Rise Up.

I stayed awake until 3:30AM watching the election coverage last night. It felt like one of those “you’ll always remember where you were when [insert historic event here] happened” moments, so I thought it was important to keep watching even though it made my head spin and my stomach tie up in knots and my eyes well up with tears.

Donald J Trump was just elected the 45th President of the United States.

 

All day today, I’ve been in a fog. Last night doesn’t quite seem real, but then I’m occasionally slapped hard in the face by reality, and, for a moment, the truth sets in:

On Friday, January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump will be sworn in as my country’s president. Mike Pence is his Vice President. They, along with a Republican-dominated legislature, will determine the course of our nation for the next four years.

 

To my friends and family who voted for Trump: I don’t hate you. I will not ask you to unfollow/unfriend me on social media, nor will I refuse to speak to you offline. As I said before, I kind of understand why you made that choice– he is going to bring radical change to this country, change that may seem incredibly appealing to you. I understand that you’re probably very excited right now, and that you’re going to want to celebrate your victory in some way.

But now is the time for dignity.

Be aware that there are countless people around you who are angry and devastated and scared for their futures. Be respectful toward them. Try to understand why they are upset; try to have some sympathy. They are your fellow countrymen, and this election has affected them differently than it has you. Recognize that your decision is going to hurt some people. Don’t rub your victory in their faces; try to be kind.

 

To my friends and family who did not vote for Trump: I am with you.

I am so sad for my LGBTQ friends, for the immigrant population, for both the racial and religious minority populations, for my fellow women. The fact that I saw suicide hotlines being consistently reposted on my various social media platforms last night breaks my heart. For those of you that have been hit particularly hard by the election results, please know that I am here with ears to listen and arms to hug with. You are not alone. We will get through this together.

But let this election motivate you.

We cannot allow all of the progress that has been made thus far to be for naught. We are going to have to fight hard to make our voices heard and to keep certain institutions– Planned Parenthood (which does a whole lot more than just abortions, to those who might disagree), Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges– alive and in place.

We cannot allow our country to return to the days of white Christian supremacy. Though both of these groups (whites and Christians) obviously have important places within American society, they are not entitled to national domination. That is not “making America great again”. We are a racially and religiously diverse nation, and we should be proud of that fact. There is room for people of all races and religions to succeed here. Do not allow anti-black, anti-Hispanic, and anti-Muslim narratives to continue to gain strength in this country. Combat those narratives with everything you have.

Ladies, we are going to have to work even harder to get ahead. We will now be living under a president whose words and actions condone misogyny– do not let this stop you from taking the world by storm. You are still capable of achieving anything and everything.     Do it.

Spread messages of love, kindness, and acceptance. Keep your mind open– do not allow the ignorance of others to cloud your thoughts or derail your morals and beliefs. Listen to your fellow Americans on both sides of this ever-growing rift, and try to find ways to understand one another. Find ways to get involved in your community for causes that are important to you. Accept that Donald Trump will soon be our president, but do not accept defeat.

Rise up.

We have a lot of work to do.

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