I am not sorry.

People always apologize to me for this being my first presidential election that I get to vote in

But I am not sorry.

I am actually anything but sorry.

Because it has shown me how imperfect my country is

And how much we need to improve.

Seeing the impact of this election shows me how much this country needs me,

How much it needs you,

And most of all,

how much it needs us.

It needs us to be educated in our decisions

And to always put our feet in the shoes of others

Before we open our mouths and try to tell them the path to walk on.

This election has shown me that it is so much better to walk together

Than to walk in opposite directions

And that the opinions of others should not merely be tolerated

But listened to

And valued.

This election showed me the extent of hatred and anger that single individuals can display towards others because they see things in a different light.

But it does not make me weary.

It gives me strength and motivation to be better

And try to bring out the good in myself

And in others.

So that maybe, just maybe, some of that hate will be canceled out.

This election makes me want to fight.

It makes me want to fight for progress that is rooted in cooperation and insight,

So that my generation will stand with the generations that come after us

to move this country forward

Rather than step back into the mistakes of our past.

Too many people fought for me to have the rights that I have today.

Too many people fought, and too many people died

So that the individuals of this nation may live freely,

For me to be sorry.

So please let us not just look to a man of dangerous rhetoric and call him a bigot

Before we recognize the dogmas that we believe and the anger and bias that we hold in our own hearts.

Let us not look to the actions of a woman and call her a liar and a hypocrite

Before we examine all of the omissions and hypocrisy that shape our lives each day.

And let us not look to others and merely keep thinking,

“if only…” and “what if..”

Because we have spent so much of our energy looking at “them”

And tearing one another down because of people that most of us have never even met,

and probably never will.

Too many times we have found ourselves arguing and resenting each other.

And why?

…Because we get so caught up in pointing at “them”

That we fail to remember that this election is about US.

At the end of the day,

We have each other.

Not “them.”

So remember that next time you try to tell someone that your path

is the only one.

Because life is too short,

And the future is too precious,

To be sorry…