Now is not the time to be weak...

The results of the election only wiped clean the grimy windshield through which we could already see. We knew this day could come, but we should have been more prepared. We brushed president-elect Donald Trump off like a persistent mosquito while corralling his divisive rhetoric into a box labeled “Not All White People” or “Not All Men.” Well, whether you like it or not, half of the country’s voters chose this man to be the next president.

The election results disappointingly confirmed what has been said from the beginning: there is a major disconnect not only between urban and rural populations, but also between those people and the government itself. A poll conducted almost exactly a year ago from the Pew Research Center showed that about 1 in 5 Americans trusts the government. According to Real Clear Politics, about 60 percent of the country believes that the country is “on the wrong track.” While you might be absolutely furious that your neighbor could vote for this guy, the Trump supporter across the street is just as angry that you would vote for Hillary.

In this election, we all wore our political parties on our backs like a soldier’s uniform. Armed with weapons of hatred and anger forged by the anvil of disillusionment, we charged our neighbors with treason and vilified them to reassure ourselves of our own flimsy morality.

We tried to convince our minority counterparts that we’re not racist, that progress will prevail. We promised we wouldn’t choose hate over love, oppression over progress, and fear over tolerance. But in the end, we failed. We failed to ask our neighbors how they felt and why. We failed to address the multitude of issues that they face. We failed to see the other side. We failed to be civil. Although Donald Trump removed the lid from the melting pot and stirred it vigorously with divisive rhetoric, the racial and cultural tensions bubbling underneath had already been growing by the day. At this point, we’re left here on the side of the road waiting for a lifeline that will never arrive. But now is not the time to be weak.

Our fellow Americans need us the most right now. Our fellow black, latinx, Muslim, and LGBTQ Americans need us by their side. They need us not to be loud and proud, not to be sappy and melodramatic, but to be both strong and understanding. There are fellow Americans who are fearing for their lives, whose very futures appear bleak to them. The smoke has cleared but their worst nightmare has come true. This is not the time to cry. This is the time to stand up for the rights of our fellow Americans. This is the time to stand in solidarity with those who fear for their future. We must assure our fellow Americans that their lives matter, that their voices are heard, and that their concerns are valid.

To the white people who voted for Hillary: this is not a huge wall between the US and progress. This is the small mountain we can overcome to prove, like we do time and time again, just how capable we are of progress. Tighten up, white people…This is only the beginning.