I walked outside on Wednesday after the election, fully knowing the outcome. It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm November day in Colorado. I looked up at that perfect sky and realized, “It has not fallen.” And while I was able to go about the rest of my day, there was a profound sense that something had shifted.
This was NOT the outcome I had been anticipating. I firmly believe that our country is going to suffer severe repercussions as a result of Trump as our leader. We will see it on a global scale, and we will see it on a very personal scale, some of us more than others. There are many Americans right now whose everyday existence is now at risk. That risk will not be as a result of outside threats, but internal. The lid is off of what was hiding the seamy underbelly of our culture. This is now part of what is. Not so much for me. I am a WhiteMale. I will not be discriminated against. But those whose skin is different, whose voice has a foreign sound, and unbelievably to me, whose gender is different will now move about in their everyday world more afraid.
I understand that sometimes we choose leaders because they advocate ideas that we support. I understand differences of opinion even to the point of embracing the idea that opposing viewpoints can both be right. What I have a problem with is seeing others as “less than” simply because they are different.
I had a conversation on the day before the election with a naturalized citizen from Guatemala. She left there to come to America, leaving behind the strife and violence in the streets to make a better life for her two daughters. While English is not her first language, she spoke to me with pride about how doesn’t just clean houses, but makes them a place of beauty for the people she works for. Although she cannot be deported, she will experience increased discrimination because of her accent, the color of her skin and the mere fact that she is a woman.
All of that because “our leader” has shown, by example, that that is not only OK, but encouraged.
The die is cast: Donald Trump is our president. I know, I know, there are those out there that will say, “not MY president.” But the reality is, yes, yes he is. That is part of “what is.” It is now out of our control.
We have to turn our attention to that which IS in our control. We have to each create, by our actions, an example that shows that this behavior, this attitude, this mindset is not OK.
If this administration goes against who you are, KNOW who you are and BE that, more than ever. Protect those that are more vulnerable: our brethren and sistren. For those of us with the mindset of taking care of each other, we need to do that now more than ever.
Those of you out there that are parents, teachers, coaches, influencers, it is time to rise up and prevail.
From Springsteen’s “Into the Fire,” written after 9/11,
“May your strength give us strength,
may your faith give us faith,
may your hope give us hope,
may your love give us love.
Eight years ago, we elected a black man as our president and I have never been prouder of my country. This time, we had an opportunity to elect a woman. We came close and that will set an example for others to follow. It will happen eventually. We are evolving, although sometimes it may not appear that way. We have our work cut out. In some places around the world, the sky IS falling and one of the responsibilities our leaders have is how much to get involved in that. These are hard decisions, with often dire consequences.
Hillary said at some point, “Our country is great because our country is good.” I have faith that our inherent good will rise above the hate, fear and distrust. I believe that goodness will prevail and it all starts with each one of us.