After The 2016 Election Our Hearts May Be Broken, But Our Democracy Is Not

Flickr / Pedro Szekely
Flickr / Pedro Szekely

This isn’t the outcome so many of us had hoped for. Democracy, however, is still alive and well in the United States. We are blessed to live in the greatest nation in the world, and wake up free and able to share our opinions on the results of a free election. The fate of the world doesn’t hinge on one person, but instead on our collective ability to rally around one another, and to reach across the divide to mend years of un-repaired damage.

Still, there are those among us (myself included) who live in fear of their liberties being taken away, or for the clock to be rolled back on the great progress we have made in our short time on this earth. I can’t help but still believe in the resilience of the American people, and our inherent duty to leave the world in a better place than we found it.

Whether you supported Secretary Clinton, President-Elect Trump, someone else, or nobody at all, I implore you to remember that at our core, humanity is still good. Despite our many ideological differences, election season always reminds me that we share two common feelings- our love of country and our love of self. It is because of these conflicting interests that we so often find ourselves at odds with one another. How do we weigh the good of one over the good of many? The answer is not always clear, nor is the distinction an easy problem to look in the eye.

We have not doomed ourselves or irreparably damaged the ideals that we hold most dear. Instead, I hope that this election will serve as a catalyst for positive change in this country. The system is broken, and it is up to us- not our elected officials, not “someone else,” but us, to fix it. Our system of governance is like the Golden Gate Bridge- by the time you’ve finished re- painting it, years have passed and it’s time to start over again from the beginning. We have a long road ahead of us, just as we did yesterday, and the day before that. Liberty is not static, it is a living, breathing, organism whose very existence is dependent on our constant attention to improvement.

What we have in front of us today is a choice- we can let the gap between us continue to grow and fester like a Grand-Canyon-sized wound, or we can reach out to our friends and our families, our foes and our rivals, and find some common ground on which to build a new and solid foundation. At the end of the day, no person is an island. We are united by a common sense of humanity and of decency, and there is, as there has always been, good left in the world. There are no winners and losers. Instead, there are those working together, and those who are not. I urge you to be a part of the solution, and not to be paralyzed in fear or in anger. There is no “us” or “them,” there is only the collective we. We must continue the charge for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as it was laid out at the foundation of this nation. These unalienable rights are the very core of our existence, no human force can take them away.

Tell your parents, your friends, and your family that you love them. Whether you read this note feeling victorious or at a loss for words-everything is going to be okay. We are strong. None of us have ever been defined by any singular moment in time. We are a nation built on simple ideals, sometimes executed in ways with which we do not agree.

At the end of the day, we are all Americans and it is our duty to uphold the most basic principles of humanity- love one another, learn from our mistakes, make plans for the future, and end each day knowing that we’ve done something for the good of others. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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