Let’s face it, it’s been a rough week for America.
Being married to a Brit, I got a taste of what my husband felt when Brexit happened, but nothing prepared me for the outcome of the election on November 9th. Since the fallout, I’ve seen two main groups of people speak out on social media; those who are criticizing people for whining over the outcome of the election when everyone had a vote, and those who are genuinely hurt, afraid, concerned, or downtrodden by the results.
I personally felt gut punched when it became clear that Trump would be elected, because I didn’t think it could actually happen – not in today’s lifetime, not in a democracy. The campaigns and debates themselves (on both sides) were very vicious from both candidates, respectfully, and even major news networks had their doubts about Trump. His remarks about global warming being a conspiracy from China, his shady social history, comments and attitudes towards women and minorities, all of these led me believe there was no way it would happen.
Then there was this:
After hardly sleeping the night of the election, I woke up and did some research about how to talk to my children about the outcome, because I knew they’d hear things at school. I found this fantastic article at LA Times:
And I began the morning gently talking about what a democracy means over breakfast. My daughters are young, but old enough to understand what’s going on, and they listened attentively, and watched how I spoke and handled the topic of what an electoral vote means, that everyone gets a say. I ended the conversation talking about how even though we might not agree with the result, we will respect it, because that’s what a democracy does.
All that aside, I would like to plead for sensitivity.
Regardless of your political persuasion, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, the color of your skin, or how you feel about Trump being our next President, please be sensitive to the emotional needs of others. This affects people’s lives, in a profound way. I have friends quite close to me who are gay, and even my husband is an immigrant, though he recently obtained his citizenship.
If people seem to be shaken by this, it’s because they are. I am. I woke up to a whole new concept of America the night after the election, one that frightens me and concerns me. If you voted for Trump, if you didn’t vote for Trump, be sensitive regardless. Be kind in your actions to others. Children are watching how adults react to all of this, and they will remember it. It’s a hard time for many Americans right now, and ultimately what is important is acceptance, love, and equality. We need it now more than ever.
As for me, I’ll continue to do what has worked in the past whenever my life doesn’t agree with me; I will write. I’ll write about racial and sexual diversity, about cultures coming together, about strong women and good-hearted people, because that ultimately is what America’s about, choice and opportunity. If you are hurting or scared or blown away by what happened, I am here if anyone needs to talk. My door is open to everyone on this issue.
I wish everyone a calming spirit and good thoughts. I do believe that everything will be okay. Hang in there.