Where we go from here
I’m far from the only person to say this sort of thing today, so I’ll keep this short.
A lot of us are disappointed in the outcome of this presidential election. A lot of us feel powerless, hopeless, scared, confused, and angry. I spent all of last night glued to CNN on my tv and Twitter on my laptop, crying and worrying and deleting tweets because it didn’t seem like there was any point in sending them out. Obviously, this didn’t leave me feeling great.
And you know what? There actually is no point in tweeting. If there’s one thing we (I’m speaking of middle class young liberals here) should learn from this election, it’s that we’ve all been trapped in our own filter bubbles like the experts kept warning us was the case. At this point, I don’t think it’s helpful to tweet jokes or criticism or disappointment to the same group of people over and over again. It’s an echo chamber. And it’s a dangerous one.
So I’m trying to figure out where we go from here. And as a hopeless optimist, the only thing I can do is look forward. I believe that a majority of America is good. I believe that a majority of America wants equal rights and civil liberties and to keep children safe. I know that smart people are working on solving important issues that will make or break the future of humanity, like a cure for cancer and space exploration and climate change.
And it reassures me that the majority of Americans (and particularly, those aged 18–25) did not vote for the candidate who is, shall we say, apparently less interested in women’s rights or LGBTQ rights or civil justice or world peace or the environment.
I’m trying very hard to be neutral. Why? Because I don’t think the answer is continuing to divide our country. I don’t think the answer is blaming Clinton, or Trump, or middle America, or liberals, or third party voters, or James Comey, or the media, or Nate Silver, or whoever else you’re mad at right now.
Personally (and I am no expert, just a human who wants everyone to feel better), I think three things can help us move forward.
- Be kind. Smile at people on the subway. Hug people who are sad or worried. Talk to your friends who are women, people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, disabled, or anyone else who you think might be feeling concerned for their future. Offer whatever help you can if someone needs it. Let’s give ourselves a second to remember that there is hope and kindness out there, and that we are still America. This sounds trite. It’s important.
- Get to know the other side. I’m giving myself a personal goal to talk to my conservative friends and acquaintances, and to spend more time in more rural parts of the country. I want to read up and learn how this happened. Yes, racism is at play here. Yes, class issues are at play here. It’s complicated, and it’s scary. We should — as Americans, and as human beings — attempt to get to know each other, feel each other’s pain, and listen. I want to understand what happened to my country. I don’t know how this will go. I just know I’ve never given it a real shot before, and I think it might make a difference. Maybe you can give it a shot too.
- Get involved in local politics. We all say this, all the time. We never do it. I have no idea how to make this happen for myself or for anyone else. But I believe that every single one of us has something to contribute, and I think if we work together we can actually make things happen. This might be naive (it probably is?) but so far everyone I’ve spoken to seems to feel the same way — and I’ve already got a long list of people who want in. We want to help but we don’t know how. We want to change the system but we don’t understand how the system even works.
At the very least, I want to get more informed and more involved, for myself. Best case scenario, my hope is that I can help others do that as well. Here’s where you come in…
If you’re someone who has expertise or professional experience in politics, local government, civil rights, or even volunteering in general, I’d love to hear about your experience and get your suggestions on how others can get involved. You can email me or tweet at me anytime.
If you fall into the other category and you’re a person who wants to get involved and make a change but you don’t know how to go about it, put your info here. I’ll email you as I go with what I’m learning and specific actions you can take, and ultimately I hope to be able to put all these resources in one place to scale this for more people who are looking to chip in.
And if you have any other suggestions, questions, concerns, or ideas — or even if you want to just meet up for a coffee and have a friendly conversation about your enthusiasm for the Republican party — please feel free to comment here or email me at any time.
Thanks. We can do this. I still believe that we are stronger together!