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Election 2016: How I will move on

Posted 11.09.2016, by kristin
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I woke up this morning with a lump in my stomach after a fitful sleep last night.  Reality set in quickly as soon as I picked up my phone and a screaming headline declared “Trump Wins!” 

As I groaned in dismay, a cacophonous chorus of anxious voices grew in my head. 

How could this be?

What will become of our country?

Will we be safe?

What will become of us?

What went wrong?

As I read the headlines, small icicles of clarity sent chills up my spine.  I realized that for the past 12 months I have been so busy having emotional discussions with my like-minded friends that I neglected to notice the large portion of the U.S. population that felt left out.  That this election, among many other things, had become a referendum for rebellion against “the establishment” and a battle cry for those who felt pushed to the margin. 

This morning we woke our kids up one at a time. Tousle-haired and sleepy-eyed, I sat next to each one of them on our weathered couch and explained the results of the election.  I repeated the principles I read in a Huffington Post article by Ari Michael as the sun breached the horizon:  You are safe and I will protect you.  Now it is of utmost importance that we lead by example.  You must love those who don’t look like you.  It’s imperative to reach out to your classmates whose parents immigrated to America in hopes of a better future.  Refuse the word “disabled” and remember that all of us are “differently abled.”  Reject silence and don’t be afraid to speak up when you see injustice, judgment, or discrimination. 

For my boys, aged 10 and 12: Remember that women are capable of everything a man can do, and more.  Never label a woman (or a human) by their body parts.  The size of our stomachs, chests, bottoms, and smiles have nothing to do with the acuteness of our intellect or the motivation of our heart.

To my daughter, aged 7 and full of innocence and hope: Being a woman is an asset, not a weakness.  I believe that her two X chromosomes have given her a double-dose of empathy, caring, and compassion that some men work a lifetime to achieve.  Although Secretary Clinton did not win this election, she shattered glass ceilings by not only running for president, but also by being a role model as an intelligent, motivated, and empowered woman who sparred with the most intimidating leaders. 

This morning, I have also resolved to do what I can. I will buy an organic composting bin to reduce our waste make every effort to reuse and recycle.  I will donate to the World Wildlife Fund and Planned Parenthood to protect a woman’s right to chose and an animal’s right to a natural habitat.

I will teach my children to love and respect others no matter their race, ethnicity, ancestors, or abilities.  I will also implore my children, family, and friends to seek to understand others who think differently from them.  If I can help foster empathy and understanding for those who feel “left behind” or “marginalized,” perhaps there won’t be so many angry voters in future elections who feel they need to side with an Outsider because they are one too.

And instead of condemning the voters who don’t think like me and didn’t vote like me, I will seek to understand why they feel the way we do and how we can find common ground.

Because, after all, this is America.  We are a democracy and the populace has spoken.  Instead of cowering in fear, we can accept this morning as a new beginning and find a way to move on.  The sun will still rise, the sky is still blue, and our children are still not jaded, marginalized, or afraid.  We can take this challenge like we have weathered so many before.  Like Paul Revere, I will grab hold of the reigns and ride forward into the darkness, knowing that courage and hope in the night can bring victory and light.



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