It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to say here. It starts with this: Today I have felt the most at ease that I have in nearly a week. Myself and many people around me have been existing in anxiety-induced dread for at the very least a few days, but for some it’s been four years. This is when you may expect me to point out what Trump supporters said to me and others like me four years ago upon finding out that we, as a nation, had elected him as our leader.
But one of the biggest criticisms I had for that base of individuals was their inability to exhibit empathy or grace. There is a way to win with grace, and this is it. I’m not going to say “in your face” or “screw your feelings”; I’m not going to start calling people snowflakes and trash. Because at the end of the day, what I want is maturity and growth. What I want is fruitful conversations, followed by acknowledgement and understanding of those who don’t look like us or haven’t lived our experiences. I want for people to want to learn and to want to understand, and I assure you that antagonizing those who don’t yet see what I do isn’t going to make that happen.
So instead, I want to take this opportunity to express how meaningful of a victory this is. Because now, I look around me and see fellow Americans from minority groups restoring a bit of their faith in the idea that their country does see and does care about their struggles. I see people banding together to make it clear that we do not want to be represented by someone who lacks empathy and gives comfort to those who have hatred of anyone who represents a group they don’t belong to (for example, racists, homophobic individuals, transphobic individuals, islamaphobic individuals, etc.). I see Black women around me rejoicing in their representation in the White House and celebrating this new role model for little Black girls all around the country. I see people who are ready to heal from four years of feeling invalidated, insignificant, and fearful.
This is a day in history that I’m grateful to be a part of. I hope someday all of the Americans around me can understand why this is such a pivotal moment and why it’s necessary to recognize the others around you as humans who should have the same rights as those with the fewest barriers to their own success and quality of life. What would truly make America great is willingness to take the time to listen to one another, then work together to build a better country as a whole for all of the humans who inhabit it.
And for all the other empaths out there, hang in there. Heep trying to be the change you want to see in the world. I leave you with this:
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” – John Lennon