This morning was a new day. To be fair, every morning is a new day but this one was different. As my roommates and I stumbled out of our bedrooms, bleary eyed and stumbling towards the coffee pot without so much as a word, we were profoundly aware that today was different.
Today Donald Trump became the next President of the United States of America.
A lot of people woke up this morning with a whole string of emotions. Some woke up confident in what the next four years will bring while others awoke fearful of what’s to come. Either way the entire country found itself letting out a huge sigh- whether of relief or in agony.
So, now what?
After nearly two years of debating, campaigning, arguing, and supporting, the election is finally over. What do we do with ourselves now? Where do we go from here? How do we proceed?
No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, politically or religiously, let’s remember people are hurting.
Making America Great Again
For the past however many years, Trump supporters have felt hurt, neglected, overlooked and outcast in the past. You’ve felt as though your voices weren’t heard and you looked to a leader who promised to hear you out. Well, last night your voices and votes were heard. The responsibility of the great America you’ve anxiously hoped for now rests on your shoulders.
The greatness you await starts with the graciousness of your response.
Would you be kind and generous and humble going forward. Would you reach across the aisle not to gloat or to brag but to offer a helping hand to those who now feel the exact same way you did four or eight or however many years ago. Once you strip away the competition and the lines drawn in the sand you’ll find that we’re all quite wounded underneath. Come alongside those who feel lost and lonely and show them an unmatched kindness and humility.
If You’re Still With Her
You likely feel disenfranchised, cheated, fearful and hurt. You’re feeling as though your voice wasn’t heard, or if it was it still wasn’t loud enough despite your best efforts, and now you’re left wondering if you’ll even have a voice at all.
Grieve. Mourn. Take some time. You’ve lost something and it deserves to be felt. You lost the culmination of hopes and dreams, many of which you've waited for for years or decades or even a whole lifetime. Today was the death of a dream for many. Though you may not feel like you have a right to anything, you do have the right to grieve and you’re the only person who can take that away from yourself.
Lick your wounds. Get some rest. Take inventory of how you feel. For you, there’s still much work to do. You get the hard and burdensome task of choosing love in the face of fear. You get to dig deep and scrape around to summon every last bit of courage for the difficult task to be loving and kind and supportive.
There’s a legacy on the line.
Whether we’re up to the task or not we must remember that we’re leaving behind a legacy. When our grandchildren read history books, when people look back and reflect on this time in America, there will only be a sound bite or two that survives.
Our legacy can be one of competition, comparison, and corruption or it can be one of compassion, cooperation and compromise.
Those are our options.
So what legacy do we want to leave behind? There’s an incredible amount of potential brimming right underneath the surface. We are defining what it means to be an American. If we’re smart and careful and willing to put in the extra work then we could leave a profound mark that communicates volumes of exactly what it means to be American.
We have the incredible opportunity and honor to switch from a mentality of scarcity and fear to one that says there’s more than enough room for everyone at the table.
Hey, by the way, we’re all so tired.
Let’s not forget we’re exhausted. We’ve been going at each other’s throats and scrapping in the mud for years now. Both sides have fought long and hard. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster because we’ve invested so much of ourselves into our respective campaigns. We’re so worn out from the political opinions and posts.
So let’s give each other a break.
My friend and writer Allison Fallon says that sometimes you just need a nap and a sweet potato.
A nap and a sweet potato, that’s all it takes.
Take care of your body, your soul and your mind. You’re exhausted and it’s time to invest in some self-care. Walk away from the computer or the conversation and take a minute to simply rest. Everyone put your fists down, they’re not helping anyone. If anything, they’re just wearing us out even further. Let’s listen to our bodies, our weary spirits, and simply take a breather.
Rest up and then rise up.
There’s much work to do for all of us and we’ll never get to start building anything, not a country or ideals or programs or reforms or bridges or relationships or hope or peace or progress or any of those good things we’re all desperately longing for, if our hands are too beat up from all the fighting.
Just think of the goodness inside of us and the goodness awaiting us if we focused all the energy we’ve spent fighting against one another and started fighting for one another.
Fists down. Hands out. Arms open.
Then and only then can we reach across the aisles to take one another’s hand.