Donald Trump is the President elect. I watched it unfold. It felt unreal. It felt like watching the second plan crash into the towers on live television. It felt like an attack on what I thought to be true. It did not bring me joy. But these are feelings… and you as an individual either felt them too or felt something different. That’s okay. That’s true to you.
So here is the thing: The election did not go the way I had envisioned. I had hoped we would have our first woman president. But it was an election… popular vote or not… we have to concede. That is the process. That’s what we knew going into the polls. We would have wanted the same if the ballets had swung us the other way.
I had hoped to keep Donald Trump out of the office as I don’t agree with his plan for America. I don’t want to build a wall. I don’t want to 100% repeal Obama’s health plan. I don’t want to overturn Roe vs. Wade. I believe in climate change and environmental crisis. I want my friends who love the same sex to be able to have the same rights and benefits as someone who is heterosexual. He is not someone who represents my political views.
My inkling, the rub, is that if I took every complain and concern about Hillary Clinton as a person and her moral standing from this election and applied it to a man: I think that man would have won the election. As a woman, she was held to higher standards than we held Donald Trump to. We are still marching the road to equality. But, we are getting closer. There are places woman are shattering glass ceilings. And there are places our sisters are still struggling. For all it means in the terms of women rights, I will forever love the hashtags #nastywoman and #iamwithher.
That said, if you are still with me, here is the thing: A lot of us are grieving. That’s what this is. We are grieving the four years of an administration we had hoped for. We need a minute to let that what-might-have-been go. Had the election gone the other way, the other side would need the same. Please, please be empathetic to your friends, family, and loved ones who are genuinely sad and afraid for what a Trump Presidency threatens to take away in their lives.
This election is amazing. Through social media and our keyboards… we are looking at each other and feeling shock to find where we differ. People we have known our whole lives seem like strangers. It is kind of an ugly, gut-wrenching process. And honestly, that is more about our personal, internal expectations of others. I posted a moderate amount about the election, but, then again, I’m a total over-sharer as it is. That’s my personal choice and I live with the consequences of that. I got de-friended on Facebook because of this election. I hear this was a thing that happened a lot.
There is a difference between Facebook and real life. I don’t have to look at you eye-to-eye. I don’t have to hear your voice or see pain flash against your face. There is no heat of shame to flush my cheeks.There is nothing for you to bear witness too. It does provide a forum for intellectual debate and sharing of information. You do not hear my stutter as a fumble for the right words. I can not delete and edit. There is a place for social media, but it is NOT real, actual life.My political conversations at play dates and birthday parties are filled with interruptions. Shared smiles, human touches, and the option to hug-it-out at the end.
We are divided right now in this focused lens of an election. I think that is okay. It is like peeling away layers of expectations and being real. There is an authenticity happening. But here is the thing: We have more in common than different. We are ALL scared for our families– of being blown up, of not earning a living wage, of not being able to provide basics, being unfairly discriminated against. Whatever is being done does not seem to be working. And so, while not a majority of us who voted, electorally we asked for something different: a Donald Trump Presidency. Sometimes, we seem far apart, but honestly, there is common ground to build upon. We are not looking at each other as whole people. We are using a narrow lens.
And so, you can de-friend me on the Book, but I would never deny you in real life. Sometimes, if you see me out in the real world, and I seem sheepish– it more than likely is because I am worried about the fact I haven’t showered for two days, haven’t slept more than a consecutive four hours, and most likely have spit up on me. It could be because I am some bone-weary from this wonder of motherhood at the moment and talking seems like work. Or because I am so desperate to speak to another adult that I am unsure what will spill out because I feel like a hot mess. So, while we may debate on social media, here is the thing: I do not throw away a person. Especially one who has seen me at my saddest, smallest and still loved me then. Especially when you have smiled at my children and held their hands. When we have broken bread together and shared a meal. We feel differently about what American needs. Hell, what America means. Differences are uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is awkward and frightful. But, shit, life is awkward and frightful. We will get through it. Time passes and seasons change.
I thought part of American history was a pride and commitment to equal rights. This climb has been for one group of us as a time until it included more of us than land-owning white males. And while it is obvious we are still struggling with how to rectify equal legal rights with being comfortable together as people– I thought we were all in agreement that we are not allowed to hold you down in life because you’re skin is a different pigment, you are disabled, you don’t actually have a penis, you were not born here, or you are attracted to someone with the same naughty bits you have. Because we are all HUMAN.
So, yesterday, I cried and grieved. I commiserated with those of like feelings. Today, less than 24 hours, I feel something else. I feel hopeful. I feel love. I feel like this is what we needed. That for the first time in a long time, we are having real conversations with each other. Real is a foundation to build something on. It is a beginning. Beginnings are hard.
All the times we sat and asked, “What do we do?” while we watch the news is finally getting addressed. We are discussing what we don’t want to do at the very least. We are getting to work. We are engaged.
So this is what I say, I will break bread with you whether you voted for Donald Trump or not. I will break bread with you whether you are a lesbian, gay, Black, Hispanic, autistic, tattooed, smoke pot, christian or not. It does not mean I shared your views or religion or sexual preference. It does mean I see more alike than different. That I won’t ever know my true feelings if I don’t listen to your perspective. It means we sat in the same cafeteria in high school and did homework together. We are both parents on this crazy ride of having our hearts walking outside our chests. I don’t consider myself more or less than you. We both care about America. Our families. Our bank accounts. Our futures. So much that we are shocked at how far apart we are in the methodology.
I refuse to have sour grapes– we have term limits and checks/balances and mid-term elections. Things so no one group has to endure indefinitely.There will be more elections and another woman will run. There will be policies proposed and– because all politicians fundamentally are representatives– we can voice strongly how we want to them to vote, address, and resolve these things. All of us grieving and all of us celebrating– we are awake. We are all hoping for a safer, sounder future as Americans.
So here is what I charge us with:
- If you must protest because your soul is filled with unrest, then do so. But without destruction. Civil disobedience is done with willingness to accept consequences and it should be done with the mantra “When they go low, we go high.”
- We will never move on if we fail to understand each other. We all have something to say. Acknowledge this. Listening is powerful in a time like this.
- Promise to stay awake. Spread content, concern, policy changes with sources. Lets not let apathy take hold or indecision. Let’s not lose our heads because we are afraid. Violence is not the answer. Hurting those charged to keep us safe is not the answer. Shutting freeways hurts us all. You are entitled to share your pain and disapproval… you are not entitled to damage, endanger, or incite others. We have years of successful, beautiful people who stood in the forefront and demanded change successfully. Let’s take a page out of their book.
- Kindness and love. When you don’t know what to do… this is the path. This is the PATH. This is how we stay whole and human. Even if leadership does seem to echo this… we can as small communities, families, and individuals. One right thing. One thing at a time.
I am going to get my daughters to school now. I am going to watch the news. And I am going to keep working on this question of “What do we do?” If you see me at the grocery store, or out to eat, or at school pick up– I know we all have our challenges. But we all are showing up for our small circles the best way we can. I will keep showing up. I will not let my friends despair alone. I will stand up with them if this presidency threatens things we believe in. My house, while messy and looking like a complete disaster that I am embarrassed, is open. I have coffee and wine and tea. I have chocolate. Halloween just happened. I will break bread with you. I will sit with you. I will see you as a whole person. We are in this together.