I cried myself to sleep last night. I’m drifting as if in a fog this morning. The results of the election have left me, as they have so many of us, feeling drained, despondent, devastated. I’m saddened that we came so close to voting a woman into the presidency, yet that milestone has now slipped through our grasp. I’m terrified that instead we’ll be swearing into office a man who denies global warming; who violates women; and who denigrates minorities. And I’m sickened by the power that a rhetoric of fear has in a world already so darkened by the shadow of violence and hate.
The one thing I’m not, however, is surprised. As much as I’ve spent the last year hoping that we’d never utter the words President Trump, a niggling voice in my gut told me that we would. I’ve prayed not with a heart open to the possibility of victory but rather with one already bleeding the desperation of defeat. I didn’t foresee this outcome because I have a prescient understanding of our nation’s political system. Rather, I knew this result would come to pass because I myself wasn’t doing a single thing to prevent it. And if I wasn’t willing to raise my hand or my voice, then how could I expect anyone else to do it for me?
Until this election season, I’ve remained blissfully ignorant of politics. I bought into a story that I hear many of us tell ourselves. “It’s so overwhelming. I’m just one person. Nothing I do can make a difference, so I’ll just make sure my house is in order.” Really, though, that story is a mask for a fear no less destructive—and infinitely more insidious—than that which Donald Trump foments. It’s the fear of stepping beyond my protective bubble, of getting uncomfortable in the face of another’s pain, of truly opening my eyes to the issues we face today. So I’ve kept my head down. Lifted it only when crisis loomed. Then watched from the sidelines under the shelter of my complacency.
Now, thanks to me, immigrant parents around the country don’t know how to answer when their children ask if they’re safe here. Women of all ages are wondering how much longer their rights will be guarded as inalienable. Young girls are waking up to the reality that their dreams and hard work count for nothing in the face of a man with big voice and a bigger ego. It’s not what I want for the world. Far from it. However the situation is my doing, just as surely as if I’d cast my ballot for Donald Trump. That’s the bad news.
Yet it’s also the good news. Because if I created this situation, then it’s in my power to change it. Yes, it’s a tall agenda. Yes, I’m just one person. But I’m one person with a huge heart and a passionate way with words. I’m fiercely determined. I care deeply for the world around me. These are my gifts, my offering to the world. Each of us has our own to contribute. I’m declaring here my intention to put these gifts into action to bring light to the world, so that others may be called to bear the torch with me. I’m committed never to holding myself back in the name of blissful ignorance. I’m standing for our collective ability to write a final chapter in the story of silent fear and deafening hate—one that ends not in scarcity and division but in abundance and acceptance, in equality and empowerment, in courage and above all, in love.