For as long as I can remember, one of the challenges I’ve faced on a day to day basis is walking by an American flag t-shirt, decoration, etc. without having the urge to buy it. I have always been proud to be an American and I have always believed that this country is the greatest in the world. Today, my world has been rocked. For the first time in my entire life, I am not proud to be an American. For the first time in my entire life, I feel as though my country is not proud of me.
For as long as I can remember, America has been moving forward. I have been very fortunate to live in a time of social progress, and while we have not gotten anywhere near perfect, it seems to me that we have always been moving forward. Yesterday, we pressed pause. We have voted as a country to come to a screeching halt on making our home a better place for women, for minorities, for immigrants, and for the LGBTQ community.
For as long as I can remember, I have looked at the president of the United States with utmost respect. I was too young to vote for Bush, and too young to understand much of went on during his presidency, but I always, always respected him as a person. In the first election in which I was able to participate, I voted for Barack Obama. I was both proud & thrilled to watch him become president, and I have admired his poise every day since. His grace has helped me to find my own, and for that, I am forever grateful. I have never even considered thinking about our President from a position of contempt because I have always recognized and appreciated how difficult the job must be.
Today, that has changed. I do not respect a man who stands for all the terrible things about America. I do not respect a man who’s victory prompts my 13 year old sister to ask if she will have to leave the country. I do not respect a man that leaves people asking themselves what they will tell their children. On January 20th, for the first time in my life, I will not respect the President of the United States.
For as long as I can remember, I have been taught & believed with all of my heart that love is stronger than hate. I have always clung to hope to extinguish fear. I’ve written about it countless times, and I have always truly believed it. I’ve told so many people that there are more good people in the world, in this country, than bad.
Today…well, today, that’s not changing. This democracy & the fact that a horrible person has been given this title are pushing me to let go of hope. But I refuse. My heart is broken, and my faith is being tested, but while I can’t believe we are in this position, I know that this is not the best we can do. This is not the best our country can be. The best part of the next 4 years will have nothing to do with our “leader”. The best part will be the love and effort within all of the communities he targets and beyond as we work to stand our ground. The best part will be those who object. It has to be. It’s all we have. We cannot stop. We will again make this country one we are proud of, that is inclusive and accepting of everyone, regardless of how they identify or who they love or what color their skin is. And for that to happen, I ask all of us to keep loving, teaching, and believing. Keep moving.
Forward. Forward. Forward.