“Fighting for What’s Right is Worth It:” The Immediate Aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election
So last night at work I said to my coworkers, “Regardless of the results of the presidential election, I am going to be at peace and maintain my joy.” And let’s just say that they looked at me like I was crazy. Actually, some of them almost said as much but this is what I know…the power of the people and the power of love will always be more compelling than fear and hate. And my joy and peace of mind rest on the two simple facts.
That said, I definitely don’t agree with Trump, nor do I like what he stands for. I’m hurting and disappointed too. Look, a man that has incited fear in the hearts of Americans and foreigner alike, young and old, men and women, Christian and Muslim, poor and rich just became our leader elect. And that means that I, like many others, feel disappointed, sad, and most importantly fearful. And we need to feel every emotion that comes flooding in…but I won’t be overwhelmed by that fear and implore you to resist the urge to let these emotions rule you. Because becoming overwhelmed by fear is only going to result in frustration which is more than likely going to lead to a few dismal options: flight (as many have suggested moving to Canada), freeze (and apathy will set in) or fight (which if fighting out of anger will only make matters worse).
While we need to let our outrage fuel us, we must begin to operate out of love and not fear and anger. For almost two years our collective response to Trump has been dismay, dismissal, and shaming. And you know what? That has only fueled the fire because as Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We have to choose to be the light. We have to be love.
We cannot use the same throw away tactics referenced so many times during Trump’s campaign in which we are willing to dispose of individuals who are different from us just because they are different or because we don’t understand their experiences. And that means we can’t throw away Trump or any of his supporters and we wouldn’t have been able to do that even if he didn’t win the election (or at least we shouldn’t). We have to find a way to critique without shaming and condemn yet not denigrate any actions that promote hate, incite fear, or make it okay to be divisive and make “others” alien or not worthy of being heard, included and welcomed.
So, yes I stand against what Trump has promoted and represents: xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and patriarchy but I refuse to believe that love will not win. I also refudiate the idea that I, and you, have no power to affect positive change. We can have a society that believes that the power of love, compassion, and empathy for everyone can be the cornerstone on which we build an inclusive United States where we can all prosper. This is the America in which I believe and love. And I’m believing that I am not alone and that there are a great many of us that will fight with love and empathy for this America and this is what will finally make America great.
So, I am going to show up in love and peace. I am going to speak to what matters, I’m going to advocate for what I know works: that love, not fear and hate, wins. So who do you want to be? What are you going to do? Do you believe that as Hillary R. Clinton stated in her concession speech that, “fighting for what’s right is worth it?” I do. Love is right. Empathy is virtuous. Compassion is moral. And kindness matters. It’s not just about fighting for what’s right but how fight that will make it worth it.