I went to bed last night before the election was called but after we all knew what was going to happen. I woke up this morning to pouring rain outside and a heavy heart inside. I’m still a bit dismayed, partly because the candidate I chose didn’t win, but mostly because the very people—you, my friends—who just yesterday voted for love and togetherness are today now spouting hate and fear.
I get it. You’re stunned. You’re sad. You’re disappointed. Nobody saw this coming. Nobody wanted to see this coming. But it is what it is. You might not like it, you might not agree with it, but you need to respect it. Because this process, our electoral process—imperfect as it may be—is the same process that elected Obama into the Oval Office eight years ago, and again four years ago. Yes, Donald J. Trump is our President-Elect. Orange is the New Black.
So I’m here now to tell you this: you get one day. One day to wallow and whine and cry and drink your sorrows away. But tomorrow, wake up and be a better person. Stop complaining about the problem and make yourself part of the solution. Change starts from the bottom-up, from the inside-out. So if you truly want change, shut your mouth and get to work. Allow me to digress to yesterday’s post, to quote my Granny: “Well, what are you going to do about it?”
Because what the world needs now, regardless of election results, is love. Celebrate what you see as victorious votes close to home, like three women of color being elected to Senate, or Oregon voting Yes on 98, or Florida voting “No” on the misleading solar bill. Go for a walk. Buy a book of stamps and send handwritten letters to your friends and relatives telling them how much you love them. Look people in the eye. Call your barista by his or her name. Strike up a genuine conversation with the cashier at your grocery store. Be curious. Watch TED talks. Read books. Audit a college course. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, a little longer. Adopt a kitten. Hell, adopt two. Do whatever it is you have to do to make your corner of the world a better place. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who our President is. It matters who WE are. Who I am, and who you are. Because ‘We the People,’ we form the fabric of this nation.
And speaking of ‘We the People’—the people who voted for Trump—they’re not all racists, or bigots, or misogynists. They are humans, just like you and me. They are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers. They voted—just as many of you did eight years ago—for change. I know a woman who, for 40 years, voted blue down the line. Yesterday, though, something in Trump’s message spurred her to vote red. And as a human, you must respect those votes, even if for the life of you, you can’t understand them. Look around you. If you live in Washington, 38% of people voted for him. In California, 33%. And if you’re an Oregonian, you take the west coast cake with 41% of people voting for Trump.
So, no, “Cascadia” is not seceding. And although I applaud that we were able to crash Canada’s immigration site, and despite their sweet dance moves, you are not moving to Canada. This is still your country. These are still your people. Hillary Clinton still made history. We still shattered a glass ceiling.
Make good choices. Be a good human. Watch Love Actually, and remind yourself that love actually is all around. Think about what could go right. Oh, and one more thing. Keep an open mind. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 26 years, it’s this: people have an impeccable capacity to surprise.