Just a few minutes ago, the 2016 American Election was called for Donald Trump. There’s a lot of things going through my head, as there are for many, many Americans (and non Americans) tonight. I’ve spent the last hour effectively reading thousands of social media posts, trying to gather my own thoughts and take in the thoughts of the people surrounding me.
I’ve questioned my friends, my family, myself, and my perspectives and opinions a lot over the last year, and in particular the last few hours. I’ve watched this election rip friends and family apart and watched complete strangers both alienate and threaten each other with death, and much worse.
I’ll be completely honest here.
I am so disappointed in you.
Yes, you. Surely, of course, not all of you but indeed the vast majority of you.
To my friends, family members, and neighbors on the right: How dare you let go of what you believe and let hatred define you? You don’t have to agree with everything your candidate says, but to ignore what was said for the sake of electing the letter R is disgraceful. For the sake of one or two issues you’ve sent the message to your daughters that they deserve to be rated on their appearance and mistreated. You’ve sent the message that the response to hate and fear is to spread more hate and fear.
To my friends, family members, and neighbors on the left: How dare you turn tail and run away in the face of conflict towards your cause? You claim to be working for the greater good but are scared of having to actually sacrifice something for it. You want the world to be better but when crunch time rolls around, you run instead of contributing to the betterment. Many of you are resorting to hate and violence as an answer to not getting your way.
To my friends, family members, and neighbors in the middle: Where are you now? What cause do you believe in and why are you so silent?
Honestly, overall, I’m in a bit of shock. And to be frank, I’m kind of pissed. Let me be crystal clear: I don’t give a fuck who is president. That’s right, you read that correctly. I. Don’t. Care. What I care about is YOU. That’s right.
I’m sure the vast majority of us have cracked open a history book but let me tell you a secret: You’ve never learned history unless you’ve closed it and opened your eyes and your ears to your elders. I can nearly guarantee if you’re under the age of 25 you’ve probably never taken or heard of a civics class but thanks to the internet there’s limitless possibilities in regards to what you can learn and accomplish. After you’ve learned, you’ll see that there’s no doubt that the power of a democracy depends on its people. We are the democracy. We are the power.
I am so disappointed that you’ve all forgotten this, ignored this, or never learned this and chosen to be ruled by fear and hate.
When you look at America, you’ll find something pretty interesting happening here. We worship our Marvel movies and superheros. We’ve held countless discussions on whether Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings should take their place among the titles of the literary greats. We’ve watched The Hunger Games millions of times. Yet we seem to forget (or maybe even ignore) what these things we love are teaching us.
Our superheros have taught us that more often than not, the bad guys have cooler stuff and better resources. They’ve taught us that for there to be good there must also be evil. They’ve taught us that the path to a better world is paved by failed attempts and good intentions and painful, earth shattering loss.
Lord of the Rings teaches us about the power of friendship in the face of certain death. It teaches us that working together is always better than working alone and that our mistakes do not define us. Never forget that the people who were saving their world, also made choices that contributed to its messiness.
Harry Potter taught us that sometimes, bad things happen no matter what you do. Never forget that Lord Voldemort rose to power, stronger than ever before and that hundreds of thousands of witches and wizards died before anyone was able to stop him, and that it was only in the name of self sacrifice that it was accomplished.
The Hunger Games showed us that even when times seem hopeless and you have nothing, there is power in people and numbers. You can achieve good if you are willing to sacrifice for each other and fight.
Do you see? Regardless of who is our president, the power for success lies within ourselves. No matter what happens, we can always put our foot down and declare “No more.” The things we love most are the things that remind us of our own collective superpower. And it doesn’t stop with us. People all over the world can band together and flex our superpower. All of us can create a better space for all people.
I want you to take time to feel your emotions. Do not be mistaken, you have every right to feel every feeling and think every thought. But after that, we’ve all got a lot of growing up, learning, and grouping up to do. We’ve settled into such complacency and fear that we’ve now got to learn the hard way. There’s going to be a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and general hardship to make things better. But do not despair. Instead, learn. Teach. Grow. Be kind. Work together. Determine what is right and never waver.
Whatever you do, do not run. Do not accept hate. Do not silence yourself.