I woke up this morning at 4 am and after a few sleepy moments remembered that the election was yesterday. I grabbed my phone to check the results because I was excited. Excited that we might have our first female president. I kept telling my kids yesterday that it was a big deal that it was even an option to check the box next to a woman's name for President. That I had never had the opportunity before.
I watched a lot of the coverage yesterday, but I was honestly getting myself totally stressed out watching the real-time results, so I turned it off and went to bed.
So this morning at 4 am, I was awake and ready to find out the results. I checked my phone and I was stunned. Donald Trump is going to be our next president. I couldn't believe it.
My immediate reaction was tears. And anger. And disbelief.
How did this happen? How did we let this happen as a country?
So then I checked Facebook to see the reaction. Most of my friends were also upset. But the anger and hate that came through their Facebook feeds stunned me. Wasn't this what we were all campaigning against for so long? Against the hate and the downright nastiness? And yet, now we are spewing it out left and right like sore losers.
I saw a couple posts with messages around, "How do I explain this to my children?" I thought about that for a moment. I have children and they were actively watching the election coverage with me before they went to bed last night. They'll be up in a few hours and I have to tell them something.
Do I tell them that America was built on democratic principles and that when you live here you take a chances that not everyone will agree with you? Do I tell them that the country made amazing strides by putting a woman on the ballot in the first place? Do I tell them that the best thing we as a people who disagree can do is show up in love and service and be ready to take thoughtful, deliberate action to help those in need? Yes and more. So much more.
I realize that fear is running rampant right now because we don't know what will happen. It's so easy at times like this to point the finger and say "You are to blame." To be angry at the people who disagreed with you because the fear is taking hold of your life and your heart and will barely let you breathe.
But here we are. And we all have a new choice: to move forward in love or hate. I choose love.
Admittedly, I am considering all the ways I can get more active in my civic duties. I am a feminist (a word I loathe because of the connotations) and I believe that men and women should have equal rights. I am a mama bear who will do anything to protect her children. I am a business woman who is concerned with taxes, health care and quality of life. I am an education advocate for children everywhere and I believe that our system has a long way to go before it can be considered as good as we would like it to be. I am a strong believer in human rights regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or disability.
So I'm watching myself to make sure I don't sink to the level of hate today. That I carefully explain to my children that you don't always win and what matters most is what you do next. That America is a system that was built carefully to not allow one person too much power.
Today, I'm choosing love. To those of you who voted for Mr. Trump... I love you and I respect your right to make that decision. To my friends who are hurting and scared... come over anytime and I'll give you a big hug. We will all face the next four years together.
I choose love. That is what will keep our country afloat. The deliberate action of making kindhearted, thoughtful, loving decisions on a daily basis about what is good for everyone and not just ourselves. I will not lower myself down into the arena of name calling and mud slinging. And I will be watching and waiting for the opportunity to step up and make a difference. I will be an example of resilience.
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