I’m heartbroken. I’m in shock. I was sure she was going to win. I didn’t believe for a second that there were that many people who were angry enough to vote for him. I live in Lee County. I saw the signs and bumper stickers, but then I’d talk to people at the gym, in the store, in my neighborhood and hear kindness, not anger.
I traveled to Tennessee and hiked in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was an outsider; I felt it. The bumper stickers, T’s, and hats were more prevalent. They were harsher than I had seen at home. Still, everyone was kind to us. I focused on the beauty of nature and hoped that the anger would dissipate after the election.
I woke this morning to texts from my family. My two children away at college and my husband on a business trip. They were heartbroken too. They were looking to me for words. I was still in shock. Then I thought about all the people in my community the ones who may have voted for President-elect Trump. The people I’ve known for years that I suspected or knew leaned right while I leaned left. They are good people. They are my neighbors. They are my friends.
We never discussed politics. None of us wanted conflict. Why? Because we saw the good in each other. We liked getting along. To discuss political views would separate us, cause anger. Why go there? Why be like the politicians that seemed to fight all the time and put each other down? We naturally want to gravitate towards conversations that bring us together. When we do, we see each other’s hearts. That’s what I clung to when the fear of President-elect Donald Trump began to permeate my thoughts. I remembered my friends and neighbors and their goodness, and I felt a light shine through the extreme darkness I had been feeling upon hearing he would be our next president.
I can’t believe in my heart that those who voted for him meant they’re against the LGBT community or Muslims or immigrants or minorities or the disabled. Against people. I can’t believe that their vote was for hate against others but that their vote was for their desire to elect someone who was not labeled a politician. An other. What they wanted was someone who was different from the rest to lead.
The right thing is to hope that President-elect Trump will make a positive change for all Americans. He will be our president, and I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of all the ugliness. We owe it to ourselves and our children to find a way to work together. It’s up to us to stop the hate.
I witnessed the outpouring of help from my community after my daughter’s accident. It changed my perception when people I hardly knew sent us cards, donated, came to visit my daughter in the hospital and offered continuous support. They didn’t care whether we were republican or democrat or who we voted for. They saw we needed help and reached out. That was back in 2003, and since then I’ve held the belief that there is kindness in all of us! That kindness is triggered when our hearts see someone in need. That kindness is triggered when we take the time to get to know one another.
It’s time to show the kindness again. Set the anger that leads to separation aside and remember that we are Americans first and foremost. We are a strong, courageous, unique individuals who love our freedom, our families, our holidays, our arts, our sports, our pets… We must focus on what connects us.
To all the people who are scared because they believe President-elect Donald Trump’s message was one of hate inciting people to rise up against others who they see as different from themselves, I understand. I feel that fear too, but I refuse to let it frighten me. The antidote is to do good in your community, show kindness, show acceptance, and to speak out whenever and wherever there is an injustice, against another human being. We must speak out for each other and our neighbors. But we must speak with compassion. We can disagree peacefully about the issues or our religious beliefs or what football team we want to win the Super Bowl. Disagree, discuss, try to see others point of view, but we cannot harm each other or keep silent when we see others being persecuted for their religious beliefs or who they are. We need to focus on the matters of the heart that connect us.
I believe in us.
My neighbors, my friends, my community, my country. We know there is more that connects us than separates us.
If you want to tell me why you voted for President-elect Trump, I welcome all comments that are not derogatory towards anyone. If you want to tell me why you voted for Hillary Clinton, the same holds true.
I know it would help me to understand why some of my friends voted for President-elect Trump.
I voted for Hillary Clinton because my daughter is a person with a disability and she has a pre-existing condition. No insurance company will accept her if the Affordable Care Act is taken away. I voted for Hillary Clinton because I have friends and family who are part of the LGBTQIA community. I want children as well as adults to have the freedom and acceptance to be who they are. I voted for Hillary Clinton because as a teacher I witnessed all the children that needed the healthcare the schools offered thanks to her. There were many single moms who couldn’t afford healthcare for their children otherwise. I voted for Hillary Clinton because I thought she would be a much better leader than Donald Trump especially when it came to foreign affairs. I voted for Hillary Clinton because she is opposed to Human Trafficking. I voted for Hillary Clinton because of the horrible things President-elect Trump has said about women.
If anyone else wants to add their comments, please do so with compassion. That means no attacking, no belittling, even though language doesn’t bother me, let’s keep it clean for any kids who may read this.
My goal is to help us all understand each other. I believe understanding one another will help bring us together.