That was emblazoned in a pretty chalk pattern on the back of my front door when I awoke this morning.
I stood, staring, then decided my husband was playing a joke. It had to be a joke. Right?
I opened newspaper websites to find out.
We, as a nation, didn’t really do that to ourselves.
Funny how I was wishing for my own mother to talk to, to tell me the truth, when my son came down the stairs to see the message, and called out to me to learn the truth.
And I remembered. It’s up to me now.
“It’s true, bud. Trump won.”
He looked at the door again, then back at me. “But Hillary…”
Now what, indeed.
Now my news feeds are full of as much anger and despair as they were the day before, only a different flavor.
Many Trump supporters are gloating, gleefully posting images of Clinton in prison stripes, and mockups of the great wall. They begin their triumph under a negative onslaught.
Clinton supports are railing that she won the popular vote, that they will not support Trump as their president, and crashed the Canadian immigration website.
I am personally horrified by the outcome of this election.
But I understand it. Trump was just made President-elect for the same reason that Bernie Sanders had unprecedented support.
We’re sick of it. The status quo is killing us. So we voted to change it. And regardless of which ballot box you ticked, you are part of that we, just as I am.
Now? We go on.
To those of you who voted for Trump—It is time to prove yourselves. Show a little grace. Don’t gloat. Prove to us that we were wrong by being good, by championing the just causes, and by embracing all Americans, not just the ones that look and act like you.
To those of you who didn’t—well, I’m not going to tell you it will be ok, and belittle your emotions by offering platitudes. It quite possibly won’t be ok. At least not for a while.
Start in the middle, where both sides agree—that the ‘sides’ themselves are damaged, a logical fallacy. There can’t be only two sides in a nation of 325 million people.
We need true representation, and the support for Trump and Sanders is a brilliant illustration of how few feel that the two-party system does that.
So channel your energy, be it triumph, anger, or despair, into the one thing we do seem to agree on.
Stop paying attention to politics for only a short window every four years.
Stop with the armchair slacktivism.
No more online petitions which may or may not be organized by a legitimate entity that can be trusted to carry those signatures all the way to completion.
No more news from soundbite sites that fail to report sources.
No more viewing 3 carefully chosen minutes of a 40 minute speech and believe you know the whole story.
Everyone is guilty. I saw Trump nailed for a video seemingly showing his disrespect for our troops, when a full viewing of the speech shows he was merely expressing his appreciation in an awkward, unpolished way. Just like I saw people flip out over the idea that the FBI sorted the last wave of Clinton’s emails in such short order, when I can do the same with a 70,000 entry spreadsheet with the application of a few filters.
Technology makes these things too easy.
It has made us lazy, wanting to consume everything in 1 minute or less; it has made us antisocial, even when surrounded by friends.
Shake it off.
For those of you considering running away to Canada – DON’T.
If the foundation of your beautiful house decays, you don’t burn the house down and walk away. You plan and save, and have the house raised up, crib by crib, until a new, stronger foundation can be laid. Then you bring the house back down on more solid ground, and continue the life you’d wanted to live.
Instead of running, do something productive.
Read a book. Read newspapers, even when they don’t support your views. Especially when they don’t support your views.
Look for primary sources.
Don’t share news clips and videos without first checking to see if it comes from a reputable source.
Know how to determine if something is a reputable source.
Make change in your community. Support your local schools. Join the PTA so there is support for learning enrichment outside of the common core. Debate teams, STEM programs, and literacy programs all matter.
Volunteer at an adult literacy center. We are in a country where 50% of adults can’t read at an eighth grade level, and if you don’t think that matters, think again. If half the country can’t read, then half the country isn’t informed enough to cast a sound ballot.
Walk proudly into a literacy center if you can’t read as well as you’d like. There is never, ever any shame in trying to better yourself.
Start or sign a real petition to abolish the Electoral college, or for redistricting based on grid geometry instead of party lines. Or for Congressional term limits. Or stack ranked voting. Whichever causes make the most sense to you.
Every person who voted for Gore, and is now dismayed that Clinton won the popular vote, yet lost the electoral should think long and hard about that. What if you had been inspired to make change back then?
Encourage your children to become critical thinkers.
Support college without debilitating debt.
Listen to world news.
Remember the power of art, of music, of intelligent words.
Have an attention span.
Emulate the scholar and the artist, not the reality TV star.
Become a one person Renaissance.
David by Michelangelo – cropped from Image:Dithering algorithms.png, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2694287