There will be many things said and even more written today about the election. I wasn’t going to add my words to the noise, but I am a writer and that’s what I do. So, here I am.
There are a lot of very happy people today. And a lot of sad or despondent people.
Then there are those in the middle, like myself.
As I promised all along, I did not vote for Donald Trump. And I did not vote for Hillary Clinton. I was never going to. There wasn’t a time, even in the moment I stepped into the voting booth, where I considered changing my mind.
And because of that, I didn’t know how I REALLY felt about the election until the results started coming in.
I had steeled myself in preparation for a Clinton Administration.
I had never let myself consider the possibility that Trump might pull this off.
And when he took an early lead, I brushed it off as “still very early” and “the big states haven’t finished voting yet.”
But then the results kept coming and well, we know what happened.
Of course, there are a lot of explanations for why it happened.
A lot of people assume this is due to pervasive racism. Which exists. I’m not going to try to deny that. But it’s not why this happened. Not entirely, anyway.
A lot of people assume this is due to pervasive sexism. Which exists. Of COURSE it exists. But that’s not why this happened either. It really isn’t.
It REALLY isn’t.
Did people vote for Trump because they’re racist assholes? Yeah. Duh.
Did people vote for Trump because they’re sexist assholes? Yeah. Duh.
But those votes weren’t the majority. They weren’t. They really, really weren’t.
What I hope more than anything is that from today onward, we will start listening to one another. Because that’s what REALLY caused this result. A lack of listening to one another. For decades.
Hillary Clinton didn’t lose because she’s a woman. She lost because she’s Hillary Clinton and a WHOLE LOT of people utterly despise Hillary Clinton.
Some of that is justified and some of it is not.
Donald Trump didn’t win because he’s racist or sexist or a successful businessman.
He won because he’s not Hillary Clinton.
He won because he’s not ANY politician.
If you really take the time to listen to the sane, rational people out there–
(and I SWEAR to you they’re out there!)
–this is about “blowing up the system.” This is about fundamentally changing the way things are done. It’s about people being tired of the status quo and wanting to see something different.
Unfortunately, the something different is probably going to wind up biting them in the ass and I don’t know how many of them will be humble enough to admit they were wrong. If and when the time comes for that.
My hope for the next four years, my vain and foolish hope, is that we can collectively look at this election. Look at what it cost us and the toll it has taken. And then commit to never doing this to ourselves again.
We are more divided than we have been in generations. One side blames Trump. The other side blames Obama. Nobody puts the blame where it REALLY belongs: with us. WE are the reason we’re divided. Because the politicians are just that. They’re politicians. They say and do the things that will win them the admiration of whichever side they’re trying to appeal to.
Stop giving in to the bullshit. Stop being blown about by every ridiculous thing anyone says. Take responsibility for this. Whichever way you voted or even if you didn’t, take responsibility for your part and do what YOU can to fix it.
That’s what I’m trying to do.
It’s tempting to block and ignore the gloating people today. People in my own family. Friends. Neighbors. I’m surrounded by them. But ignoring them is what caused this and it won’t make them go away.
The way to fix this is to listen. And not just to listen but to hear and to seek to understand.
We don’t have to agree. That’s not what this is about. But if we really hear each other out, I think we’ll find that we’re more alike than we are different. That we want the same basic things, we just have different solutions for getting there.
It’s possible to compromise on outcomes without compromising our principles.
And that’s what we need to do.
It’s my greatest hope in all of this.
We have to work together. We have to live together. This is about so much more than one election or one President. This is about our country and our place in the world. It’s not the end of the world. We will live on. The next “Most Important Election in History” is four years away. We will make it to 2020. But we have to make it together.
Let’s do this.