometimes children set the example for their parents. I asked her if I could share her post on my blog, and she said “Yes.” So here it is, unedited by her proud dad . . .
*deep breath* Okay. Hi friends. I haven’t really posted any of my own thoughts on the election besides videos and posts that I’ve shared, so here goes…
I’m going to start off by saying that to anyone reading this who voted for Trump…it’s okay. I still love and respect you, and an election is not going to change that. I am not going to sit here and call you a racist, or a sexist, or homophobic, or Islamophobic. I’m not going to classify you as a deplorable. And I’m also not going to threaten to unfriend you. I refuse to do any of these things because for one, these actions, to me, would be giving in to the very hatred and divisiveness that I was so against and afraid of happening with this election in the first place; and two, because I simply know that this isn’t true about so many of you. A lot of you happen to be some of my closest friends, who I know very well to be some of the most caring, loving, and accepting people I know. I refuse to let any of that go because of our political choice. Sure, I disagree with you, but first and foremost, I will not stop loving and respecting you as a person.
And here’s the thing, guys. (Yes, I’m talking to everyone now.) Donald J. Trump has been elected to be the 45th president of the United States. Donald J. Trump IS, as much as it pains me to say it, going to be our 45th president of the United States. And I know, I hate it. The man who, as a kid, I just thought of as “the big, mean man who fires people on TV,” is now going to rule our country. And you know what else? I’m absolutely terrified. So many people in our country right now are terrified, and with very good reason. The LGBTQIA community is terrified that their basic human rights are at stake. Our vice president-elect believes in shock therapy, for gods sake. I have several friends who are terrified of being separated from their families, due to our president-elect’s stance on immigration. I have black friends who are terrified of leaving their homes because of the fear and hatred that this election has instilled in people. Muslim women are afraid to wear their hijab in public. Parents are terrified of what it is they’re supposed to tell their children. They’re terrified of sending them to school, where bullying and racism has spiked. Me, I’m terrified of what happens when Obamacare is done away with completely. I’m terrified, what with my “pre-existing condition,” of the prospect of not being able to receive health insurance, and knowing full well that I won’t be able to afford the $30,000 treatments that I need to receive every six weeks, not even including any of my other medications. Our country is absolutely terrified.
But again, like it or not, Donald J. Trump is going to be president. Unless by some miracle the electoral college votes otherwise, it’s going to happen. And I think that, for right now, what our country truly needs is unity. I’ve seen so much hatred and fighting being spread in these past fifteen months due to this election. I’ve watched close friends become enemies, and people from both parties say some really nasty, hurtful things. But the election is over now. The votes have been cast, and the winner has been decided. Like it or not, we need to begin the path to acceptance. I think Hilary Clinton said it well in her concession speech on Wednesday:
“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it … I count my blessings every single day that I am an American. And I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”
I’m holding on to the belief that the majority of people who voted for Trump are not the hateful, racist, bigoted people that have been described in the media. In fact, I think a lot of the people who voted for him would be just as scared as we are right now if Hilary was elected. (Mind you, I am not making any kind of statement on whether that fear would be justified or not.) I think that our country is snowballing so quickly into hatred on both sides, and I think that we all owe it to ourselves to take a deep breath. Nothing is going to be fixed if we stay divided. Donald Trump is not going to succeed if we don’t show him any ounce of respect or support. I believe it is time right now to come together and begin loving our neighbors, no matter what side we were on in the election. As President Obama said after meeting with our new president-elect, “I believe that it is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face.” And to Trump he went on to say, “Most of all, I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed — because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”
I am not saying that we need to stop speaking up and fighting for what is right. I am not saying that it’s time to give up. I am saying that it is time to accept what cannot be undone, and to work with what we have, and that is each other. The fight is not over, but the hatred needs to end. We need to love our neighbors, and work together to achieve a better America.
I respect Donald Trump and his supporters, and I pray that he makes good decisions, and that he really will, as he claims he will do, work for the American people. (And by the American people, I mean everyone, no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or otherwise.)
And if anyone needs someone to talk to, or someone who will just listen, I am here for you. I’m scared too, and I love you, and I support you.