To My Fellow American Millennials,
This is the blog post I really hoped I wouldn’t have to write, yet sadly am not surprised to find myself confronted with.
First, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their supporters are to be congratulated. You won. You proved so many people wrong and you inspired millions of people to unite in supporting you. So, congratulations. I may not agree with a single one of your policies but I can acknowledge what you have accomplished. You will be our President. That’s how Democracy works.
While we have every right to fight every last policy you put forth, part of the privilege of being American citizens is respecting the process we have set forth. Unless we work together to change how the electoral process works, the reality is that America chose to elect Donald Trump Tuesday night.
So, I think we need to be honest about the varied but fervent emotions that are reverberating among us right now.
Those who opposed and voted against Trump are fearful. Fearful of what is to come, of the idea that the progress that has been made prior to and over the last eight years will be eliminated, fear for the livelihood of our neighbors, friends and family, fear that the rights we treasure will be taken away, fear that diversity will be overcome by oppression and fear that our global relationships will be tarnished by the decision we have just made.
But, those who support Trump have been living in fear too. For many, the past eight years have not brought as much economic improvement as they had hoped. ISIS and other terrorist and extremist groups around the world have either formed or gotten stronger, and many fear imminent danger in terms of our National Security. Many feel that this fear is compounded by the fact that their second amendment rights could be taken away, and that society is becoming too open-minded in terms of accepting those of different backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and cultural interests.
The idea that everything must be politically correct has created a backlash and inevitable protest that elected someone who has and will say anything he believes, no matter the consequence.
Regardless of if you fit into one of the above categories or you don’t, we need to recognize that while we may vehemently disagree and even argue that one of the two sentiments above have been constructed from outright lies, it doesn’t mean they aren’t real to those who believe them. Fear is how we got here, and understanding that might hopefully lead us to work with one another differently now. We need to heal.
Throughout history, we revere those who have stood up to injustice. Now it’s our turn…again. We built this country by standing up to oppression, by fighting for religious liberty, and by declaring that this will be a land where all people are created equal. However, it wasn’t perfect then, was it? And we find ourselves standing at a similar precipice now.
The future depends on where we go from here. Maybe Trump won’t fulfill his campaign promises, and I truly hope he will do as he said he would do in his victory speech Tuesday night and be the President and advocate for every American. But if Trump and Pence do what they have built their campaign upon, the well-being of anyone who is not a wealthy, white male is in jeopardy.
If you are not Christian (especially if you are Muslim or Jewish), if you are Hispanic or any other race, if you are disabled, if you are a member of the LGBT+ Community, if you are a woman, if you are from a working-class family, if you are living in poverty or close to it, if you are undocumented. The list goes on and on.
Here’s why I have hope: Americans thrive in the face of adversity. It is our life blood. Traditionally, we have made progress very slowly, with one group paving the way for the next group of crusaders to take up their cause.
But perhaps the fact that so many have so much to lose under our next President will mean that we will rise up together to prevent the unthinkable. We know the rhetoric that has been spread throughout this election season, by many of the candidates, but it is now up to us to prevent these thoughts of bigotry from becoming an oppressive reality.
If we’re being honest, a lot of us were disappointed with a lot of the choices this election. Maybe we needed this to motivate ourselves to do better. If there’s one thing everyone learned from this campaign, it’s that passion for a candidate and his or her ideas is a much stronger motivator than disdain of a candidate’s opponent. So, let’s use that to our advantage.
Now is the time to become politically aware. To run for office. To stand up for the environment, for all people facing prejudice. To learn to articulate your views with poise, compassion and finally to be willing to compromise when needed. Now is the time when we should examine the electoral process and reform the metrics within it that are obsolete, to explore the idea that a two party system may not be the best way to govern, to write to our elected officials and demand that they serve those who elected them and not their special interests.
We also need to remember that contradictorily, the GOP took control of the House and the Senate while simultaneously, a number of progressive Democrats won congressional seats across the United States. Both parties are ready for change and new blood within our congress gives us the opportunity to do so.
It would be so easy right now to give in to both the fear and bigotry that have been omnipresent throughout this election. But that’s not who we are as Americans. Let’s remind those around the world who are watching our next move that Americans always win against tyranny, and we’re not about to stop now.
Love, peace and understanding to all of you,
Disclaimer: The political views expressed in this article do not necessarily express the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.