Clarity

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I woke up at 3:31 am on Wednesday to the news that Donald Trump was our next President. The emotions that came over me were ones I haven’t felt since another date etched in my memory: Tuesday, December 6th 2005, the day I discovered my then-husband was cheating on me. When I saw the results, I started to shake uncontrollably. I ran to the bathroom as the feeling of nausea set in. And I cried. For the second time in my life, it felt like the very core of my existence was being taken from me. Everything I knew to be right and true in the world no longer existed.

I studied politics at Mount Holyoke College. The oldest all-women’s college in the country. As a double major in Politics and African-American Studies, my studies focused on the vast inequalities that exist in this country. I chose this course of studies because I believed it was our responsibility as a country to take care of those less fortunate, especially our children. I spent four years sharpening my view points, attending lectures by the likes of Cornell West, Lani Guinier, Jonathan Kozol, Bernie Sanders and even Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. I thought it was important to hear all sides. It helps with critical thinking and understanding that many times the answers aren’t black and white.

The plan was to become a lawyer, after devoting two years to Teach for America. But I graduated school with over $80,000 worth of college debt in the form of private loans that wouldn’t be forgiven if I went into public service. My monthly loan payments were over $1,000 and thus I had to join corporate America after graduation and work a second job on the weekends to make ends meet. I landed my first job after college at a prestigious law firm because my then boyfriend’s father golfed with an executive at Gillette who was friends with a partner at the firm. My credentials weren’t really important; it was just one white guy trying to help another white friend out. And this, dear readers, is why I am where I am today.

The role of our government is this: to form a more perfect union; to establish justice; to insure domestic tranquility; to promote the general welfare; and to secure the blessings of liberty. I voted in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders because I believed he was the best candidate to ensure the role of government. I knew firsthand that not everyone has a story like me or could make the choices I have made based on where I lived and the people I knew. Many around me, including my mother, were shocked to hear I wasn’t supporting Hillary Clinton. Yes, it would be amazing to nominate the first female president, but I believed she was engrossed in the business of Washington, D.C. To be honest, the fact that she stayed with Bill after the Monica Lewinsky scandal {and others} made my heart break for her. But to think she needed to stay with a man to rise to political power questioned my ideas of feminism.

However, when Bernie lost the nomination, I knew what I had to do. Support our candidate. Because, whether we want to admit it or not, to stay home on Election Day would send a sexist, bigoted, racist, homophobic man to the presidency and that just wasn’t an option. I thought that everything Trump said and did during the campaign went against the moral compass of what this country was founded on.

How shocked I was to be proven wrong. Nearly 46% of Americans didn’t show up to the polls to vote on Tuesday. People. As citizens in this great country of ours, it is OUR DEMOCRATIC DUTY to vote. If you don’t like either candidate, I get it. I didn’t either. But I knew that if I didn’t use my voice to vote, the other side would win. And now three days into a Trump-elect reality, the hatred and bigotry has become rampant. I think about it and tears just start to flow.

Moments ago I saw a clip of a man who said he wrote in a candidate and left the poll with a clear conscious. How anyone could have a clear conscious after the hatred and bigotry that has transpired since Trump’s election is beyond me. The truly mind-blowing piece of this all is that 53% of white woman voted for Donald Trump. A man who has been married three times, has had numerous allegations of sexual harassment filed against him and who literally said “grab them by the pussy” when video cameras were around. I know Hillary is part of the establishment and has an email problem, but really? Couldn’t we have taken one for the global team here?

The most important thing to remember is that we elect a President who surrounds him or herself with a group of advisers who help shape policy change in this county. And nominates individuals to the Supreme Court. Because of inaction, everything is now on the table. Universal healthcare, gun laws, climate change, disability benefits, political asylum.

We are a divided country. People have lost their jobs. Have less than ever before. But we are part of a global community. We need to participate. We need to listen to those around us. We need to open our hearts and our eyes to what suffering is and looks like. We need to act {here is a list of organization that need our help}.

For all those who didn’t participate, I am not blaming this one on you. But please take the time to understand how our system works. One day I hope we will have proportional representation in our elected offices and that third-party candidates won’t take from the popular vote. Until then, please understand the rules of the game and what your inaction means. Let’s be honest. For many of us, life won’t change much. Count your blessings. But for others, everything changed Tuesday night. Let’s understand that and help them through these next four years.

*Photo Credit: image from Instagram from notes left in the New York City subway to inspire hope. 

 

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