Get Up and Get Through

Don’t move to Canada. Don’t run.

The truth is there isn’t anywhere to go. If America can’t fix itself,there is little hope for the rest of the world. The white backlash and nationalist forces that powered Trump’s campaign exist in other countries. Those interested in opposing these trends might as well make their stand at home. If you believed this country was worth fighting for on November 8, it is still worth fighting for today, and every day to follow.

The hardest thing about this result is accepting that a campaign so divisive and full of hatred was successful. It challenges what I believe about my country and the people who live in it. It hurts and it will take a while to heal from that shock.

I have the luxury of looking at this from a distance. It will be much harder for people who feel the hatred directly. Step one is helping them. There are things you can do that are not political. It may be just standing up for a friend who is bullied or listening to someone who is hurt. There are ways to project power outside of politics –  in everyday interactions, in simple kindness –  that can stem some of the worst of this.  Our society and culture shape our politics and we do not have to wait four years to change them.  If people continue to celebrate differences and diversity, it will make hatred a less effective tool. For the moment, we no longer have control of who is in power. However, we still have a right to a voice in the political discourse and it should be exercised with vigor.

If you are upset, you are not alone. Hell, you are actually in the majority. Clinton will win the popular vote but Trump handily won the Electoral College. That is the system we have and he won. He will be your President, like it or not. That said, it’s worth remembering that less people voted for Donald Trump than voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. Democrats did not show up in the states where it mattered most and that cost the election. It is a terrible and frustrating result but it also means there is a way out of this in the future, however hard it may be to see right now.

Whatever Trump makes of the country, he will indisputably own the consequences. Due to the Republican control of all three branches of the government, we will live in a laboratory testing conservative policies. Experiments are rarely fun for their subjects. I think the conservative experiments will fail and people will get hurt. If that happens, there will be only one political party to blame for the pain.

Democrats need to be a responsible, honest opposition party. They need to press for alternates and critique what the majority does wrong. I suspect there will be ample evidence to argue for a different course in two and four years. Democrats have to be prepared to offer inspiring alternatives at those times. In the interim, my advice is to do what you can to mitigate the harm for others, get involved in state and local politics, be kind, help each other get through this, and be ready to fight for a change when the time comes.

Hate thrives on the death of hope. You still have power. You still have a voice. Use them.

Photo credit: MrsLaura0702 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48192926

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