I never knew that a political election could leave me feeling bereft, as if someone precious to me had died. Over the past several days, the loss has washed over me many times, and I feel devastated each time. What died last Tuesday was hope. I, and many others, thought our country was on the cusp of something beautiful.
This wound is a deep and hard for me to talk about. Many people have already articulated this shared pain and disappointment. I won’t talk more about that.
Here’s what I want to talk about: how to stay positive and move on, how to learn from this, and how to fight harder for the great potential of this diverse country.
To that end, I’m making some commitments.
I commit to doing what I can to protect the vulnerable. I have never been more aware of my own privilege. My race, class, and sexual orientation shield me from the President-elect’s hateful and dangerous proposals. Now is the time for those of us buffered by privilege to lift up, listen to, and stand with our fellow citizens, especially immigrant, minority, gay, and transgender communities. I will make sure that “stronger together” is more than a campaign slogan in my life. Compassion and optimism did not end on November 8th. We need them now more than ever.
I commit to full participation in the democratic process. Hillary’s campaign for the White House was my first foray into activism and political volunteerism. Perhaps that’s part of why this defeat is such a crushing blow, because being involved made me more invested. We should all be so invested. Democracy only represents us when we speak up. I’ve always been a voter. I’ll do more to forward the causes that matter to me. More donations, more phone calls, more talking, more listening.
I commit to loving our world and the people in it. We live in the same enormous, fragile, amazing universe we did last Monday. We are the same bright souls we were last Tuesday morning. Let’s look up from our phones and look each other in the eyes. Let’s smile at each other. Let’s hold hands. Let’s make love and make art.
We thought this country was on the cusp of something beautiful. And we can still make it so.
Now we know that there are more hurdles on this path than we thought. The fight will be harder than we thought. But we continue.
Where we are broken, there are the opportunities to knit together and be stronger.
“My friends, let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary and lose heart, for there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.” – Hillary Clinton, November 9th 2016