Our Home: Thoughts on the 2016 Election

 
 

My vote for Hillary Clinton wasn't done with overwhelming fervor, but given the circumstances it became a very easy choice for me to make. Watching the returns tonight was weird. I mean no disrespect to your respective votes, but it's genuinely confounding to me that in this day-and-age so many people can stand for a man who has objectified women with his words and actions, who picked a running mate that mocks and questions the heart of every gay American, who has made racist comments, openly encouraged violence, threatened religious freedoms, and who doesn't have an ounce of experience. I am genuinely struggling to understand how this man could be so widely supported. It doesn't make logical or emotional sense and my perplexed state leads me to one conclusion: our country is so immensely divided right now. We're having an identity crisis and to be frank, I hate the reality that we chose this man to lead us through it. But...

He will now. Donald Trump will be the next American president. My fear of his temperament or disdain for his character won't change that and regardless of its leader this is my home. A home I’ll love forever. A home I still believe is an amazing place. A home I still believe embraces freedom, cultivates dreamers, and welcomes conversation. A home I still believe to be a city on a hill. 

No matter how divided we feel tonight, there's a perseverance in the fabric of Americans that can overcome division of every size. I hope we don't forget that about one another in the coming days. I hope we remember our history and all we've overcome. I hope tonight's victors forget how to gloat. I hope tonight's losers never learned how to pout. I hope we give one another the same grace and respect we'd give our brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons. 

Americans were reminded this election season that we don't see eye-to-eye. News flash; Americans never have. Unfortunately we may have reached our greatest point of division in modern history. Oddly enough though, I firmly believe this moment of intense division comes coupled with an amazing opportunity for us all. For democrats, for republicans, for independents, and for Americans.

We’re a weird, diverse, complex pot of people, but that's what makes us, well... great. At least the Americans I know. At least my friends and family. Their differences certainly make them great to me. These friends I'm talking about, these fellow Americans I've described as great, are Latinos who certainly are not rapists and republicans who definitely are not racists. They're conservatives who embrace science and liberals who pray like priests. They're cops who hate violence and democrats who collect guns. They're Americans whose differences surprise me and whose transparency has sparked conversations that have softened my heart, broadened my views, and formed my identity. And that's my hope for our country tonight. That’s my hope for our future. That's the opportunity I hope we seize. I hope this time of immense contrasts starts genuine conversations that help America rediscover her identity. That in this moment where half of us are dejected and half of us are elated we avoid stumbling back to our corners to gear up for another round, but instead remove our gloves, smile at one another, and shake hands in the middle of the ring. I hope during this moment we stop yelling, start listening, and hold the kind of conversations that have shaped our nation and will continue to moving forward. Because that's the kind of toughness and courage that makes up Americans. That’s the seed of resilience that bonds us so uniquely. That's where we'll find our identity.

I'm not telling my liberal friends they shouldn't feel sad, worried, or concerned about Trump and I'm definitely not telling them to bow at his feet. No. No way in hell. Don't give up. Continue to protect the weak and marginalized. Defend refugees, homosexuals, minorities, and women—after speaking to friends tonight I've heard firsthand how wounded and afraid those people are this evening. They’re in a time of genuine fear and uncertainty and need support more than ever. Stay sharp, stay passionate, and stay informed, because in a republican controlled congress and soon-to-be republican executive branch, the voices of dissent are more important than ever. What I am asking of you though, what I’m hoping of everyone (not just my liberal friends), is that we don’t forget that this is still our home. All of us. What I am asking is to not allow our anger, confusion, and sadness to strip us of this chance we have to come together and form ourselves in the flames. Please don't forget that there's wisdom, value, and bright futures in your American friends who voted differently than you tonight and don't forget that they love this place just as much as you do.

Let’s put each other first. Let’s consider the plight, circumstance, and well being of nations other than our own. Let’s engage the future with optimism. Let’s learn from one another through open dialog. Let’s keep each other in check. Let’s refuse to beat our chests. Let’s feel at home in our home.

Let's rediscover our identity.