Remembering an open letter I wrote following the election:
I know people have mixed feelings about political posts on social media. I am a person that entirely believes we should share our thoughts, talking freely about our opinions is one of the things that will still make the United States great. In putting my feelings on the current state of our country into words, I first must acknowledge that I know I am no political expert.
What I do know is that I blindly assumed the narrative in this country. I, like many people I know, believed that there was no true possibility of a Trump presidency. The problem is that the majority of Americans aren’t like most people I know. I put myself in a bubble with only those who have had similar opportunities for education. In turn, I became oblivious to the fact that Trump’s words would speak so deeply to those who provoked by fear, voted with radical views. This was an election of persona, not policy, and while they voted for the ‘change candidate,’ I am forced to believe that they were ignorant as to what kind of change he brings.
Even with all of the social tools we use to connect us today, we still haven’t taken the time to proactively pursue positive conversations with those of differing opinions. Donald Trump is a campaigner, a brilliant one at that, but he is by no means a president. He used the press as a selfie stick to push out his messages of hate, and made America’s most vulnerable citizens his target.
There is no way to quantify the complexities of this election in one small post. So I’ll start with one thing that disturbs me most. The younger generation keeps falling short to an older generation who has failed to progress, and for whom we will be suffering the consequences. We saw the same thing in Brexit, but it is important to remember we won’t be seeing this forever. This generation shall pass, and our voices will have their turn to shape the future so long as we keep pushing the conversation.
This is what people 18-25 said in casting their votes:
This persona candidate who will continue to pollute the planet in denial of climate change, add trillions to national debt, reverse Roe v. Wade to refuse women the right to abortions and tarnish the progress we’ve made to be an inclusive, diverse nation, terrifies me. Van Jones gave true insight on a candidate that he says is “throwing away some of us to appeal more deeply to others.” A candidate that he believes, and I agree, put racism at the forefront of his campaign and evoked “a white-lash against a changing country, and a white-lash against a black president.”
I grew up living in a different country every few years. I chose to come back to America to further my education, and then to stay because I believed it reflected a place that celebrated diversity. I believed that because of this diversity, this country had the best opportunities and talent over anywhere else in the world. I still believe that. I refuse to accept that this will change, and if we continue to live our lives with compassion and humanity, we will come out on the other end with a heightened awareness to be proactive. I know that my privilege as an educated white female in this country is only a privilege if I can use it to affect those who weren’t born with the same opportunity.
As a female, who loves and celebrates men, I struggle to remind myself how far we’ve come. This is a road block on our journey to equal opportunity and equal rights. Although the glass ceiling hasn’t broken yet, young girls will still grow up in a country where a woman has every chance of being president if she works hard and believes in herself. We have a choice to make this conversation so loud and felt that it overpowers Trump’s negative narrative on women. In concession for the presidency, but for the progress of our gender Hillary reminds, “all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
I now must come to terms with a Trump presidency. This is now our reality. While he may represent a sexist bully who only seeks to help those similar to him, I do not. While this may be a sad moment for women, it is only our beginning. If we look at the majority of Trump supporters, white men and women without college degrees, Republicans, and older generations, we should spread compassion to them too. That is how we continue to be the most progressive country on the planet. A country that doesn’t make people feel embarrassed to tell others who they are voting for, and a country that encourages us to create the kind of conversations that will propel us to a more unified nation. We can still encourage girls to believe in themselves, make conscious decisions in our daily lives for the environment, and accept people no matter what race, religion, or walk of life.
What we do now will define the next election, and the future of politics around the world. We put ourselves in a terrible situation to have two candidates unworthy of representing us. As a millennial I feel compelled to discourage complacency, and work towards a movement for a more inclusive government. This means being active not only in presidential elections, but local ones too. Let’s not be a generation, like those before us, of whom the educated people are the ones filled with doubts. Let’s use the tools we’ve been given to get the kind of government we deserve. We are the voice of the future, and we will have our chance to be heard. While words may be my way of getting my emotions across, use your own to make a difference. We deserve better, so let’s do better.