I tend to keep my own politics separate from this blog. But today, I can no longer keep silent and agree that we are all united as Americans despite our differences. Because I don’t know if we all agree on what being an American truly means.
On Tuesday, I learned that my idea of America – that we are good, caring and accepting people despite our problems – was a false notion. I’m not alone.
I believe in love. I write about love on this blog, in books, in articles for other websites. It is a passion that I care about deeply. I believe all of us deserve love. We all want to love and be loved. I’m not just talking about romantic love, but all kinds of love, the water for our souls. That is the ultimate goal in life – love is what brings true joy.
In this election, there was no love to be found. There was a lot of hate and fear-mongering, and now that we have a President-elect who gave permission for Americans to hate, people are feeling more free to express their own forms of hate and fear-mongering. The hatred now comes in the form of swastikas on street signs, racial slurs written across the walls of public school bathrooms, women who have been groped and called “pussies.” It breaks my heart to think that more than half of America thinks that we aren’t “we the people” unless you are a white Christian conservative. But the America I choose to live in is an inclusive one. What makes us great is our diversity.
It’s hard not to feel sad and frustrated. When so many people are motivated by hate and fear, can the voices of reason even be heard?
How can the rest of us actively fight the hate in our communities? Stand up for those who are being targeted. Initiate dialogue. Hold signs and volunteer and appeal to government officials. It’s not the whole answer, but it’s a start. We have to commit to the long haul, to true reform.
If you think that we should sit back and accept the election results, please know that this is not about one election. It is about who we are as a people. I intend to protest, volunteer, and make my voice heard. Conservatives and Trump supporters, we hear you loud and clear – I want our government to change, too. But not like this. I want our government to have more diverse voices, faces, and attitudes. I want it to actually represent the people of this country. We’re not all white male Christian conservatives.
We must now ask ourselves: Who are we as Americans? What do we truly value? And most importantly, who do we want to be?
I sat yesterday in stunned silence, crying for the fate of the people of this country. The families who have suffered. Especially the children who are witnessing this level of unbridled hate. I wondered if there was a chance for love to appear, to exist in the midst of this fear.
And then I went to a community vigil last night. There were over a hundred of us gathered, holding candles, expressing our emotions. I heard the stories of immigrants who are afraid for their families in red states, of a gay school teacher with HIV who is terrified that without Obamacare he will die, of a Muslim woman who is now afraid to tell anyone her religious affiliation, of a Jewish man whose family died in the Holocaust while his grieving parents came here to start a better life, of the 14 year-old adopted Guatemalan girl who told all of us with such passion that her generation is loving and strong, and will fix all the problems we created.
Please know this: love was in that gathering. We listened, we cried, and we processed our collective anguish.
I read a lot of Marianne Williamson, and if you do, you are familiar with A Course in Miracles. And I find that now, today, seems to be our ultimate test. Do we want to live in a world of fear, or do we choose to love?
It was heartening that the people in last night’s gathering chose love. They want to bridge the divide. They want to feel safe in a diverse America. There is no turning back the clock. We can only go forward, one day at a time.
So, each day, we should ask ourselves: Who do we want to be?
I hope one day to be as brave and optimistic as the 14 year-old girl I met last night.