Election night was heartbreaking for many even before we know the end result of the Presidential Election – and make no mistake I still believe there is room for a Democratic victory.
But it was heartbreaking for those who didn’t want to see how truly divided our nation is, who didn’t want to believe that dog whistles work, who wanted to believe that our world view was THE worldview.
As an elected woman what I saw in the county by county breakdowns was what I knew in my heart 4 years ago – America will not vote for a woman for President and it is too often other woman who will stand in their way. The last 4 years have stripped away any of the excuses –
- Her emails – but Jared’s private messages
- The favors and the nepotism – but millions spent at Trump properties and Ivanka and Jared
- The hearings – but 7 indictments out of Trump’s administration
And yet last night Trump’s support didn’t falter – there was no statistical difference in state by state numbers that showed that voters who cared about these issues saw the same problems in Trump after 4 years of handcuffs, indictments and reports of worse behavior. The overriding difference cannot be ignored. And while it hurts - it hurts because I am tried of fighting and I hate knowing that my daughters will have to carry of the fight - I will not let it make me bitter because anger does not change hearts and minds – action does.
As I saw the map populate with red I saw anger and fear – I saw a nation of people who feel they have been written off as stupid and have been ignored by Washington and so they double downed on the guy who pandered to them and then goes back to Washington and ignores them. If we want to turn those red states blue, if we want to represent that large swath of the country then we need to stop hurling insults at them and start listening.
And as I looked at that map filled with anger, filled with fear, I watched my feed turn angry too. The people who talked about how love had to win, how kindness and fairness were why they voted started to write off all those red voters and those red states. They called them stupid, racists, homophobes, they told them to un-friend them and made it clear that whether shared experience or family tied them those ties were severed.
And so many of those posts came from White woman – those who have enough privilege to get by in a Trump world (well, accept at the doctor’s office) – those who could use their privilege to help others, to illuminate and educate are instead deepening the divide.
I wrote about this a few weeks ago about the idea of reaching across but last night the work got real and it is hard. If we write each other off we will never move beyond this divide. And so today to all those who voted for Trump I will say this:
I will not unfriend you, I will not withhold an invite to Christmas dinner to my family. I will not stop talking politics to make life comfortable. I will show you through our shared experiences how that vote has hurt people I love. I will point out the lack of logic in your Quanon allegations and I will ask questions and poke holes. I will stop you when you make baseless claims. I will tell you when your position shows your implicit bias. I will do all of this not because I hate you but because I love you.
And I ask that you do the same to me – tell me why you think the ACA is Socialism and I will debate with you. Tell me why you think the media is biased and I will show you independent sources.
We don’t get out of this by getting angry. We get out of this one conversation at a time, with kindness and patience and listening.
Democrats if we win in the end the fight is not over- it has just begun, we need to listen harder to everyone whose trust we have not yet earned and we need to earn it with action. Republicans if you win, you win with a majority of the people believing that democracy is crumbling, show us that it is not by listening and by representing the whole country.
The election is not over until every vote is counted but we can start the hard work of uniting today. We can start by readjusting our expectations. We can strive for inches not miles and by doing so we can make this nation strong again.