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After Election Night and On Towards the Next

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I'm halfway through what has been, for me, one of the worst days this year after Pulse. I'm rallying. I have thoughts. I need to put them down on paper and mull them over in the coming weeks. This is terrible writing, but it is massively therapeutic.

Do we need protesting? Yes.
Do we need change? Yes.
Do we need activism? Yes.
Do we need an army? Absolutely. But let's talk about that.

We the people make up this nation and we elect specific people from within our numbers to keep our democratic republic in check and maintain the business of being a country for us. When they don't listen to us, we need to speak up, to protest. What we don't need are violent protests. While violence has moved progress forward in the past, it almost always takes a toll and exacts a price that none of us should be okay with. We have the power to work within our system to make the change we want to see, to set the bar higher. Let's utilize that and civilly protest the things that we disagree with. Be productive, not destructive.

Change was our mantra when we pushed for the first black president 8 years ago. Change for the better is something we've grown used to in that time, though not everyone agrees completely. Things have been good. We need to keep chanting that mantra over the next four years and hold our elected officials up to the high standard we require of those offices, or change is going to mean we vote them out of office at the earliest possible point.

We need activism. Not the radical, "blinders on" pursuit of a single idea with no give and take allowed, but rather the kind that rallies around those ideas we hold up for the betterment of everyone in this country and invites discussion and compromise. There is no better time than now to start investing in institutions and communities that share in these ideas and values you hold dear to begin educating your fellow citizens on what really matters when our next round of elections comes up in two years and beyond.

There's a lot of talk about "building an army", rejecting Trump as president, and fighting the system set in place by the founding fathers (and mothers). I can appreciate the emotions and drive to engage with these ideas. A "Dumbledore's Army" holds special appeal to me. But be cautious with the terminology you choose. We are ready to fight, but our fight should not be with guns, violence, or the careless destruction of institutions that have kept us strong as a country for 200+ years. It should be fought with compassion, education, and effective communication. We cannot stoop to the level of those who create chaos and mayhem for their own enjoyment to the detriment of their community.

"When they go low, we go high."

While you may have no respect for Donald Trump personally, I would encourage you to maintain respect for the office of the President of the United States. It is a job that comes with its own set of challenges that many of us are not equipped to deal with ourselves. Respect for the position strengthens us as a nation and challenges every citizen to hold those occupying those offices up to a higher standard.

I'm disappointed. I'm shocked. I'm angry. But I'm fighting to maintain a hold on reason and logic to keep me sane and moving forward towards progress and not backward towards chaos.

I hope this helps.

Written by

Unapologetic coffee addict, geek, and New York City fanboy, educating myself through photography and infrequent bouts of writing. | www.shawncarternyc.com

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