It has been an emotionally draining week for many Americans. Donald Trump is our president-elect. For many people, this announcement resulted in actual tears. It is no secret that he is openly sexist and racist, and quite a few of his promises during his campaign--such as banning Muslims from entering the country and building a wall along the southern border--were a bit concerning. However, as we know from elections of the past, candidates do not always follow through on the promises they make. This may be a bit comforting, but nevertheless, our election of Donald Trump sends a message to children (and even adults) that racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and--above all--hate are acceptable. Right now, many people are not proud to be American.
During a time of high tension, fear, and disappointment, let's instead shift our focus to all the things that are great about the United States of America. By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, let us move forward with love in a hate-torn nation.
1. We actually get to choose our leaders.
As unhappy as many people are with the results of the election, we are the ones that chose Trump over Clinton. Regardless of what this might say about our values and priorities, we did this. Let's put aside our irritation with the state of the country right now and actually think about it: We get to choose people to represent us. On election day, we take our consciences to the voting booths and choose the candidates we see as best-fit for their respective jobs. Although the existence of the Electoral College may cause some to argue, we, as Americans, are able to make our voices heard with votes that count. This is a right and a privilege that is not enjoyed in every country. It is a blessing.
2. Our government is stable.
Despite the routine disagreements that occur within the government, our system of government really is stable, and we can rest assured that our leaders are not going to be overthrown in some sort of military coup d'état. Furthermore, due to the wonderfully thought-out system of checks and balances, we don't even have to worry about a single branch of the government becoming too powerful. Quite a few countries around the world do not get to enjoy the balance and stability that exist within our particular form of government. So to those who are worried about Donald Trump following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler: Don't worry. He will never have that much power. Our branches of government have a way of keeping themselves in check. It is a blessing.
3. Our society values individuality.
There are many wonderful things to be said for collectivism, especially when it comes to family and community ties. However, living in a nation that lovingly encourages individuality is such a gift. We have the opportunity to develop our careers, follow our passions, move to new places, enter loving relationships that serve the growth of our souls, and be fearlessly authentic. We do not have to adhere to age-old traditions when we are deciding who we want to be. This individuality provides the means for a significant amount of personal and spiritual growth. It is a blessing.
4. We are a melting pot of peoples and cultures.
One of the richest aspects of the United States is its diversity. People have come here from all over the world, and they continue to pour in, in search of better lives for their families. The variety of people in our beautiful country lends itself to a variety of cultures and traditions. We have the opportunity to eat delicious foods from seemingly infinite regions of the globe. We have the opportunity to attend festivals that are rooted in a diversity of cultures. Most importantly, we have the opportunity to befriend individuals from other nations, with different backgrounds, and this is incredibly enriching to our personal growth. The United States is like a microcosm of the world. It is a blessing.
5. Our nation is simply beautiful.
From sea to shining sea, our nation features mountains, plains, deserts, glaciers, forests, rivers, and lakes; as well as farmland, big cities, suburbs, and historical towns. Traveling from one part of the country to another can sometimes feel like traveling across the world, or even to another planet. As our people are diverse, so is our beautiful landscape. There is so much to explore in this great nation--so many wonders to awaken our senses and fill us with awe. It is such a blessing.
Many people are worried about the state of our country right now, but we need not despair. The existence of our beautiful country is rooted in the variety of its people. No matter what misfortunes may befall us, we will always prevail. We are Americans--residents of the land of the free--and no matter what hatred may be dividing us right now, we will move forward with strength, love, and gratitude for the things that are truly great about our nation.