The dust settles on the 2016 presidential election, but emotions still run high, and for good reason.
America is a wonderful country, but it is also a broken, divided one. The problem with Democrats and Republicans lies not wholly in their respective belief systems, but their inability, and sometimes outright refusal, to compromise. We cannot continue to be the richly diverse country we are known as if we operate and make choices rooted in fear, hate, and disrespect. I’ve seen all three come in intense forms from supporters on both sides of the political spectrum.
Plain and simple, the Democratic Party shot themselves in the foot by ensuring that Hillary Clinton would bear victory over Bernie Sanders in the primaries. Secretary Clinton was a candidate that was shoved down the throats of tens of millions of Americans, the “lesser of two evils” when compared to the absolutely unqualified hair-trigger mess that President-elect Donald Trump has appeared as thus far. It is well known that Senator Sanders garnered a huge following and an explosion of popularity throughout his campaign as a result of his inclusive policies and acknowledgement that while America is great, some things could be done differently. I can say without shame that he would have had my vote.
That said, I do not feel any remorse for giving my vote to a lesser known candidate when I felt that their ideals closely aligned with who I, myself would like to see leading the country I call home. I will not apologize for not voting for a Democratic candidate that was about as transparent as a brick wall. I will not apologize for not voting for a Republican candidate that based so much of his campaign on shock value.
My vote is not yours to dictate.
The amount of hostility and finger pointing I’ve seen following the results of this election is disappointing and saddening, but I want to reiterate that I understand why people are scared. Racism, sexism, and classism have run rampant this election; there’s no denying that. However, the bottom line is, a career politician (or even a first time one) is not going to wave a wand and fix your personal problems or the ones we deal with as a society today. Only love and acceptance can do that. Instead of belittling, educate your neighbor. Instead of blaming, ask them why.
People I inherently admire and respect voted for Hillary Clinton, and people I will always love voted for Donald Trump for a myriad of different reasons. Keep in mind that people are not the candidate they voted for. At the end of the day we are not a political machine, but millions of individuals with so much going on, dealing with so many things that shape our views. Listening and being respectful, things we have been taught since kindergarten and have so quickly forgotten, goes a long way.
In four years, America will still be standing. The younger generation will be eligible to vote. See this only as a minor setback – there is work to be done, and giving up has never been our style.